Despite being one of the critical components of the Indian manufacturing business, the knowledge of coding and marking space remains unknown to mainstream audiences. Over the past few years, coding and marking on the products has become extremely critical to the success of the entire supply chain and quality control process. The coding and marking industry have been helping big manufacturing firms to identify, track and trace their products as well as prevent counterfeiting of the goods. Printing essential product details such as manufacturing date, expiry date, batch number, maximum retail price, manufacturing location, QR codes etc. on any manufacturing product across sectors is now a regulatory mandate by the government. Given this, the coding and marking industry has seen a huge surge in its business. Mr. Shiva Kabra, Joint Managing Director, Control Print Ltd., in a discussion with CXOToday shares his detailed insights on the same.
- Could you give us a brief on the coding and marking industry and what are the advantages of coding and marking systems across industries?
Coding and marking essentially refers to printing variable information such as batch code, batch number, QR code, MRP, manufacturing date, expiry date and more, on product packaging during the manufacturing process. Printing such essential product details on any manufacturing product across sectors is now a regulatory mandate by the government. Given this, the coding and marking industry has seen a huge surge in business opportunity and is estimated to grow at 10-15% in the next 2-3 years.
Over the past few years, coding and marking on the products has become extremely critical to the success of the entire supply chain and quality control process. The coding and marking industry has been helping big manufacturing firms identify, track and trace their products as well as prevent counterfeiting of goods.
In line with the government’s efforts to make India self-sufficient, the coding and marking industry has also aided in the development of the country’s manufacturing, packaging, start-ups, SMBs, and food and beverage industries. It provides solutions to these businesses for a variety of objectives such as regulatory requirements, inventory management, traceability, branding, and anti-counterfeiting. The advancement of coding and marking technology has not only helped these businesses solve their problems, but it has also contributed in a large way to the growth of the country’s developing economy.
- What are some of the technologies used for coding and marking?
Listed below are few technologies used for coding and marking:
- Continuous Inkjet Printer (CIJ): Versatile and cost-effective coding solution suitable for nearly every Using world-class technology, our CIJ is built keeping the working conditions in Indian factories in mind.
- Thermal Inkjet Printer (TIJ): Reliable, zero-maintenance and breakdown-free. A high-resolution printer ideal for the pharmaceutical industry and the printer of choice for shipper carton coding.
- Thermal Transfer Over printer (TTO): Thermal Transfer technology utilises a thermal print head consisting of individual ceramic resistors that are selectively heated to transfer the desired image from a coated ribbon directly onto the substrate.
- Laser Printer: Laser Printers use SPA lasers tech that makes this laser batch coding machine become a more functional investment than other equipment as it may be adapted, module by module, to the specific needs of your production line.
- Large Character Printer (LCP): The Large Character Printer is the toughest and most robust printer in our line-up. These printers are great for printing variable information and text on difficult-to-print surfaces, especially when the printed value needs to be visible from a long distance.
- High Resolution Printer (HR): High Resolution Printer is designed to help businesses save money while increasing packaging line flexibility and automation. With 180 dpi resolution and large printhead, this printer is perfect for printing labels, barcodes and logos directly on shipper boxes.
- Which are some of the top coding and marking systems available in India
Continuous Inkjet, Thermal Inkjet, and Laser are top coding and marking systems available in India. These are also among some of the most widely used coding and marking equipment.
- How has technology and equipment in today’s printers evolved compared to that used 10 years ago?
Last 10 years has seen significant development in technology for coding and marking. Earlier using roller coder and stencilling for coding on the products was a common practice. Today, inkjet, laser and digital printing technologies are used widely. Printers using these technologies are equipped with numerous features suitable across industries. These online printers eliminate the need for manual coding and marking, thus helping manufacturers achieve their production targets efficiently.
The needs of production plants are shifting away from mass-production and toward multi-product, high-mix, low-volume production. The market for digital on-demand production is growing. Digital printing enables multi-product, low-volume printing in a shorter time frame and is cost-efficient. Further, due to shorter printing time, organisations can take up printing a variety of patterns, depending on individual needs, creativity, or season. Also, it has improved the supply chain efficiencies and simplified variable data on packaging. One of the most significant benefits of digital printing is its sustainability and eco-friendliness as compared to conventional printing. Digital printing reduces ink wastage as it ejects ink only to the parts that need printing. This reduces the process of cleaning the plates post-printing.
With rapid growth and development in the country the manufacturing industries demand faster, reliable and user-friendly solutions. In addition, the rules and regulations pertaining to marking and coding keep on changing and one must adhere to them. Therefore, the latest technological solutions catering to the changing needs are in high demand. New age coding and marking solutions offer various types of solutions ranging from traditional inkjet printers to latest laser-printers. These solutions are then used in different industries based on their requirements and demands.
- What are the major differences between various printers used in coding and marking?
In the Continuous Inkjet printers, printing liquids are stored in two tanks within the machine: one for the ink itself, and the other for the solvent. These two liquids are then fed to a larger main tank where the mixture becomes pressurised and fed toward the printhead. Continuous inkjet ejects drops continuously, whereas Thermal inkjet printers utilise ink from disposable cartridges without the use of electrical charges.
Drop-on-demand only produces and ejects droplets when required. Thermal Transfer technology utilises a thermal printhead consisting of individual ceramic resistors that are selectively heated to transfer the desired image from a coated ribbon directly onto the substrate. Whereas, high resolution printers use oil-based ink and large printheads. It has an automatic purging mechanism that ejects a tiny amount of ink from the nozzles to eliminate dirt. This ensures that the print quality as well as the printer are always in good working order. The ink used for purging is collected, filtered, and recirculated, ensuring that no ink is wasted, also making it one of the most affordable printers in the industry.
- There’s been a boom in the sale of fibre laser printers in the coding and marking industry. Can you shed some light on what fibre laser printers are? Given that, would your company consider manufacturing a similar product? (Need confirmation from client on this)
Fibre Laser Printers are specifically designed for manufacturers who mark codes and other information on robust, high-density materials such as metals and plastics. These types of printers are mainly used for plastic applications like for FMCG and hard metal like Automotive, electronic, electrical, holograms (security), traceability (QR Code) on metals (steel, aluminium, copper etc).
Fibre laser marking uses a wavelength of 1.064 micrometres, which is 10 times shorter than that of a CO2 laser. These systems have over 100 times more intensity than CO2 systems with equivalent power output, making them excellent choices for coding on high-density packing materials like metal and plastics.
- Please tell us about your revenue split and sector expertise for coding and marking
Control Print has its services spread over multiple industries ranging from FMCG, Pharma, Cabe, Steel, Wires, Automotive F&B etc. However, the maximum revenue is generated from sectors such as Pipe, Cable & Wire, Food and Steel and FMCG.
Product verticals of Thermal Inkjet Printer/ Thermal Transfer Over Printer / High Resolution Printers have strong growth and these products are well accepted by the market. We have dedicated managers and a team to drive these verticals with focus on Dairy, Beverages, Bakery (Biscuits), Frozen Food, Ready to Eat, Pharma, Packaging, Plywood, Lubricants and Carton Coding.