Coding and marking of irrigation pipes
Irrigation solution manufacturers have a strong partner in coding pipes due to the variety of technology on the market, meaning that a wide range of data can be marked.
Product type, date and time of production, composition, thickness and diameter are just some of the data that can be marked on a configurable surface of pipes of varying sizes, where the type of material used in piping manufacture is mainly polyethylene or polyvinyl chloride.
For this marking task there are two types of technology that currently stand out the most: inkjet and fiber laser.
This is a standard technology used for the marking of countless products in different sectors and in the case of irrigation pipes it has its own peculiarities: the marking must be carried out with colored ink (white or yellow is usually most common) since most irrigation pipes are black, and the contrast must be sufficient to read the information.
For the use of this technology, Macsa ID offers Linx continuous ink coders, distributed exclusively by our company in Spain and Portugal. They are suitable for marking a wide range of materials, especially recommended for coding on flat or curved surfaces such as piping, since inkjet printing is done without direct contact with the product.
Among others, the Macsa ID portfolio includes the following series:
- Linx 10, an ink coder designed to print expiry dates and codes on production lines with low and medium speed production. This continuous ink printer is easy to integrate into new production lines as it is lightweight, compact and portable. It is ideal for small and medium sized businesses, which may have more than one production line and its portability allows it to be integrated into each of the lines quickly and easily.
- The Linx 7900 can print up to five lines of code and cover a wide variety of coding requirements. It has been designed to avoid hidden expenditure, reducing your running costs and minimizing production downtime, as well as featuring visual support to reduce coding errors.
Its intelligent ink system allows up to 9,000 hours of coding between scheduled maintenance intervals. Compared to other printers, there are no costly ink system components to replace and no ink tank to change between services.
- Linx 8900, a high-performance inkjet printer that helps maximize efficiency during production, saving on costs and time.
It prints codes that are readable by both human operators and machine-reading systems, incorporating features that speed up handling and maintenance. It is a highly flexible coder that can be used for both primary and secondary coding.
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Coding and marking of irrigation pipes
Fiber laser technology
For irrigation pipes, fiber laser marking is currently the technology that most manufacturers are opting for, both large and small. They are doing so because this technology provides versatility, reliability and very important operational sustainability in their production processes.
Macsa ID’s range of industrial lasers includes a large number of fiber lasers that adapt to most performance needs, of which the F-9000 DUO and F-9000 DUO MOPA series stand out.
The F-9000 DUO series is designed for integration into both high-speed production lines and stand-alone marking stations. They are ideal for marking materials such as plastic or composite materials and metal applications.
The F-9000 DUO lasers are highly stable, reliable and long-lasting fiber laser machines (with over 100,000 hours of service life) that require minimal maintenance and have a very low cost of ownership.
One Macsa ID success story with the application of this laser is the solution implemented for Naandanjain Irrigation, a world leading producer and supplier of irrigation solutions with more than 80 years of experience and customers in over 100 countries worldwide.
The NaanDanJain (NDJ) group was looking to implement a reliable coding system for marking irrigation pipes made of virgin polyethylene with varying thickness and at different manufacturing speeds, as production takes place in several factories around the world. Any solution to be implemented had to take into account that:
- The length of pipe manufactured varies and marking ranges from 10 to 30 meters between legends.
- Printing is continuous as factories operate day and night (24/7).
- Marking takes place on lines up to 250 meters per minute.
The marking was carried out on a configurable surface, which on average was 5 mm x 15 cm and consisted of various text data, containing the company brand, the type of product and the date and time of production. The marking had to be permanent and legible to withstand the demanding use of the product and not lose traceability throughout its lifetime.
This range of F-9000 DUO pulsed fiber lasers is complemented by the F-9000 DUO MOPA lasers. This technology allows the user to control the shape and duration of the waveform in order to optimize the conditions for high-precision marking and micro machining. The short pulse widths of these devices are ideal for marking delicate substrates such as plastics. A wide frequency range allows high repetition rates with short pulse widths for higher productivity.
Another example of application is laser marking on recycled polymer pipe, which in addition to saving consumable costs, is performed directly on the substrate. In this case, the NANO D-6006 DUO laser, with a wavelength of 1064 nm, allows laser marking on recycled polymer pipe with high contrast and visibility. The chemical reaction of the DPSS laser on the polymer enhances the marking of the logo on backgrounds of different colors, as opposed to using a CO2 laser, in which case the reaction would be entirely thermal, melting the plastic and generating a small relief.
Two types of appropriate technology for the sector
The two types of technology described above meet the marking requirements of the irrigation pipe manufacturing sector, where production lines can reach up to 250 meters per minute, operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The marking speed of both inkjet technology and fiber lasers is perfectly suited to such fast and demanding productions.
In terms of equipment connectivity, both options have the same capabilities to communicate optimally with Macsa ID’s Integra Connect software, which allows the equipment and production to be controlled at any time and from any location.
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In particular, in the case of inkjet printers, other associated advantages are:
- Operation even in the toughest production conditions.
- An auto-wash system that is activated each time the printer is switched off, ensuring quick and clean start-up the next time it is used.
- An automatic temperature adjustment function to ensure code quality at different temperatures.
In the case of fiber lasers, some advantages associated with this technology are:
- Speed and power.
- Indelible marking, which is not erased by rubbing and is maintained throughout the lifetime of the pipe.
- Low production and maintenance costs.
- Availability of various power levels for results suitable for each material and company.
- Does not use consumables such as inks or solvents.
- Does not generate waste or pollutants of any kind.
- Controlling of the shape and pulse width adaptable to the needs of each marking.
- Obtaining qualitative KPIs based on productivity, efficiency and costs.
Adding all these advantages together, the two types of technology are perfectly appropriate for marking irrigation pipes and guaranteeing their traceability throughout the production and use process.
Whether manufacturers choose one option or the other will ultimately depend on the needs and requirements of their own customers. To help them in that decision, they can contact us and Macsa ID will provide professional advice from its team of experts and all the information related to fiber lasers that may be needed.
At Macsa ID we will be happy to find the marking, coding and traceability solution that best suits your needs.