Plastic Bag Printing

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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Plastic bag printing is a modern phenomenon directly attributable to inkjet marking systems. Being non-porous, plastic does not accept most ordinary inks, as these rely on absorption for drying. Polyethylene (poly) is used in packaging, insulation, and in sheets of plastic wrap. For the packaging industry, poly can be imprinted using solvent-based inks, as water-based inks will not penetrate.

Large character inkjet systems that use drop-on-demand (DOD) technology can easily imprint text, logos, and other graphics with excellent adhesion, color and dry time. Quality adhesion means the ink will not flake or rub off. Dry time is very important in non-porous printing because the ink sits on the surface of the plastic bag, for example, and can easily run or smear if adhesion and quick dry time are not top-notch.

Plastic Bag Printing Systems

The best plastic bag printing systems can produce readable codes at a throw distance up to three inches from the surface of the bag. Print speed might be in the range of 20 feet-per-minute, or slower, if desired. Message length could be 60 characters per message.

Software features include such aids as a 24-hour clock, Julian date, counter, and lot counter. User-friendly features on plastic bag printing systems include control over dot size and character width, as well as print delay, inverted and reverse print. Cabinet construction is usually industrial gauge coated steel to protect the workings in an operating plant environment.

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