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Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) vs. Piezo Inkjet (PIJ) vs. Thermal Inkjet (TIJ) Printers

Many manufacturers are using industrial inkjet printing to mark and code their products.

The primary technologies in Inkjet printing are:

  • Continuous Inkjet (CIJ)
  • Piezo Inkjet (PIJ)
  • Thermal Inkjet (TIJ)
Inkjet printing technologies overview
Selecting the appropriate printer for your application requires an understanding of how well the functionality of each type of printing technology aligns with your requirements.

When you finalize your printer choice, you want a sense of confidence in your selection, knowing that you have adequately researched, analyzed, and evaluated your options. The table below provides a start by giving you a snapshot of each printing technology’s functionality and performance.
Feature CIJ Piezo TIJ
Resolution - Low-resolution dot matrix - 1-5 Lines, 32 pixels 300DPI 600DPI
Throw distance Ink throw distances from .5" (12 mm) up to 2" (50 mm) 10 mm 8 mm
Print speed Very fast. Suitable for production lines with very high output (up to 800 m/min) 76 m/min 90 m/min
Ink properties & selection - Uses harsh solvents resulting in better adhesion and print durability. - Very good performance on oily surfaces - Fast dry time - Broad range of gamut - UV-curable inks - Invisible UV-curable security inks (only visible under UV light) - UV color inks - Fast dry time - Broad range of gamut - UV-curable inks - Invisible UV-curable security inks (only visible under UV light) - UV color inks - Fast dry time - Very long decap - Higher ink cost. - Limited ink types - UV curable
Print height 0.06" (1.5 mm) - 0 .95" (24 mm) 2-144 mm 25.4 mm
Maintenance & operating cost Regular cleaning and maintenance by trained technicians, resulting in production downtime. Requires make-up fluid Minimal maintenance required. Ink needs to be purged from time to time (a very quick process) No maintenance required
Environmental friendliness - High power consumption - Higher VOCs - Cleanup requires harsh solvents requiring ventilation for operator safety - Lower power consumption - Lower levels of VOCs - Lower power consumption - Inks are more environmentally friendly
Foot print / Size Have a large foot print and require more space Minimal footprint - Requires very little space Minimal footprint - Requires very little space
Printing capabilities - WYSIWYG Message Editing, Multi-National (Unicode) character printing, real and expiration time and date, Shift and Rollover Functions, product and batch counting, barcodes - WYSIWYG Message Editing, Multi-National (Unicode) character printing, real and expiration time and date, Shift and Rollover Functions, product and batch counting - Barcodes - QR codes - High resolution graphics - WYSIWYG Message Editing, Multi-National (Unicode) character printing, real and expiration time and date, Shift and Rollover Functions, product and batch counting - Barcodes - QR codes - High resolution graphics
Ease of use Needs training Minimal training required Minimal training required
Ink capacity Up to 3 liters 42 ml cartridge
Operating environment 32° - 122° F (0° - 50° C), % Relative Humidity: 10 - 90% (non condensing) 0°C to 45°C, Relative humidity: 20% – 80% 0°C to 45°C, Relative humidity: 20% – 80%
Start-up & shut down Requires several minutes to shutdown. Lengthy start-up process. Quick Quick
Cost $$$$ $$ $
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