FAQs

  • How does Thermal Transfer (TTO) technology work?

    TTO is a contact print process that is able to print high quality codes at excellent resolution across a range of flexible packaging. The process uses thermal energy to transfer ink from a carrier material (e.g. ribbon) to the packaging media. The process is very clean and versatile.

    The process allows for printing directly onto packaging media and is therefore efficient in terms of process and material costs.

  • What is the print area for a Zodiac?

    Intermittent mode: 53mm (W) x 75mm (L) and 107mm (W) x 75mm (L)

    Continuous mode: 53mm (W) x 200mm (L) and 107mm (W) x 200mm (L)

  • Can the Zodiac accept Markem, Zebra and SATO designed labels?

    The Zodiac can emulate other printers using the following protocols;

    • CimComms to accept Smartdate 2 and 3 labels from software packages such as Colos
    • ZPLII to accept Zebra labels from software packages such as ZebraDesigner
    • SATO to accept SATO labels from software packages such as LabelGallery
    • Windows Driver– Zodiac can be added/installed on any PC as a standard windows printer.
  • What OEM machinery can the Zodiac integrate with?

    The Zodiac can easily integrate with OEM packaging machinery and  our design team hold a library of over a thousand successful integration solutions, covering an extensive range of OEM packaging machinery, including:

     

    • HFFS Flowrappers
    • VFFS Baggers
    • Thermoformers
    • Traysealers
    • Sleevers
    • Sachet Machinery
    • Netting Machinery
    • Label Applicators
    • Bag Making Machines
    • Roll-stock machines
    • Banding machines
  • Is zero downtime or auto-changeover available with the Zodiac?

    Yes this can be achieved by setting up a Master Zodiac and up to three Zodiac Slave printers (Zero Downtime module required depending on the application) to ensure no printer downtime on the packaging line.

  • What’s the difference between a genuine ICE printhead and a third party printhead?

    Genuine ICE printheads are marked with a label to quickly identify that they are genuine ICE parts. There are a number of third party suppliers offering modified parts, claiming that they are genuine when they are not. The fake items are modified by drilling additional holes into the heatsink of the device. This creates a substantial risk of damaging the electronic components within the device. Modified parts also reduce print quality, printhead life and invalidate the warranty on your ICE coder.

  • How long will a Zodiac printhead last?

    There is no standard lifetime value of a printhead as this varies based on the application, settings,  size of print, substrate, ribbon run, and whether genuine ICE printheads are being used.

  • Is the Zodiac printhead covered under warranty?

    The Zodiac printhead is not covered by the standard printer warranty.

  • What is printhead resistance?

    A thermal printhead comprises a linear array of printing elements, or “dots”. Each dot is a tiny resistor and printhead resistance is a measure of the total resistance of all the dots.  This resistance will vary from printhead to printhead due to manufacturing tolerance, but the actual resistance of a printhead fitted to a thermal printer is critical to correct operation, because the printhead resistance is a key parameter used by a control algorithm to decide on the amount of power to supply to the printhead in order to get good print quality.

     

    Many printers require the user/engineer to manually enter the printhead resistance via dip-switches on the main control PCB each time a new printhead is fitted to the machine. This can lead to errors and consequent poor performance of the machine. The Zodiac avoids this by allowing the operator to enter the resistance (4-DIGIT) value using the main CLARiTY user interface.

  • What daily maintenance does the Zodiac require?

    The Zodiac is designed to require very little maintenance, particularly compared to competitor products.

    To maintain print quality it is recommended that the printhead is cleaned at every ribbon change using printhead wipes. For details on how to clean a Zodiac printhead, please read our guide here.

    Keeping the Zodiac printhead clean and the machine generally free of debris is the only routine maintenance required to keep the Zodiac running in top condition. Further information can be found in the Zodiac Operator Manual.

  • What operating system is used by the Zodiac?

    The Zodiac uses the CLARiTY operating system. This is used across all ICE coders. To find out more about CLARiTY, please click here.

  • What label design software is required by the Zodiac?

    The Zodiac uses CLARiSOFT label design software. This is used across all ICE coders. To find out more about CLARiSOFT, please click here.

  • What label sizes can be used with the Vulcan?

    The Vulcan is designed for label widths from 50mm (minimum) up to 115mm (maximum) and a label length of 50mm (minimum) up to 300mm (maximum).

    Direct apply will work with this full range of label sizes.  For other models min/max label size may differ depending on the applicator.

  • What kind of pack can the Vulcan label?

    The Vulcan is a direct apply LPA machine specifically designed for the vast secondary packaging market.

    The Vulcan labels corrugated boxes and shrink-wrap packs. The Vulcan has been designed to print and apply to shrink wrapped multiples, shrink wrapped trays of cans, bottles, jars and just about anything else that can be packed in a box.

  • Why is the Vulcan faster than the competition?

    The ICE Vulcan is best-in-class in terms of both linear speed (print speed) and throughput (packs per minute).

    The Vulcan uses a corner-edge printhead unique to ICE to provide high speed (500mm/sec) performance, combined with proven patented ribbon drive technology to provide high quality print performance and automatic ribbon save.

    This print speed is faster than the competition. The capability to print at these speeds means that the Vulcan is the only LPA that can direct apply at speeds of up to 30m/min and up to 150 packs per minute for a typical GS1 case barcode label.

  • What is pack handling?

    Pack handling is the process of steering the packs towards the Vulcan, so direct apply can be used. LPA, for too long, has tried to come up with ways of reaching the pack in order to apply a label.

    Pack handling is the process by where the pack is steered to the Vulcan printer which then negates the need for some kind of applicator. All the benefits of direct apply can then be realised.

  • What daily maintenance does the Vulcan require?

    The Vulcan has been designed to require very little maintenance, especially when you compare it to the competition. There are also no mechanical adjustments which minimises downtime to incorrect adjustments.

    To maintain print quality, it is recommended that the printhead is cleaned at every ribbon change using genuine printhead cleaning wipes.

    Instructions on how to clean the printhead are available on the user interface in the help/tutorial videos folder. Once the printhead is clean, one can continue to clean the print roller and guide rollers using the same wipe.

    Keeping the Vulcan printhead clean and the machine generally free of debris is the only routine maintenance required to keep the Vulcan running in top condition.

  • How long will a Vulcan last?

    With proper care, a Vulcan printhead typically lasts up to 200km of print distance, when used in thermal transfer printing mode. If direct thermal labels are used, printhead life is substantially reduced.

    Dirt and debris can also cause localised bad abrasion around one or more dots on the printhead and accelerate the wear on those dots.
    Print darkness (energy) and print force influence printhead life. Vulcan default settings maximise printhead life.

    Vulcan’s unique Intelligent Motion™ printhead pressure system delivers only the print force necessary for a given print speed, unlike competitor machines in which the print force is a manual user adjustment.

     

  • How does the Thermal Inkjet (TIJ) technology work?

    TIJ is a non-contact process in which liquid ink is ‘fired’ onto the packaging using thermal explosion. The Viper uses HP ink which is water based and uses vaporisation of the water to create the thermal expansion process. This ink is suitable for porous substrates to give reasonable drying times.

    TIJ is a relatively high speed process, provides good resolution and due to its non-contact nature, is suitable for printing onto rigid primary packaging or small scale secondary packages.

     

  • What is the print area for the Viper?

    The print area is up to 12.7mm per cartridge. Up to 4 printheads can be used to create up to 50.8mm print height.

  • Does the Viper require replacement printheads?

    As the printhead is within the ink cartridge, each time you replace the ink cartridge, you benefit from a new printhead.

  • What maintenance does the Viper need?

    The Viper is designed as a low maintenance printer, however it’s important to perform routine cleaning and inspections to ensure it’s in good working order. A recommended inspections check list with frequency can be found in the Operator Manual.

  • What maintenance is required for the ink cartridge?

    It’s important to ensure that when replacing the ink cartridge, you carry out a visual check for leakages and to see if the contact film has any oxidation or mechanical damage. Dust on the printhead can be removed using a vacuum pump or with a fine paintbrush. Do not use the cartridge if it is not in proper working order.

    Depending on the type of ink and the ambient conditions (air temperature, air humidity), if the cartridge is not used for some time, the ink may dry on the nozzle plate of the cartridge. The Purging function helps to improve such sticking characteristics after the printer has not been used for a while. This is done by purging out a few drops of ink before the actual printing process begins via the Tools>Setup>Consumables area on the Clarity touchscreen.

  • Does the Viper have a warranty upon purchasing?

    The viper printer is warrantied for 12 months from installation against any faults or defects in the manufacture of parts. As machines are allocated for supply, individual serial numbers are recorded against your account to enable our team to track the history accurately.

  • Where can I buy the Viper ink from?

    We offer a range of inks for the Viper to cover various substrate and aesthetic requirements and are happy to carry out testing on new applications to match the correct ink.

    The range includes standard, solvent based providing faster drying times and coloured inks.

    For a full list of options, please contact the After Care team by emailing aftersales@uk.interactivecoding.com or calling our team on 01159 640144.

  • What is the print area for the Scorpion?

    The Scorpion can print up to 13.5mm high with 1 printhead. A maximum of 2 printheads can be placed together to print up to 27mm high codes.

    The maximum lines of code is font size dependent (4 lines at 6pts).

     

  • What substrates can the Scorpion print on?

    The Scorpion can print on over-coated cartons (aqueous etc.), poly films, foils/blister packs and plastics (HDPE, PET).

  • Why is MEK ink used?

    MEK is a good choice for inks in industrial coding for a number of reasons:

    • Fast dry times on non-porous materials – typically less than 2 seconds.
    • Good solvent for high performance ink. MEK has the ability to dissolve a wide range of ink components needed to adhere to non-porous surfaces.
    • Provides the best print quality over the widest range of substrates.
  • How does the shutter system work?

    The Scorpion shutter system engages automatically to cap the printhead when it’s not in use. When a product is sensed on the line, the shutter opens and the TIJ printhead is revealed to print on to the product. When no product is detected for 15 seconds, the shutter closes. The system prevents air from drying in the print array, ensuring the printer is always ready to go, without any manual intervention required.

  • Does the Scorpion require replacement printheads?

    As the printhead is within the ink cartridge, each time you replace the ink cartridge, you benefit from a new printhead. The cartridge is the entire ink system including the ‘firing’ electronics and the print array.

  • What maintenance does the Scorpion need?

    The Scorpion is designed as a low maintenance printer, however it’s important to perform routine cleaning and inspections to ensure it’s in good working order. A recommended inspections check list with frequency can be found in the Operator Manual.

  • What maintenance is required for the ink cartridge?

    Cleaning of the cartridge may become necessary if the print quality has degraded due to accumulated debris/ink on the nozzles, or if the cartridge was left uncapped.

    Maintenance consists of a periodic wipe of the nozzle and shutter with a cloth or cotton swab.

  • Does the Scorpion have a warranty upon purchasing?

    The Scorpion printer is warrantied for 12 months from installation against any faults or defects in the manufacture of parts. As machines are allocated for supply, individual serial numbers are recorded against your account to enable our team to track the history accurately.

  • Where can I buy the Scorpion ink from?

    We offer a range of inks for the Scorpion to cover various substrate and aesthetic requirements and are happy to carry out testing on new applications to match the correct ink.

    The range includes solvent based, coloured inks.

    For a full list of options, please contact the After Care team by emailing aftersales@uk.interactivecoding.com or calling our team on 01159 640144.

  • What is the print area for the Torus?

    The Torus can print from 17mm up to 70mm high with multiple printheads and up to 2000mm in length.

     

  • How does Large Character Marking (LCM) technology work?

    LCM or case coders print variable information, including codes and graphics, directly onto secondary packaging such as cardboard boxes. Using inkjet array printing, a vertical array of addressable jets is used to form an image on a package as it passes.

    The technology allows for non-contact printing directly onto porous packaging, is efficient and has good cost per print figures.

  • How does the autopurge feature work?

    The autopurge feature can flush the printhead nozzles at production line speeds, before every print. This ensures the continuity of good print quality across prints. It also prevents operator intervention, production line/printing interruptions and ink wastage.

  • What substrates can the Torus print on?

    The Torus is designed to print on porous and corrugated case packaging substrates.

  • What maintenance is required by the Torus?

    The Torus is designed as a low maintenance printer, however it’s important to routine inspections and cleaning to ensure it’s in good working order. A recommended inspections check list with frequency can be found in the Operator Manual.

  • What types of inks are available?

    T500-4 – Rapid dry

    Type: Ink
    Colours: Black Applications: Rapid dry times on porous substrates such as paper and card
    Attributes: Low odour, low volatility, pigmented oil based ink

    Torus 1000

    Type: Ink
    Colours: Black
    Applications: Rapid dry times on porous substrates such as paper and card
    Attributes: Low odour, low volatility, pigmented oil based ink

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