Our company makes 10 Million products a month that need barcodes printed on it.
Graph-Tech drives both HP/Lexmark (Thermal inkjet) and the GT-Jet 108 (DOD, piezo inkjet). What is better for me ?
What size is your barcode?
The barcode is 57 mm long x 10 mm high or 2.24” long x 0.39” wide. Add a 10 digit 14 point text.
Sometimes the barcodes are double this size. We need 4” print width.
4 Inches with a thermal inkjet with mounts and controller are around $33,000. A GT-Jet 108 with mount, automatic cleaning station and controller costs around $95,000.
You are paying $62,000 more for a raptor.
The barcode is 36 mm long x 18 mm high or 1.18” long x 0.71” wide.
With the Raptor, 1 million of these prints will be around 3 liters and it will cost you $145 no need to stop the line to change cartridges, perfect stitching.
With the thermal inkjet, 1 million of these prints will be around 2.4 liters and it will cost you $2,905 with cartridges that you have to change in between.
You are paying $2,760 more for a thermal inkjet after 1 million products, $27,600 after 10 million products, $276,000 after 100 million products.
Does a liter of ink for HP cost $900? It is not just the ink but the cartridge. If a cartridge costs you $40 for 40 ml (some cartridges come with 32 ml), you are paying $1,000 per liter
Sure, you can buy a bulk tank but you will pay more for a sub-standard ink delivery system, which most throw out and go back to cartridge, and still replace cartridges. If you are lucky, your running costs will be half: $500 per liter.
Everybody knows why thermal inkjets are cheap: because they make the money on the consumables.
So, what should I buy?
If you print less than 10 million of these barcodes a year, take a thermal inkjet.
But if you are a big producer, don’t get carried away with low capital costs, take a serious printer like the GT-Jet 108 Raptor with integrated cleaning station, industrial ink delivery, and perfect stitching. You will amortize the cost quickly.
And, if you need to print on multiple substrates with UV ink (thermal inkjets simply don’t handle well UV inks because of physics), there is no question that the GT-Jet 108 beats the thermal inkjets hands down.
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