Understanding Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) Printers: A Southern Tech Perspective

Emerging in the early 1950s, Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) printers have revolutionized industrial marking, becoming a mainstay in various sectors. At Southern Technology Ltd, our over three decades of experience in selling CIJ printers and formulating compatible inks positions us uniquely to clarify the advantages and applications of these systems.

CIJ printers are engineered for industrial environments, adept at imprinting vital data like barcodes, expiration dates, and batch numbers directly onto a range of products. Their non-contact printing capability facilitates uninterrupted printing on both porous and non-porous materials, accommodating diverse surface contours.

Advantages of CIJ Printers in Industrial Settings

1. High-Speed Operation: CIJ printers operate by generating a pressurised, uninterrupted ink stream, allowing for rapid printing. In comparison, while some TIJ printers may match CIJ printers in speed, they typically cannot sustain continuous 24/7 operation.

2. Precise and Dependable Marking:CIJ printers are vital for ensuring precise and dependable marking, a crucial factor in product tracking and compliance. These printers excel at applying clear, legible codes that are essential for traceability and adherence to legal and retail standards. Along with their ability to print essential information such as lot and batch numbers, one of the key uses of CIJ printers is the application of 'best before' dates on perishable goods. This feature is particularly important in the food and beverage industry, where accurate dating is essential for consumer safety.

Additionally, CIJ printers have the capability to print complex codes like 2D barcodes and QR codes. These advanced markings are instrumental in automated production lines, where they enable the precise selection of product paths, thus enhancing efficiency and accuracy in sorting and distributing products. This adaptability makes CIJ printers an indispensable tool in modern industrial operations, where flexibility and reliability in coding are paramount.

3. Streamlined Maintenance: With fewer moving parts, CIJ printers are less prone to operational disruptions. Routine maintenance can prevent most common issues such as ink quality problems or clogged components.

4. Environmental Durability: Unaffected by heat application, CIJ printers perform reliably in varying temperatures. Models like the Hitachi UX 2 & Gemini 58 series, with their robust construction, withstand challenging conditions like dust ( powder packing and flour mills)  and humidity.

Versatile Ink Options and Diverse Applications

CIJ printers are adaptable to a wide range of surfaces, thanks to their compatibility with various ink types. This flexibility extends to a variety of substrates:

  • Metal containers like aluminum cans
  • Steel cans and Retort processes
  • Thermochromic colour changing applications, Can cooking (Retort*) 
  • Glass bottles
  • Plastic containers and jars
  • Cardboard packaging
  • Flexible materials
  • Electrical wires and cables
  • PVC pipes
  • PET pipes extrusion lines

*In Chemistry and Food Processing: A retort is a closed vessel or container in which substances are heated for a chemical reaction, distillation, or cooking. In industrial food processing, a retort is often used for sterilizing canned foods, where the food is sealed in a container and then heated to destroy bacteria and other pathogens.


Specialized inks broaden the scope of CIJ applications, including high-temperature, non-transfer, different pigmented, alcohol-resistant, Alkaline washable, thermochromic, and UV-readable inks.

Industrial Uses of CIJ Printing Technology

Owing to their versatile and reliable nature, CIJ printers are integral in numerous industries. They are particularly prevalent in sectors where precise coding is crucial, such as in food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, electronics, and packaging industries.