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Coding and Marking in the Construction Industry

Coding and Marking in the Construction Industry

As with many other industries, construction materials such as timber planks need to be coded so that they are identifiable - including their origin, date and time of production and batch number. This ensures that there is the correct product identification but also aids in traceability once the product goes on site. The most appropriate coding technique for this depends on the production method and the composition of materials. 

There are more applications within construction for inkjet printers than you might first think. A wide variety of parts, tools and materials must be traceable and identifiable throughout their life cycle, from their manufacture all the way through until a project is built and complete. Some examples are:


Pieces of timber used for construction often need to be graded and marked accordingly. The UK has a long history of marking graded timber with a stamp – so that there is no risk of graded timber being misidentified and enabling the installed timber to be inspected to check the correct grade has been used.  This is customarily known as a “grade stamp” but in the language of the European Standards it is a “marking”.  

07 08 2021 (4)-1Extrusions and Pipes

When it comes to piping, the advantages of marking them are twofold; firstly, it enables the pipes to be identifiable and traceable. Secondly, pipe marking is an easy way to display the contents and operating temperatures of your piping system. A quick glance will tell maintenance, engineers and other employees which 

safety precautions to use before handling the piping or making repairs. 

Wires and Cables

The labels on the outer sheathing of cables indicate the size, the wire material, the number of wires contained inside the cable, the maximum voltage rating, and whether there is a ground wire present. The wire size and number of wires are indicated with numbers. A ground wire is indicated by "G," "w/G," or "with Ground." The wire material is indicated by "CU" for copper and "AL" for aluminium.


Marking tools is a useful way to monitor inventory, especially for construction environments where there are a huge amount of individual tools being used at any given time. Over time tools can go missing or break and this can cost businesses significant amounts of money. 


A Unique Formula Identifier (UFI) is a 16-character alphanumeric code that will be required on the label of products that contain a hazardous mixture. This new label element will be required by 2025 for all hazardous mixtures being put on the market in the European Economic Area (EEA).


Construction settings are usually demanding and harsh, and inkjet printing onto substrates can vary considerably (from metal and plastic to glass and timber). In spite of this, their printing requirements have a lot in common. Not only must the code itself be durable and resistant, but in order to operate effectively in a busy construction environment, the coding machine must be durable, too.

While either Thermal Inkjet (TIJ) or Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) would do the job, CIJ pips its counterpart to the post within construction settings. This is mainly due to its ability to print without needing to be very close to the surface of the item being printed onto. CIJ printers are generally cheaper to run when operating on large-scale workflows, due to the lower cost of consumables. CIJ printers are fairly heavy-duty and robust machines, whereas TIJ printers tend to be smaller, more compact and more fragile. On the flipside, CIJ printers typically have a longer downtime, so if you are operating on a smaller scale and can't afford for your production activity to be halted due to technical difficulties, TIJ might be a more cost-effective option.


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