Coding Machines

What are Coding Machines?

Coding machines are used to apply barcodes, date codes, and other data onto packaging items like boxes, bottles, jars, and cans. There are coding machines that can be integrated into existing production line equipment, or standalone machines that can be used to print batch details and data onto any individual item.

Information like best before and use before dates, batch numbers, and even barcodes that include product and material information can be printed onto a host of different types of item. The printed data needs to be legible, long-lasting enough for the task at hand, and, where possible, it should be integrated into existing production line equipment to help ensure optimal manufacturing processes. The machines you use need to be reliable while offering a cost-effective method of printing on your chosen material.


Production line downtime can be very costly. Delays in production can mean delays in delivery, and they can damage customer relations; not to mention the cost of paying employees and keeping the production line maintained while repairs or errors are fixed. Choosing a reliable coding machine means that you can minimize downtime, therefore minimizing the costs and waste associated with it.

Downtime isn’t just attributed to machinery failure, either. Breaking to change or replace ribbons can lead to delays; thermal printers eliminate the need to frequently change ribbons and have fewer working parts to go wrong compared to other types of printer.


Coding machines include inkjet printers, which are non-contact and can be used to print simple text consisting of one or two continuous lines. Thermal transfer printers, on the other hand, offer greater flexibility in the data that can be printed. Both types of printer can be supplied with black or colour printing capabilities.

Contact printers are most often used on packaging, while non-contact machines can also be used to apply information to finished products and may be necessary for more complex designs.

Inkjet and thermal printers require some form of product movement to be at their most efficient. If you have an existing conveyor in place, you can integrate a batch coding machine into that system. The printer will apply the data to products as they pass the coding machine. Alternatively, Label Line UK can plan and supply labelling and packaging machines, integrate them into your system, and create an efficient packaging line.

Print Speed Capabilities & Other Features

Speed is important in production and packaging lines, although it should never come at the cost of precision or reliability. Label Line’s coding machines come with a variety of print speeds, so that you get a printer to meet your needs.

We offer machines with the best environmental credentials, and those that offer high resolution printing.

Below is a sample of the coding machines we can supply, install, service, and maintain for your business.

Markem SmartDate® X60

The SmartDate X60 is a thermal transfer coding machine. It can produce high resolution images at very high print speeds. It has also been optimized so that it uses less power, minimizes print costs, and so that the thermal printheads last longer without having to be changed.

If you need to print high resolution at high speed, on packaging film, then this is a reliable and high-quality option for your needs. Print up to 1000mm per second at full 300 dpi resolution, and enjoy less downtime thanks to 1100m ribbons that require fewer changes than other, short ribbons.

Markem SmartDate® X40

The SmartDate X40 benefits from the same 1100m ribbon, requiring fewer changeovers. This same standard ribbon has also been designed to reduce ribbon waste too. The machine also has IP rated protection, which means that it is suitable even in some of the most challenging industrial settings.

As well as being water resistant, it can cope with regular pressure washing, which is a common treatment for a lot of production and packaging lines. The X40 has slightly lower print speeds, of up to 600mm, but still offers the same 300dpi resolution printing. Like all the SmartDate models, the X40 has been optimized to keep cost per printed page, waste, and downtime to a minimum.

Markem SmartDate® 2, 3 and 5

At Label Line we specialize in the provision of high quality label printers and coders, but we also maintain and repair machines. As such, we can offer refurbished models and obsolete models like the SmartDate 2, 3, or 5 models.

These have been replaced by the more recent X40 and X60 but they still offer value, whether as a replacement for an existing model of the same type, or because you are operating on a budget and want to keep machinery costs to a minimum. The SmartDate Series is known for its longevity and durability, so even though these models have been replaced, they still offer high quality data printing. Speak to one of our team today to see which coding machine is best for your production line.

ICE Zodiac/Videojet DataFlex

Thermal transfer overprinting is a more modern alternative to traditional contact printing methods like hot-stamp or roller coding. It offers much better print quality and lower printing and running costs. ICE printers offer thermal overprinting machines with a choice of print widths including 53mm and 107mm.

The printers also have fewer components, which means that they are easier to maintain with fewer parts to break down. If keeping downtime and print costs to a minimum is important, then contact us about our selection of ICE Zodiac and Videojet machines today.

Allen Coding XL Series

The Allen Coding XL Series is a series of 4 different entry-level printers. Although the cost of these machines is comparably low, they still offer decent features and specifications with print speeds of up to between 400mm and 600mm per seconds.

The print magazine measures 600 metres, which means that print downtime is greatly minimized and efficiency is maximized. The machines can be operated by PC, as part of your packaging line, or using the intuitive and convenient handheld console.

Label Line UK specializes in the provision of high quality coding machines and label printers.

We can supply machines from some of the biggest and best-known names in the industry, and we can meet any of your requirements.

Whether you need a machine with the fastest print speeds or one that