Universal offers custom designed marking systems to fill specific application requirements. This service can involve simple modifications to standard products or completely custom designed automated marking and control systems. The items listed below are a few of our previous custom design projects and are intended to give our customers a feel for the scope of our capabilities. If you are searching for a solution for a specific application problem, please contact our Engineering Department for assistance.
Large Hand Held Roll Coder This unit was custom designed to satisfy a customer's requirement for a hand held roll coder with a 5.5" print width and a 15" circumference print drum. Since the application required the use of a non-porous Mil Spec stencil ink, a quick change, eccentric adjustable ink roll mount was used to facilitate removal and storage of the rolls in a sealed container after use.
Custom Coder Mounting Assemblies Commonly used to gang mount Non-Porous Coders in web printing applications, these mounting assemblies include an extruded aluminum bridge to span the conveyor or web line. Individual saddle mounts for the coders with a ratchet handle lock enable quick lateral positioning of the coders. This particular system was used with a single coder to apply content information on an ammunition container.
Web Printing With Gang Mounted Non-Porous Coders This system was designed to apply dense black stripe marks for optical sensing on a paper web. Five customized Non-Porous Mini-Coders were mounted on a common shaft and pneumatically raised and lowered to apply the marks at the required locations on the web. A PLC based control with an encoder input tracked the web travel and engaged the coders at the programmed intervals. The system included a hand held programming unit to enable the operators to change the program parameters in the field.
Carton Identification System Using Color Coded Spot Marks An agriculture industry application required unique carton coding to identify cartons packaged on specific filler machines for downstream sorting. A USMR-20AF Micro-Spray Marker mounted on a pneumatic slide was used to apply 1/2" diameter spot marks on the front side of the cartons during the filling operation. A PLC based marking system controller was interfaced with the filler control to trigger the system operation. When an initiate signal was received from the filler control, the slide extended, the mark applied, and the slide retracted before the carton left the filler.
Color Detection Scanning System Cartons moving at 270 fpm are scanned with Universal's Color Detection System which looks for the 1/2" diameter colored spot marks on the cartons which were applied by the marking system shown above. Cartons with the target marks are kicked off the main conveyor onto the appropriate palletizing conveyor. For highest reliability, fiber optic sensors look for the code marks only in a discreet location on the cartons, ignoring even identical colors in other areas of the carton. A PLC based controller with a hand held programming unit enables operators to adjust for line speed changes and kicker timing functions.
Extension Arm Mounts Typically used for printing directly on master rolls of plastic film, metals etc. The selected coder is modified by removing the standard mounting bracket, column and spring tension assemblies. A custom extension arm is attached to the coder baseplate to extend the reach and travel of the coder. Custom mounting brackets are designed to provide easy installation on the parent equipment. As the web material is pulled from the roll, the extension arm, which pivots on a stainless steel shaft, allows the coder to ride on the surface of the master roll and print on the web material as it is being unwound. The coder remains in contact with the surface of the master roll, following the diminishing diameter of the roll down to the core.
Custom Narrow Web Coding System This system was designed to print codes on continuous web materials that are too narrow to engage the friction drive bearers on our standard Non-Porous Coders. A floor mounted stand includes a height adjustable idler roll assembly which guides the web through the coder. A friction driven offset roll mounted upstream of the print drum keeps the print drum rotating at the same surface foot velocity as the web. Printing die contact pressure is fully adjustable on the fly for optimal print quality. Interchangeable print drums and offset drive rolls provide both 12" or 15" circumferences and a 1" maximum print width.
Custom Nylon Web Printing System This system was designed for a sail manufacturer to print assembly registration marks and numbers on a nylon web material at specific intervals. A custom print drum was produced to provide the exact repeat interval required. A full roll of web material would be loaded on the reel and varying lengths would be pulled off as needed for the assemblies.

Custom Cylinder Printing System This system was designed to apply a solid black stripe around the spherical end of a compressed gas cylinder. The cylinders are loaded onto a set of cradle rolls which rotate at approximately 30 RPM. A foot pedal switch is pressed which activates the 5 - 6 second marking cycle. This PLC controlled system accommodates cylinders of various diameters and lengths.

Similar systems have been built with Non-Porous Roll Coders to apply text around the circumference of missile bodies and other ordnance items.

Custom Two Color Ordnance Printer This system was designed to print both a brown stripe and black text on an ordnance cannister. The empty cannister tube is loaded on a rotating mandrel and both printers engage the part simultaneously when a foot pedal switch is pressed. This system provides a 3 second, two color, cycle time.
Custom Pneumatically Controlled Non-Porous Mini-Coder This system was designed to operate in conjunction with an optical inspection system for a continuous web application. When a defect area of the web is indentified, a 24 VDC signal is sent to the printer which would then lower into contact with the web and print DEFECT AREA repeatedly until the electrical signal was turned off. This system can also be used to print a continuous stripe on a web to indicate end of roll or provide similar functions. Multiple units can be mounted on a common extruded aluminum bridge.