All coding and printing systems depend on a continuous source of ink for proper operation. Although the ink demands of most normal coding applications can be met with pre-saturated ink rolls, high speed web printing applications can rapidly tax the capacity of most inking systems. A perfect ink supply system would feed ink to the coder in precisely metered volumes on an as needed basis and would be programmable to meet the demands of both high and low density code printing requirements. For maximum marking economy, the ink supply system should accommodate ink purchased in bulk containers. The last but perhaps the most important design criteria would be that the system should require only minimal maintenance. Universal met this design challenge with the new PIDS-DIGITAL Programmable Ink Delivery Systems.

Universal's New PIDS-DIGITAL Programmable Ink Delivery Systems were developed to accurately feed ink to our Non-Porous Coders in high speed web printing applications. When web speeds exceed 400 fpm or code density exceeds the ability of our 4 oz. Reservoir Ink Cartridges to deliver adequate ink volumes - the PIDS-DIGITAL Systems provide the optimal solution.

The New PIDS-DIGITAL Control was totally redesigned to offer greatly enhanced functionality over the previous generation of the product line. A high resolution color touch screen coupled with a powerful PLC operates the system on an encoder pulse based program to provide very user friendly programming and the ultimate in inking system accuracy. To eliminate the need to install a seperate encoder on the web to monitor web velocity, a simple modification to one of the attached printers enables the printer to provide web velocity data to the control during operation. This new capability provides automatic adjustment of the pump output to compensate for changes in web velocity during production. Interface to the web feed controls is no longer necessary to stop ink delivery when the web motion stops - this is now an automatic function.

The powerful control on the new PIDS-DIGITAL Systems, not only provides extremely accurate ink delivery but it also provides other enhanced features. New capabilities include automatic monitoring and display of web velocity. Ink consumption rates are calculated and displayed in milliters per 1,000 yards of print based on the current program. A pump tube hour meter alerts the operator when the pump tubes have reached 1,000 hours of operation and require changing. A low level ink sensor alerts the operator when the reservoir needs to be refilled. A two color LED light on top of the control provides a high visibility signal to the operator when an alarm condition exists.

The PIDS-DIGITAL Systems are available with 1, 2, 3 & 4 head pump modules for single or gang mount printer applications.

The PIDS-DIGITAL Pump Modules: Following the design criteria to produce the ultimate coder ink delivery system, Universal's design team selected peristaltic metering pumps for use on the PIDS-DIGITAL Systems. These tube pumps are geared and programmed to deliver ink to the printers in 1.1 ml shots at programmed intervals during the printing operation. A distinct advantage of the peristaltic pump design is that no ink contacts any of the pumps moving parts. The only maintenance required on these pumps is the periodic changing of the pump tubes. Raising a lever on the pump head un-clamps the pump tube and pressing two release buttons on the quick change tube couplings frees the pump tube assembly. This unique system enables tube changes in less than 10 seconds.
The Coder Connection The final challenge in the development of the Programmable Ink Delivery System design was finding an effective method of transferring ink from the pump to the ink roll without compromising print quality or increasing maintenance requirements. To accomplish this task, Universal developed a unique wiper adapter assembly with no moving parts. Ink is injected between two thin plastic wipers which wipe the ink completely across the face of the rotating ink rolls. Cycling the pump at regular intervals and injecting very small volumes of ink per cycle, ensures that the printer maintains uniform print density.