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Cost Of Ownership

The term COO (cost of ownership) is all-important in the world of coding, where the price of a machine isn’t a reflection on its overall lifetime cost

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In a nutshell

Comparing the costs of different coding and marking technologies might seem a simple task, but there are often less obvious costs unrelated to the initial purchase price that can strongly influence the best choice.

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Looking beyond the capital costs

All coding and marking systems use consumables, and some systems endure regular maintenance/repair costs. These costs are sometimes hidden during the initial investment and are incurred long after the payment for the capital equipment has been made.

You might also consider downtime of the coders, which could affect your production output and potential revenue.

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Lifetime costs or lifecycle costs?

A far better way to assess costs is to compare technologies in their entirety. Prices vary from supplier to supplier, but the components of the technology remain the same, which is what we’ve outlined below.

Costs can be expressed as an annual figure, as an amount over a certain period (e.g. estimated product lifetime) or, more usefully, for comparative purposes, such as the cost per 1000 prints.

Hot foil stamping

  • Hot foil coder (initial investment)
  • Hot foil tape (ongoing consumable)
  • Engraved type (ongoing consumable)

Thermal transfer printing

  • Thermal transfer overprinter (initial investment)
  • Thermal transfer ribbons (ongoing consumable)
  • Spare parts & servicing (ongoing fees in the form of a maintenance contract or ad-hoc)

Thermal inkjet printing

  • Thermal inkjet printer (initial investment)
  • Ink cartridges (ongoing consumable)

Continuous inkjet printing

  • Continuous inkjet printer (initial investment)
  • Ink bottles (ongoing consumable)
  • Make-up/solvent bottles (ongoing consumable)
  • Spare parts & servicing (ongoing fees in the form of a maintenance contract or ad-hoc)


  • Print & apply labeller (initial investment)
  • Thermal transfer ribbon (ongoing consumable)
  • Labels (ongoing consumable)
  • Spare parts & servicing (ongoing fees in the form of a maintenance contract or ad-hoc)

Large area printing

  • Large area printer (initial investment)
  • Ink bottles (ongoing consumable)
  • Could require spare parts & servicing (ongoing fees in the form of a maintenance contract or ad-hoc. Fees could be avoided by using a zero moving component technology)
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How we can help

With over 190 years of coding & marking experience under our belts, we know how to match manufacturers to the optimum coding and marking solution for their application.

All of the above printing technologies have their own benefits and drawbacks, but at Rotech we advocate thermal inkjet (TIJ), as it is extremely versatile and usually the most cost-effective method for applying variable data to packaging.

TIJ printers are completely maintenance-free, as every time you change the cartridge, you’re also changing the printhead itself. Each cartridge can also up to 600,000+ prints and only takes seconds to change, allowing you to print virtually 24/7 – minimalising downtime and maximising business profit.

We also provide a free samples & testing service whereby we find the most suitable and economical TIJ ink grade for your printers.

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Related services

 RF Auto printing onto luxury cartons with thermal inkjet printer
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Explore our solutions

Our solutions cover an impressive range of industries and applications. Which solution best suits your individual requirements?