No one could have foreseen that masks would become the most essential accessory of 2020. Unfortunately, due to evident and disheartening reasons, masks are now in demand worldwide. This demand is expected to persist, with projections indicating significant growth in the global surgical mask market, reaching $87.67 billion by 2027.

For manufacturers, understanding how to appropriately code masks is vital for both business efficiency and customer safety. Incorrect coding practices pose health risks, and various types of masks have distinct coding requirements. Let’s delve into the essential considerations.

Varied Masks, Varied Requirements

In general, there are three categories of face masks: disposable, surgical, and respirator.

While disposable masks may not require coding on the mask itself (coding on the packaging is sufficient), some manufacturers prefer to include logos on the mask.

For surgical and respirator masks, compliance with standards like ISO and EN is essential. These standards dictate that masks should feature specific codes, such as an ISO number and a ‘CE’ logo. Additionally, it is crucial to indicate the filtration level provided by each mask, such as FFP1, N95, or KN95.

These codes need to be printed directly onto the mask.

Domino A-Series printing onto mask


Safety Affirmed

Face masks serve a protective purpose, and inks play a role in coding. Therefore, the selection of inks is vital, especially considering potential contact with the wearer.

Domino has formulated proprietary water-based inks (BK652 and BK651) specifically designed for coding on surgical face masks. These inks adhere to the Swiss List, the EuPIA Exclusion List, and EuPIA’s Good Manufacturing Practice protocol.

In essence, this offers a printing solution tailored for surgical mask applications.

Illegible codes serve no purpose

Mask coding lines typically operate at high speeds, applying codes before masks are die-cut into their final form. This process involves the mask interacting with various machinery after the code has been applied, posing a risk of smudging if the ink isn’t dry.

Domino inks are designed for rapid drying, minimizing the risk of smudging. For surgical masks, the recommended choices are the water-based BK652 and BK651 inks mentioned earlier. However, the surface of respirator masks doesn’t absorb water-based ink as easily. Hence, it’s preferable to use our fast-drying ethanol-based inks (BK119 or BK129) to eliminate the risk of smudging.


The main types of masks made to standards suitable for prevention of infection


Coding Excellence Symbolises the Quality of Masks

Whether you appreciate it or not, consumers will link subpar code quality to subpar mask quality. Therefore, it’s advisable to employ printers with the capability of high-resolution printing, especially when incorporating logos onto masks. Additionally, using inks that offer superior contrast and lightfastness proves advantageous.

FFP2 Mask


What type of Printing Technology is Recommended?

Thermal Inkjet (TIJ) is particularly well-suited for fulfilling the coding needs in face mask production. Domino’s state-of-the-art Gx-Series, equipped for Industry 4.0, ensures high-quality coding at rapid line speeds.

Continuous inkjet (CIJ) stands as another viable choice for coding on face masks. Domino’s versatile Ax-Series delivers durable, high-contrast codes swiftly and can be accommodated in production spaces with limited room.

Both TIJ and CIJ technologies can be employed for coding requirements related to secondary and tertiary packaging.

Domino also provides an extensive range of labelling and outer Case Coding equipment, offering convenient access to all coding and labelling necessities for large-scale mask production.



Keen to get moving?

The mask production market is growing rapidly. If you would like to know more about how our proprietary inks and coding technologies can breathe life into your mask manufacturing ambitions, get in touch with the Codico Team. We can talk you through how our technologies can work with your specific operational setup. Let’s go.
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