Safety in Numbering (Go Digital)

Several customers have contacted Document Data Solutions recently about their legacy systems for printing sequential numbers. They aren’t happy with their mechanical numbering methods.

Concerns from print companies include rising maintenance costs and quality issues as well as increasing requests for adding barcodes to forms.

In most cases these days, when your mechanical automatic numbering head breaks down, you’ve got to replace it. Repairs are not an option. Our customers tell us they can’t buy the parts, turning what used to be a repair into an expensive replacement.

Never a Good Time for a Breakdown

When mechanical numbering devices fail, you’re going to find out about the breakdown in the middle of a job. If you have complete redundancy for presses with numbering machines, you might move the job to a different production line. But if such backup does not exist, you’ll need to pull the job from production until a new numbering unit can be delivered, installed, adjusted, and tested. You may put compliance with promised deadlines in jeopardy while you wait to resume production.

Old mechanical numbering equipment is eventually going to wear out and stop working. Unexpected failure is only a matter of time.

Sticking Numbers

Automated mechanical numbering machines can also cause data integrity issues. Sometimes the reels stick and don’t advance as they should. You might produce items with duplicate numbers or experience gaps in the sequence that cause problems for your customers.

Unless you have automatic document integrity measures in place, such as iDataScan™ from DDS, sequence errors caused by failing numbering machines will be difficult to spot when they happen. Printers can easily ship jobs containing sequence number mistakes and never know it until a customer complains.

Printers lucky enough to catch a number machine malfunction during production may have to inspect the entire run to make sure an intermittent problem didn’t affect the numbering sequence in other parts of the job. Profit margins shrink when your staff is spending their time examining work you thought was complete.

Going Digital

The modern answer to the issues with mechanical numbering systems is a digital alternative. Digital inkjet numbering comes with distinct advantages.

  • Sticking numbers won’t happen anymore. Digital inkjet numbering devices do not rely on mechanical wheels and ratchets to add numbers to documents. With less wear and tear, numbering will continue reliably for long periods of time.
  • Digital numbering solutions are much more versatile than their mechanical counterparts.
    You can print numeric or alphanumeric characters in virtually any size or orientation; even add barcodes. Numbers can be automatically generated by the system, with or without a date/time stamp, or you can print specific numbers from a database.
  • When a digital inkjet device requires maintenance, parts are readily available. You won’t need to replace the entire unit.


If your shop is relying on aging mechanical numbering units that are becoming less reliable and more expensive by the day, check with us at DDS for a better solution.