Which is better for you? Stainless Steel or Plastic printer enclosures? It depends on your criteria, but most food processing companies will choose stainless steel for the following reasons.
1. Stainless Steel is strong – This is obvious. Remember that your environment is harsh where the unit will be hit, run into, and more. A plastic enclosure can take minor stresses but after a few impacts it will crack or break.
2. Stainless Steel looks nice – While plastic enclosures look nice initially, their appearance degrades quickly with wear and continuous washdown. Stainless looks nice for years.
3. Longer Warranty – Stainless Steel enclosures often have a warranty of 1 year. Most plastic enclosures only have a 90-day warranty. Maybe the shorter warranty is because plastic enclosures are more prone to break from normal usage?
4. Stainless Steel handles abuse – Do your workers treat equipment as if they bought it? Probably not. Stainless Steel can take years of abuse, whereas plastic can break just after a few rough incidents.
VBS’ product manager, who has 20+ years of food processing experience, stated that he has yet to see a plastic printer enclosure that 1) does not have holes drilled in the bottom to let water out, and 2) doesn’t show some sort of damage. The estimation is that a company will go through 3 plastic enclosures for every one stainless enclosure.
Comparison Table of Stainless Steel vs. Plastic Printer Enclosures
|Strength||Very Strong||Moderate Strength|
|Aesthetic Appearance||Looks good for years||Looks good for a few weeks, maybe months|
|Cost||More expensive than Plastic||Less expensive|
|Seal Integrity Duration||Years||1 year...if you are lucky|
|Access to Label Stock||Slide-out tray||Enclosure hinges open|
|Label Door Option||Yes||Typically Not|
Yes, the cost of a plastic enclosure is going to be cheaper, but not by much. When you look at the long terms costs of the two, a stainless steel printer enclosure is the obvious choice.
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