Printing & Labelling, Thermal Printing, Barcode Printing, Mobile Printing

A label printer is a computer printer that prints on self-adhesive label material and/or card-stock (tags). A label printer with built-in keyboard and display for stand-alone use (not connected to a separate computer) is often called a label maker. Label printers are different from ordinary printers because they need to have special feed mechanisms to handle rolled stock, or tear sheet (fanfold) stock. Label printers have a wide variety of applications, including supply chain management, retail price marking, packaging labels, blood and laboratory specimen marking, and fixed assets management. Label printers use a wide range of label materials, including paper and synthetic polymer ("plastic") materials. Several types of print mechanisms are also used, including laser and impact, but thermal printer mechanisms are probably the most common.

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Bixolon explores the future of retail printing at Paris Retail Week 2017

Bixolon explores the future of retail printing at Paris Retail Week 2017

Bixolon, the global manufacturer of advanced mobile label and POS printers, is showcasing the latest in retail printing technology for a range of trend sensitive applications from multi-platform POS ecosystems to digital payment applications at Paris Retail Week 2017.

SATO to showcase intelligent label printing solutions at Manhattan Exchange 2017

SATO to showcase intelligent label printing solutions at Manhattan Exchange 2017

SATO, provider of Auto-ID solutions that connect people, goods and information, will showcase its intelligent label printing solutions at Manhattan Exchange 2017, a conference that will explore the impact of multi-channel operations in B2B and B2C selling environments.

SATO to demonstrate advanced printing solutions at PPMA 2017

SATO to demonstrate advanced printing solutions at PPMA 2017

SATO will demonstrate how its printing solutions connect the last inch to labour and resource savings for its customers at the number one event for processing and packaging machinery, PPMA 2017.

Epson partners with Loftware to offer new solution that meets growing demand for colour label printing across global supply chains

Epson partners with Loftware to offer new solution that meets growing demand for colour label printing across global supply chains

Epson America, Inc. and Loftware, Inc., the Enterprise Labelling Solutions provider, have announced a new strategic partnership designed to support the growing demand for colour label printing.

EIT Digital’s strives past ‘fix it when it’s broken’ approach, with predictive service for printers

EIT Digital’s strives past ‘fix it when it’s broken’ approach, with predictive service for printers

Predictive maintenance for printers, a new activity being supported by EIT Digital as part of its OEDIPUS High Impact Initiative, will bring a shift in the performance and durability of commercial printing equipment.

MTC enhances 3D printing capability with UK’s first HP Jet Fusion printer

MTC enhances 3D printing capability with UK’s first HP Jet Fusion printer

The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) will continue to drive the additive manufacturing revolution in the UK after it became the first centre in the country to install HP's latest 3D printer.

Toshiba TEC presents monochrome system with erase function

Toshiba TEC presents monochrome system with erase function

Toshiba TEC has announced the launch of the e-STUDIO5008LP series – the first series of monochrome multifunction systems with Toshiba's hybrid print technology.

Incorporating 3D printing into the curriculum

Incorporating 3D printing into the curriculum

With an ever-increasing interest in STEM education and mounting statistics on the benefits of 3D printing in the classroom, it's time educational institutions understand how they can incorporate 3D printing into the curriculum, says Y Soft Corporation.

Crazy Booth brings portable booths to Peru with DNP’s DS620A printer

Crazy Booth brings portable booths to Peru with DNP’s DS620A printer

Crazy Booth Peru SAC. is a photo booth rental company located in the heart of Lima, Peru. Gino Antonio Vargas Ortiz and Mireya Cajal Villar, who both had previous experience in corporate and social events, launched Crazy Booth in 2015 to provide personalised photo booths for any event.

Brother UK invests in Greater Manchester HQ

Brother UK invests in Greater Manchester HQ

Brother UK has invested £250,000 in a new events and product showcase space at its headquarters in Greater Manchester as part of a new transformation initiative.

Global enterprises are looking for ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency and accuracy in their supply chains. To remain competitive, distribution centres, manufacturers, and logistics providers must change the way they label and track goods. Success depends on maximizing efficiency throughout all supply chain operations—front to back. Exploiting mobile labelling technology is fundamental to achieving optimal efficiency.

 

Wireless bar code and radio frequency identification (RFID) label printing is widely recognised by major retailers globally as an essential technology for enhancing store operations. The ability to print real-time information in the aisle, on demand, saves time, effort, and money—creating competitive advantages.

 

Mobile printing gives users the flexibility to print materials on demand wherever they may be. Seamless mobility can drive new business processes that improve worker productivity, labelling accuracy, and responsiveness to customer needs.

 

RFID smart label

 

RFID Smart label printer/encoders use media that has an RFID inlay (chip and antenna combination) embedded within the label material. An RFID encoder inside the printer writes data to the tag by radio frequency transmission. The transmission is focused for the specific location of the tag within the label. Bar codes, text, and graphics are printed as usual. Printable RFID tags contain a low-power integrated  circuit (IC) attached to an antenna and are enclosed  with protective material (label media) as determined  by the application. On-board memory within the IC stores data. The IC then transmits/receives information through the antenna to an external reader, called an interrogator. High frequency (HF) tags use antennas made of a small coil of wires, while ultrahigh frequency (UHF) tags contain dipole antennas with a matching wire loop.

 

Bar code symbols may be produced in a variety of ways: by direct marking, as with laser etching or with ink jet printing; or, more commonly by imaging or printing the bar code symbol onto a separate label. Precision of bar code printing is critical to the overall success of a bar-coding solution.

 

On-site Printing

On-site printing generally takes place at or near the point of use. The data encoded is usually variable, entered by an operator through a keyboard or downloaded from the host computer. On-site printing most often involves purchasing label-design software as well as printer hardware. Bar code printers come with their own proprietary programming languages that support all the standard symbologies, and they are capable of printing simple data-static or serialized bar code labels on their own.

 

However, labels that require additional formatted text, graphics, or multiple fields will require a separate label-design software package. Currently, more than 100 packages exist that are designed for a wide range of platforms and have a wider range of features. Once the purview of programmers, label design can now be accomplished by non-programmers via easy-to-use WYSIWYG graphical interfaces.

 

The most common bar code print technologies for on-site use are:

 

Direct Thermal — Heating elements in the printhead are selectively heated to form an image made from overlapping dots on a heat-sensitive substrate.

 

Thermal Transfer — Thermal transfer printing is a digital printing process in which material is applied to paper (or some other material) by melting a coating of ribbon so that it stays glued to the material on which the print is applied. Thermal transfer technology uses much the same type of printhead as direct thermal, except that an intervening ribbon with resin-based or wax-based ink is heated and transfers the image from the ribbon to the substrate. It contrasts with direct thermal printing where no ribbon is present in the process.

 

Barcode printers with thermal-transfer and direct thermal technology produce accurate, high-quality images with excellent edge definition.

 

Dot Matrix Impact — A moving printhead, with one or more vertical rows of hammers, produces images by multiple passes over a ribbon. These passes create rows of overlapping dots on the substrate to form an image. Serial dot matrix printers produce images character by character; high-volume dot matrix line printers print an entire line in one pass.

 

Ink Jet — This technology uses a fixed printhead with a number of tiny orifices that project tiny droplets of ink onto a substrate to form an image made up of overlapping dots. Ink jet printers are used for in-line direct marking on products or containers.

 

Laser (Xerographic) — The image is formed on an electrostatically charged, photo-conductive drum using a controlled laser beam. The charged areas attract toner particles that are transferred and fused onto the substrate.

 

Off-site Printing

Generally speaking, commercial label printers may use flexographic, letterpress, offset lithographic, rotogravure, photocomposition, hot stamping, laser etching, or digital processes to produce a consistently higher-grade label than those labels produced by on-site printers.

If the content of the bar code symbol is known ahead of use, a commercial label supplier is generally the best choice. However, there are tradeoffs. Commercially supplied labels have to be ordered, stocked, and placed in inventory. A business with frequent product line changes and/or label changes will have to weigh its options carefully.