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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Canon congratulates premier partner Alternative on Advanced Production Print Accreditation

Canon congratulates premier partner Alternative on Advanced Production Print Accreditation

Canon UK, the imaging solutions provider, has announced that Alternative – a supplier of Canon products and solutions – has received the Advanced Production Print Accreditation.

New WS4 desktop label printer from SATO delivers high performance at a competitive price

New WS4 desktop label printer from SATO delivers high performance at a competitive price

SATO, provider of Auto-ID solutions that empower workforces and streamline operations, has launched the WS4, a new compact desktop label printer that delivers high performance at a competitive price.

Zebra Technologies further cements its relationship with Datatrade through 'Premier' accolade

Zebra Technologies further cements its relationship with Datatrade through 'Premier' accolade

Datatrade has been awarded Zebra's highest partner status, 'Premier Solution Partner'. This new distinction is evidence that Datatrade has met Zebra's highest standards for professional certification and commitment to the Zebra brand.

Canon launches new i-SENSYS printer for high speed, high quality black and white printing in a compact device

Canon launches new i-SENSYS printer for high speed, high quality black and white printing in a compact device

Canon has announced the release of the i-SENSYS LBP312x, a small footprint, high-productivity printer for use in fast-paced work environments where space is a premium.

CILS re-launches 8/9300 durable coloured label range due to industry demand

CILS re-launches 8/9300 durable coloured label range due to industry demand

CILS International has re-launched its CILS 8/9300 coloured polyester labels with a solvent acrylic adhesive, due to rising demand within industry for durable, computer printable colour-coding labels.

Massivit 3D to show how 3D printing is transforming retail and advertising applicatons at EuroShop

Massivit 3D to show how 3D printing is transforming retail and advertising applicatons at EuroShop

Massivit 3D Printing Technologies will use EuroShop (5-9th March – Hall 3, Stand E72) to demonstrate how its 3D printing technology is transforming the way high-level marketing, advertising and themed projects are created.

BionicAircraft: CENIT develops solutions for greater resource efficiency in aviation

BionicAircraft: CENIT develops solutions for greater resource efficiency in aviation

CENIT is participating in the European research project "BionicAircraft", which aims to boost resource efficiency in aviation by implementing additive manufacturing and bionic design in all phases of the aircraft lifecycle.

Quocirca report: Xerox leads channel managed print services European market

Quocirca report: Xerox leads channel managed print services European market

Xerox has the most comprehensive and modular portfolio of services for channel partners in Europe, making it a clear market leader in channel managed print services (MPS), according to research firm Quocirca's latest report.

OKI launches E-64s – new addition to the ColorPainter Premium Family

OKI launches E-64s – new addition to the ColorPainter Premium Family

OKI Europe Ltd has launched its new ColorPainter E-64s as the new model in the renowned ColorPainter family of professional printers.

Brother UK updates business inkjet range to help partners capitalise on a growing market

Brother UK updates business inkjet range to help partners capitalise on a growing market

Brother UK is launching two new ranges of business inkjet printers in a bid to help channel partners capitalise on a market which has grown 7% year-on-year*.

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.

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