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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Discover a new dimension in colour printing with OKI Europe at drupa 2016

Discover a new dimension in colour printing with OKI Europe at drupa 2016

OKI Europe Ltd will put the spotlight on its portfolio of Graphic Arts printers at drupa 2016, including the newly-launched Pro6410 NeonColor printer, OKI's award-winning white toner technology, multi-award-winning 5 colour technology and the renowned ColorPainter large format printers including the H3-104s and M-64s.

Brother UK launches half-price promotion on its P-Touch label printers

Brother UK launches half-price promotion on its P-Touch label printers

Information, communications and technology services provider Brother UK is offering partners an exclusive half-price discount on models in its P-Touch range of label printers, allowing resellers to take advantage of increasing demand in the labelling market.

B&R Moll's digi-mollPAK System delivers versatile folding/gluing performance For digital printers

B&R Moll's digi-mollPAK System delivers versatile folding/gluing performance For digital printers

B&R Moll, Inc. has developed the digi-mollPAK System– a compact in-line folder/gluer designed specifically to provide digital and commercial printers with fast, flexible performance for complex packaging projects, including cartons, pillow packs, room key sleeves and presentation folders.

Brother UK expands its mono printer range

Brother UK expands its mono printer range

Brother UK has launched 13 mono laser models with features designed to help small and medium sized businesses improve productivity while helping ensure IT security.

Canon strengthens its 3D proposition through strategic partnership with Materialise

Canon strengthens its 3D proposition through strategic partnership with Materialise

Canon Europe had announced a new strategic partnership with Materialise NV, the provider of Additive Manufacturing (AM) software solutions and 3D printing services.

NiceLabel joins London Stock Exchange ELITE program

NiceLabel joins London Stock Exchange ELITE program

NiceLabel, developer of label and marking productivity software solutions for SME and large enterprises, has been selected to join the ELITE, London Stock Exchange Group's international program for ambitious high growth businesses.

Bixolon launches the SPP-R310, the compact and ergonomic three-inch mobile printer

Bixolon launches the SPP-R310, the compact and ergonomic three-inch mobile printer

Bixolon Co, Ltd., the global mobile printer manufacturer, has announced the launch of the SPP-R310, the highly compact, ergonomic three-inch receipt, ticket and label printer with Bluetooth, WiFi, USB and Serial connectivity options.

Hibiscus launches new printing solution

Hibiscus launches new printing solution

Hibiscus PLC, the supplier of labels to the hazardous goods and chemical industries, has launched the Hibsoft Compact Labelling Station, a compact waste labelling station.

Brother UK Scoops 'Best in UK' Platinum Status

Brother UK Scoops 'Best in UK' Platinum Status

Greater Manchester-based Brother UK has become the first large business in the UK to receive the most prestigious accolade in people management – Investors in People (IIP) Platinum status.

Star Micronics adds to suite of software and developer tools for retailers, developers and integrators with new PassPRNT application

Star Micronics adds to suite of software and developer tools for retailers, developers and integrators with new PassPRNT application

Star Micronics has extended its suite of software tools to provide feature-rich solutions that work above existing POS software, offer power and paper saving features, powerful marketing tools as well as ease of integration.

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.