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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Smart Cooperation of IMK and CoreTechnologie: 3D human simulation for all CAD formats

Smart Cooperation of IMK and CoreTechnologie: 3D human simulation for all CAD formats

By integrating the 3D CAD interfaces of the software manufacturer CoreTechnologie into the current version of the Ema Software Suite from IMK Automotive, the simulation tool is now compatible with all common CAx systems.

10 years of ceramic 3D printing: IDTechEx discusses where it’s going next

10 years of ceramic 3D printing: IDTechEx discusses where it’s going next

This year, the first company to enter the ceramic 3D printing landscape – Lithoz – is celebrating its 10th anniversary.“When we started the company, nobody was actually able to do the additive manufacturing of high-performance ceramics,” stated Dr. Johannes Homa, CEO of Lithoz.

Momentum for Growth: 4th AMTC to explore the industrialisation of additive manufacturing for a new tomorrow

Momentum for Growth: 4th AMTC to explore the industrialisation of additive manufacturing for a new tomorrow

Additive Manufacturing (AM) is changing the world. This disruptive, next-generation technology is helping to put more advanced rockets into space, revolutionising design thinking for sustainability solutions and shaping jobs of the future. 

3D printing in outer space: students test igus linear axes in near-zero gravity flights

3D printing in outer space: students test igus linear axes in near-zero gravity flights

When booms for solar panels or satellite antennas are transported into space in a rocket, they are exposed to very high loads. To simplify space transportation and speed up the production of these components, a student team from the Munich University of Applied Sciences, AIMIS-FYT, is researching a 3D printing process for space.

Markforged releases Eiger Fleet to scale additive manufacturing

Markforged releases Eiger Fleet to scale additive manufacturing

Markforged, creator of the integrated metal and carbon fibre additive manufacturing platform, The Digital Forge, has announced Eiger Fleet, a cloud-based software solution designed to accelerate the adoption of additive manufacturing operations at scale.

Covectra Platform chosen by luxury skincare brand Aprisa to provide beauty/cosmetic brand protection and anti-counterfeiting packaging

Covectra Platform chosen by luxury skincare brand Aprisa to provide beauty/cosmetic brand protection and anti-counterfeiting packaging

Covectra, provider of track and trace solutions, has announced that Aprisa, provider of scientifically-based luxury skincare products, has chosen Covectra’s StellaGuard to serialise its luxury cosmetic skincare products.

Engineering company seals the deal to complete extensive trial using 3D metal printing technology

Engineering company seals the deal to complete extensive trial using 3D metal printing technology

A Doncaster-based precision engineering company is putting its new and pioneering 3D metal printing technique into practice, resulting in major reductions in cycle times for multi-impression mould tools.

Markforged releases Eiger Fleet to scale additive manufacturing

Markforged releases Eiger Fleet to scale additive manufacturing

RAPID + TCT 2021, Markforged, creator of the integrated metal and carbon fiber additive manufacturing platform, The Digital Forge, has announced Eiger Fleet, a cloud-based software solution designed to accelerate the adoption of additive manufacturing operations at scale.

Brother UK adopts hybrid working after HQ redesign

Brother UK adopts hybrid working after HQ redesign

Business technology solutions provider Brother UK has adopted a hybrid working model and has made a significant investment to redesign its Greater Manchester HQ to support collaborative working and social interaction.

Domino collaborates with Cambridge University to improve performance in CIJ printers

Domino collaborates with Cambridge University to improve performance in CIJ printers

A relatively small number of chemicals are used to formulate inks, and so understanding how these chemicals interact and behave in different environments, and in different printing processes, is key to ensuring consistent, reliable print quality.

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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