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.

RSS

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.

7-fold growth for the ceramic 3D printing market by 2032, says IDTechEx

7-fold growth for the ceramic 3D printing market by 2032, says IDTechEx

Ceramic 3D printing is an emerging segment within the 3D printing industry that began its commercial journey in the past 10 years, making it a relative newcomer compared with polymer and metal 3D printing. However, increasing entrants into the field in the past few years, from major ceramics companies to small 3D printing start-ups, illustrates that interest in ceramic additive manufacturing is picking up.

Right to repair: a call to action for manufacturing design

Right to repair: a call to action for manufacturing design

By Michael Goodwin, applications engineer, Markforged.

With the Right to Repair legislation signed into UK law in July, manufacturers are now legally required to make spare parts available to people buying electrical appliances with a view to reducing waste by encouraging people to repair older or broken machines, rather than buy new ones.

Printers aren’t the only security risk in the hybrid working world, says Kyocera

Printers aren’t the only security risk in the hybrid working world, says Kyocera

Recent months have seen a spate of high-profile ransomware attacks, with the method becoming the modus operandi for millions of hackers around the world. 

SATO and Xerafy partnership brings cost-effective RFID inventory management to global markets

SATO and Xerafy partnership brings cost-effective RFID inventory management to global markets

International provider of next-generation auto-ID and labelling solutions, SATO has partnered with Xerafy to bring pioneering metal skin radio frequency identification (RFID) labels to the automotive, manufacturing and healthcare global markets through its range of RFID-enabled printers.

3D printing – empowering mobility at the highest levels

3D printing – empowering mobility at the highest levels

By Jeremy Drew, engineering applications manager, Markforged EMEA.

With the Paralympics fast approaching, countries are playing catch up from the myriad of delays caused by COVID and deciding their national teams to compete in Tokyo this year.

Why industrial automation Is capturing the world’s attention in the age of Industry 4.0

Why industrial automation Is capturing the world’s attention in the age of Industry 4.0

By Laith Marmash, EMEA Product Marketing Advisor – Machine Vision/Fixed Industrial Scanning, Zebra Technologies. 

Coined over a decade ago, the term Industry 4.0 refers to a new industrial revolution driven by major trends such as Big Data, greater computational power, ultra-connectivity, robotics, automation, advanced analytics and 3D printing. 

Five simple ways to build Industry 4.0 efficiencies into existing manufacturing processes

Five simple ways to build Industry 4.0 efficiencies into existing manufacturing processes

Industry 4.0’s ‘Factory of the Future’ is already here. The technology and ideas that underpin Industry 4.0 are transforming the way that manufacturers operate and providing the insight and information required to build safe, sustainable and agile production facilities which can keep up with current and future demand.

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.

Editorial: +44 (0)1892 536363
Publisher: +44 (0)208 440 0372
Subscribe FREE to the weekly E-newsletter