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

Kyocera reimagines printing by entering inkjet production print arena with TASKalfa Pro 15000c

Kyocera reimagines printing by entering inkjet production print arena with TASKalfa Pro 15000c

As Kyocera Document Solutions UK, the document solutions company, expands into new business domains, the organisation has launched its first production print device with the TASKalfa Pro 15000c. This development is the next step in Kyocera’s diversification, building on a wealth of experience in the creation of inkjet printhead technology.

NiceLabel announces new ABAP package to optimise labelling in SAP S4/HANA

NiceLabel announces new ABAP package to optimise labelling in SAP S4/HANA

NiceLabel, the global developer of label design software and label management systems, has announced the launch of version 2 of its ABAP package. This new version supports both SAP ECC and SAP S/4HANA allowing organisations to fully digitise the labelling quality assurance process and reduce both labelling errors and shipping delays.

Xerox delivers ‘game-changing’ embellishment printing capabilities

Xerox delivers ‘game-changing’ embellishment printing capabilities

With speciality printing being one of the fastest-growing digital segments, Xerox developed the Xerox Adaptive CMYK Plus Technology designed for the all-new Xerox PrimeLink C9065/C9070 Color Printer and the Xerox Color C60/C70 Printer.

How cloud/edge computing for printing is creating new opportunities for partners

How cloud/edge computing for printing is creating new opportunities for partners

By Ondrej Krajicek, Chief Technology Strategist, Y Soft.

Over the years, the technology sector has evolved and grown at an extortionate rate, with new platforms and features being created every single day. But once in a while a new idea creates a fundamental paradigm shift that changes everything. Cloud computing should be put into this group.

BeAM and Siemens intensifying collaboration in industrial 3D printing for Directed Energy Deposition

BeAM and Siemens intensifying collaboration in industrial 3D printing for Directed Energy Deposition

BeAM, the machine manufacturer in the field of DED (Directed Energy Deposition) technology for additive manufacturing, and the global technology company Siemens announced at EMO 2019 their plans to further intensify their already successful collaboration.

New Balance updates recently launched TripleCell platform

New Balance updates recently launched TripleCell platform

New Balance has updated the TripleCell platform, created with 3D printing technology from Formlabs, delivering components that are closer to traditional performance cushioning than ever before.

Brother UK appoints dedicated sustainability champion

Brother UK appoints dedicated sustainability champion

Business technology solutions provider Brother UK has appointed a sustainable development coordinator to a new full-time role supporting end-users that are working to reduce their environmental impact.

Ensuring your print estate is included in your digital transformation journey is key to manufacturing sector productivity

Ensuring your print estate is included in your digital transformation journey is key to manufacturing sector productivity

The manufacturing sector has faced increased pressures in recent years, with greater emphasis on faster, better products, services and experiences, customers and their changing needs and expectations.

Brother boosts new sales opportunities for channel with services expansion

Brother boosts new sales opportunities for channel with services expansion

Business technology solutions provider, Brother UK, has launched four new services for print and scan devices, giving channel partners new revenue streams and strengthening their ability to help clients capture efficiency savings.

DTM Group announces its cooperation with printer manufacturer OKI

DTM Group announces its cooperation with printer manufacturer OKI

DTM Group has added OKI’s Pro1050 digital LED five colour label printer to its product portfolio to be distributed through its subsidiary DTM Print (formerly Primera Europe).

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