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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Domino partners with Procter and Gamble on tactile-coded bottle design for visually impaired consumers

Domino partners with Procter and Gamble on tactile-coded bottle design for visually impaired consumers

Domino Printing Sciences (Domino) has teamed up with Procter and Gamble (P&G) – one of the world’s largest and most trusted suppliers of consumer and personal care products – to develop an inclusive, tactile solution for product labelling, to help visually impaired consumers distinguish between personal care products during use.

Robotic tools make 3D manufacturing process safer

Robotic tools make 3D manufacturing process safer

Using robot technology from OnRobot, the students built an automation solution that eliminates worker exposure to the nylon powder used for 3D printing and additive manufacturing. Exposure to the nylon powder is harmful as workers may inhale, ingest or accidentally rub it into their eyes while working. The Lancaster students’ solution reduces worker exposure and eliminates associated health risks.

Eltronis celebrates FINAT award win with engage security label for luxury brand HEBE LIFE

Eltronis celebrates FINAT award win with engage security label for luxury brand HEBE LIFE

Security and brand engagement specialists Eltronis has scooped a winning prize in this year’s FINAT awards, clinching first place in the security category with a label focused on its new cloud-based software solution, engage.

Konica Minolta and Production Print Direct Ltd partner to support post pandemic growth of production print

Konica Minolta and Production Print Direct Ltd partner to support post pandemic growth of production print

Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK) Ltd has entered into a partnership with Production Print Direct Ltd, as the Burnley-based company looks to capitalise on a post pandemic resurgence in production print across the north of England and Scotland.

Konica Minolta takes cloud printing to a new level with EveryonePrint Hybrid Cloud Platform (HCP)

Konica Minolta takes cloud printing to a new level with EveryonePrint Hybrid Cloud Platform (HCP)

Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK) Ltd has launched its cloud-based, multi-tenant software-as-a-service printing solution: EveryonePrint Hybrid Cloud Platform (HCP).

BlueStar signs deal with Brother to distribute thermal printing range

BlueStar signs deal with Brother to distribute thermal printing range

Brother UK has expanded its reach into the automatic identification (Auto-ID) market after signing a deal with global technology solutions distributor BlueStar, as part of a pan-European agreement.

Itella Russia relies on warehouse management system PSIwms

Itella Russia relies on warehouse management system PSIwms

Itella Russia, the contract and transportation service provider, and PSI Logistics have successfully completed the development and implementation of the new multi-client capable software solution based on the Warehouse Management System PSIwms for the legal product labelling obligation in Russia.

Impossible Objects enters joint development agreement to produce new high-performance materials for 3D printing

Impossible Objects enters joint development agreement to produce new high-performance materials for 3D printing

Impossible Objects has entered into a joint development agreement with Owens Corning to develop new materials for Impossible Objects’ composite-based additive manufacturing (CBAM) process.

Renovotec launches supply chain rental campaign for latest Epson Colorworks label printers

Renovotec launches supply chain rental campaign for latest Epson Colorworks label printers

Renovotec, the UK-based rugged hardware, software and services provider for supply chain companies, is launching a rental campaign for the latest Epson Colorworks C6000 and C6500 Series custom label printers, targeting manufacturing and logistics users.

New Brother UK label printing kit for network installers connects resellers with new opportunity

New Brother UK label printing kit for network installers connects resellers with new opportunity

Brother UK has launched a new all-in-one label printing solution for network infrastructure and cable identification in a move to support resellers supply the network infrastructure installer market.

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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