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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Visit Star Micronics at Hostelco 2018 for a wide range of traditional and tablet POS solutions

Visit Star Micronics at Hostelco 2018 for a wide range of traditional and tablet POS solutions

At Hostelco 2018 (16 - 19 April 2018, Fira Gran Via, Barcelona), international POS printer manufacturer Star Micronics will be exhibiting its ever expanding range of traditional and Tablet POS countertop and mobile printing solutions that respond to today's rapidly evolving hospitality sector.

2018 3D Printing Industry Awards showcase leading technology

2018 3D Printing Industry Awards showcase leading technology

The 3D Printing Industry Awards return to London on May 17th 2018. The 3D Printing Industry Awards are nominated and voted on by readers of tech journal 3DPrintingIndustry.com. In 2017, over 200,000 votes were received, making the voting process the largest ever survey of the additive manufacturing sector.

New version of ISO 14024 on ecolabelling just published

New version of ISO 14024 on ecolabelling just published

Consumers have high concerns about what they buy and environmental labels and declarations can help them identify those products or services proven "environmentally preferable".

Brother UK hosts event for prospective apprentices

Brother UK hosts event for prospective apprentices

Brother UK has held an event for up to 50 students from local schools across Tameside to inform them all about apprenticeships.

Brother marks one billionth document sent to print through iPrint&Scan app

Brother marks one billionth document sent to print through iPrint&Scan app

Business technology solutions provider, Brother, is reporting a growing global trend of SMBs utilising app-based printing after recording its one billionth document sent to print via the firm's iPrint&Scan app.

Armor shows its new OWA Business Inkjet range at the recent Paperworld trade fair

Armor shows its new OWA Business Inkjet range at the recent Paperworld trade fair

At the recently held Paperworld 2018 trade fair, the remanufactured print consumables specialist presentd its new Business Inkjet range, designed for professionals.

Three game-changers for the manufacturing industry in 2018

Three game-changers for the manufacturing industry in 2018

IoT being built into the product design, manufacturers adopting a more service-centric business model and 3D-printing reaching the tipping point of realizing business benefits on a large scale.

Toshiba's erasable printer wins another award

Toshiba's erasable printer wins another award

Toshiba Tec has announced that Buyers Laboratory (BLI), part of Keypoint Intelligence, has selected the Toshiba e-STUDIO3508lp for the "Winter 2018 Outstanding Achievement in Innovation" award.

Renovotec introduces rugged managed print service

Renovotec introduces rugged managed print service

Renovotec software and services provider for logistics, manufacturing and retail companies, is launching a specialist managed print service (MPS) for rugged hardware, supply chain environments, to include cloud, rental and fully outsourced options.

Brother UK announces latest mono laser launch

Brother UK announces latest mono laser launch

Brother UK is launching ten new mono laser machines, offering more efficient printing with reduced print costs and faster print speeds.

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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