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

3D printing unlocks new design and manufacturing use cases across industries, says GlobalData

3D printing unlocks new design and manufacturing use cases across industries, says GlobalData

As industry 4.0 evolves, 3D printing has emerged as one of the key enabling technologies driving advancements across industries.

SATO launches new Consumables Program

SATO launches new Consumables Program

SATO Europe has launched a new customer-focused approach to its labels and ribbons ranges, in response to demands for greater operational efficiency and waste reduction across global supply chains.

King Tau launches new industrial-grade print engine, incorporating Xaar printhead technologies

King Tau launches new industrial-grade print engine, incorporating Xaar printhead technologies

Chinese OEM, King Tau has launched a new industrial-grade print engine, incorporating Xaar's advanced printhead technologies.

Domino’s new food packaging ink supports coding on respirator face masks

Domino’s new food packaging ink supports coding on respirator face masks

Fast-drying, high-contrast, and suitable for use on medical devices and personal protective equipment (PPE), TIJ-BK119 is the latest component in a range of specialist coding and marking solutions supporting the fight against COVID-19 from Domino Printing Sciences (Domino).

SATO sparks efficiencies across the supply chain for LimaCorporate with next-generation PJM RFID source tagging solution

SATO sparks efficiencies across the supply chain for LimaCorporate with next-generation PJM RFID source tagging solution

SATO, a global pioneer in the development of auto-ID and labelling solutions, has built an end-to-end supply chain solution for Italy-based orthopedic implant manufacturer LimaCorporate.

Lexmark recognised as Global Print Security Leader

Lexmark recognised as Global Print Security Leader

Lexmark has been recognised as a Global Print Security Leader by Quocirca, the global print and market insight research firm.

EOS expands its additive manufacturing metal materials portfolio with introduction of EOS NickelAlloy IN939

EOS expands its additive manufacturing metal materials portfolio with introduction of EOS NickelAlloy IN939

EOS, the technology supplier of industrial 3D printing technologies for metals and polymers, has added a new nickel alloy material to its growing and expansive list of metal powders available for use in powder bed additive manufacturing (AM).

Top five innovative printed & flexible sensor technologies, according to IDTechEx

Top five innovative printed & flexible sensor technologies, according to IDTechEx

Printed/flexible sensors offer multiple benefits relative to their more established rigid counterparts, including lower weight, flexibility/conformality, and potentially lower manufacturing costs since printing facilitates high-throughput continuous production methods.

Dakota interview with Amtico: Ruthlyn Dawkins, Purchasing Manager

Dakota interview with Amtico: Ruthlyn Dawkins, Purchasing Manager

Dakota Integrated Solutions spoke with Ruthlyn Dawkins, Purchasing Manager at Amtico, to find out how Dakota has worked with her and her Team as Amtico’s incumbent label and printing consumables supplier.

Canon’s imageRUNNER ADVANCE DX C5800 Series creates partner opportunities to support digital transformation and hybrid working

Canon’s imageRUNNER ADVANCE DX C5800 Series creates partner opportunities to support digital transformation and hybrid working

Canon Europe has announced the latest addition to its imageRUNNER ADVANCE DX portfolio, the C5800 Series; designed to address the acceleration of digital transformation and the changing role of the office.

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