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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Online pharmacy investment in Beaverswood Labelling just the medicine for improvements

Online pharmacy investment in Beaverswood Labelling just the medicine for improvements

Investment in new warehouse storage and handling systems has helped an online pharmacy secure an estimated 30% improvement in productivity.

Manufacturing engineering on display as University 3D prints face-shields

Manufacturing engineering on display as University 3D prints face-shields

3D printing technology to manufacture face-shields for nurses, paramedics, care homes and other front-line caregivers across the region.

NiceLabel to provide free label cloud software to organisations fighting COVID-19

NiceLabel to provide free label cloud software to organisations fighting COVID-19

NiceLabel, the global developer of label design software and label management systems, is offering free subscriptions of its cloud-based labelling solution and technical consulting services to organisations that have joined the fight against COVID-19.

Vertical integration expediates Waddington Europe’s turnaround for essential NHS PPE visor production

Vertical integration expediates Waddington Europe’s turnaround for essential NHS PPE visor production

European thermoforming packaging company Waddington Europe has joined forces with longstanding customer and partner Ricoh 3D to help bolster the national manufacturing and supply chain effort to provide supplies of personal protective equipment for the NHS.

3D printing moving into mainstream manufacturing, says GlobalData

3D printing moving into mainstream manufacturing, says GlobalData

3D printing technology is slowly cementing its role as a key part of the manufacturing mix, continuing its journey towards industry 4.0. It has already lowered the barriers to entry for manufacturing, allowing enterprises across many industries to respond to customer demands while offering greater customisation of products and speed to market, says GlobalData, the data analytics company.

Uniting passion and skills to help support health workers

Uniting passion and skills to help support health workers

Cisco is working with local organisations and volunteers to print protective face visors for health service providers in Reading, England.

Renovotec public launch for Honeywell 'RT10' rugged tablet, at IntraLogisteX

Renovotec public launch for Honeywell 'RT10' rugged tablet, at IntraLogisteX

Renovotec, the UK rugged hardware, software and services provider for supply chain companies, is publicly launching Honeywell’s new ‘RT10’ rugged tablet at IntraLogisteX 2020.

Are you overlooking this key source of safety and security in your warehouse?

Are you overlooking this key source of safety and security in your warehouse?

By Jeff Schmitz, Chief Marketing Officer at Zebra Technologies.
You may use a number of different technologies to help improve the safety and security of your warehousing operations.

Epson urges organisations to re-think printing technology choices in effort to reduce impact on the environment

Epson urges organisations to re-think printing technology choices in effort to reduce impact on the environment

New data has highlighted how simply switching from one type of printer technology to a modern alternative could unlock invaluable resources, regardless of sector. Each year, Epson business inkjet technology has the potential to save European organisations 1.8 billion Kwh in energy consumption, cut costs by €213 million, slash CO2 emissions by 636 million KGs and reduce printer related waste.  

Confidex releases Go – RAIN RFID label family for fast and reliable logistics applications

Confidex releases Go – RAIN RFID label family for fast and reliable logistics applications

Confidex, the designer and supplier of short-range wireless identification solutions, has released its Confidex Go Family of RFID labels for high-volume logistics and other applications.

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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