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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Industry partnership launches new handheld label printers

Industry partnership launches new handheld label printers

Panduit and printer technology partner Epson have launched the first two jointly developed printers for the industrial, construction and network infrastructure markets.

Canon announces new imageRUNNER ADVANCE DX range

Canon announces new imageRUNNER ADVANCE DX range

The workplace is changing rapidly. For your customers, digitisation is a top priority and they need a partner who can support them on their journey. 

SATO refreshes universal industrial thermal printer line

SATO refreshes universal industrial thermal printer line

SATO has launched CL4NX Plus, a best in class thermal industrial printer designed for durability and dependability in business critical track and trace operations across the globe.

SATO launches new printer to meet the front line needs of the supply chain

SATO launches new printer to meet the front line needs of the supply chain

SATO has launched the CT4-LX smart mini label printer. Equipped with a colour touch panel LCD for intuitive operation, the printer is claimed to be easy to use for operators of varying skill levels, in a space-saving manner, widely across many sectors and geographic regions.

Green credentials and security will play a huge role in the print industry in 2020, says Y Soft

Green credentials and security will play a huge role in the print industry in 2020, says Y Soft

2019 has been a year of profound change as organisations across the globe have recognised the importance of digital transformation. As a result, more businesses have started experimenting and deploying new smart tools and workflow solutions which in return have enabled rapid information sharing, increased productivity and automation of some of the more mundane tasks.

Konica Minolta opens Digital Imaging Square, an industrial printing European showroom in Bratislava

Konica Minolta opens Digital Imaging Square, an industrial printing European showroom in Bratislava

Konica Minolta opened the latest showroom focusing on all its main industrial printing technologies in Slovakia. On a total area of 480 m², a unique space in terms of complexity in equipment, software solutions, printing substrates and workflows was created.

Epson reaffirms its commitment to COP25

Epson reaffirms its commitment to COP25

Global technology firm, Epson, has reaffirmed its commitment to decarbonisation (reducing greenhouse gas emissions) in advance of the 25th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25) to be held in Madrid, Spain from 2 to 13 December 2019.

Interket strengthens UK sales team with new appointment

Interket strengthens UK sales team with new appointment

Interket UK has strengthened its on-roll and sheet label sales team with the appointment of Barry Craze.

Establishing end-to-end control of product labelling & customer-facing materials: 5 focal points for improvement for the year ahead

Establishing end-to-end control of product labelling & customer-facing materials: 5 focal points for improvement for the year ahead

By Graham Francis, Channel Marketing Manager at global enterprise labelling solutions company Kallik.

In heavily regulated industries - including medical device manufacture, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and cosmetics - demand is intensifying for accurate, compliant and contextually-relevant product labelling.

SATO launches the next-generation SG112-ex in European market

SATO launches the next-generation SG112-ex in European market

Global supplier of identification solutions, SATO, has launched a new wide format label printer to the European market, across a number of unique sectors.

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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