Retail Print & Labelling

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 retail supply chain management, retail price marking, packaging labels, blood and laboratory specimen marking, and fixed assets management.

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Enterprise Labelling Best Practices: How to mitigate risk, optimise processes and improve agility

Enterprise Labelling Best Practices: How to mitigate risk, optimise processes and improve agility

The white paper 'Adopting Next Generation Labelling Technology Enhances Enterprise Agility and Reduces Costs' published by NiceLabel identifies the hidden costs, inefficiencies and risks resulting from legacy labelling operations, and how adopting next-generation labelling technology can enhance your enterprise's agility, flexibility, and label quality.

NiceLabel receives a national award for its fast growth

NiceLabel receives a national award for its fast growth

NiceLabel, the developer of barcode and RFID labeling software and global provider of enterprise labeling solutions, has been awarded the 'Silver Gazelle' award for its fast growth and development.

IIJ knowhow takes Spilker into digital inkjet cold foil market

Spilker has launched into the digital cold foil market for label production with the help of Industrial Inkjet Ltd (IIJ) and Kurz. The specialist provider of rotary-processing solutions, which offers the complete service for the manufacturing of special-purpose machinery, has been undergoing live testing.

Cut environmental impact with new A4 colour business inkjets

Cut environmental impact with new A4 colour business inkjets

Epson has announced two new WorkForce Pro business inkjet printers designed specifically to reduce environmental impact, cut intervention and streamline workflow.

Enterprise labelling for a connected, flexible and efficient supply chain

Enterprise labelling for a connected, flexible and efficient supply chain

By Josh Roffman, VP Product Management, Loftware.

Looking toward the future, businesses are taking a more standardised approach and respecting the importance that labelling solutions play in the supply chain. Companies are beginning to understand that they need to develop a labelling strategy alongside their supply chain strategy.

SATO to demonstrate benefits of eco-friendly linerless label and printer solutions at LabelExpo Europe 2015

SATO to demonstrate benefits of eco-friendly linerless label and printer solutions at LabelExpo Europe 2015

SATO is one of the protagonists of the Linerless Trail initiative at this year's LabelExpo Europe in Brussels from 29 September to 1 October.

SATO and Datalogic join forces in EMEA to offer complete scanner-to-printer solutions

SATO and Datalogic join forces in EMEA to offer complete scanner-to-printer solutions

SATO and Datalogic have signed a sales agreement in EMEA to offer scanner-to-printer solutions to customers across retail, transportation & logistics, industrial, manufacturing and healthcare sectors.

Honeywell delivers economical thermal printer for light-duty operations

Honeywell delivers economical thermal printer for light-duty operations

Honeywell extends its 40-year experience in designing barcode label printers with the introduction of the PC42t, a thermal transfer desktop printer that meets the needs of a wide range of markets globally.

SATO to exhibit innovative labelling solutions for postal industry at POST-EXPO 2015

SATO to exhibit innovative labelling solutions for postal industry at POST-EXPO 2015

SATO, the global provider of Auto-ID solutions that empower workforces and streamline operations, will showcase its latest solutions for the postal, courier and express industries at this year's POST-EXPO (stand #1090), in Paris from 29 September to 1 October.

SATO launches IoT printing solution

SATO launches IoT printing solution

SATO, the global provider of Auto-ID solutions that empower workforces and streamline operations, has launched the CL4/6NX-J series, an Internet of Things (IoT) label printer service1 compatible with SATO Online Services (SOS), a cloud-based maintenance solution.

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.