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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High-performance printing in a compact design

High-performance printing in a compact design

Business services specialist Toshiba TEC, has expanded its product portfolio to include two new A4 monochrome printing devices.

Brother UK celebrates 30 years of labelling with new P-touch holiday promotion

Brother UK celebrates 30 years of labelling with new P-touch holiday promotion

Brother UK is running an end user campaign on its P-touch range of labelling machines, to help resellers drive sales in the run up to Christmas. The campaign marks 30 years of Brother’s labelling solutions.

Making your mark - Printing & Labelling Special Technology report

Making your mark - Printing & Labelling Special Technology report

Manufacturing & Logistics IT spoke with a number of leading spokespeople from the vendor and analyst communities about current and possible future developments within the world of printing & labelling technology.

This special technology report will investigate a number of key current and ongoing areas of innovation and development with the printing & labelling marketplace; one of the most critical and fast-changing technology environments within the manufacturing, logistics and retail sectors.

NiceLabel recognised by the worldwide association for the automatic identification industry

NiceLabel recognised by the worldwide association for the automatic identification industry

NiceLabel, a leading global developer of label and marking productivity software solutions, was selected by AIM, the trusted worldwide association for the automatic identification industry, providing unbiased information, educational resources and standards, as winner of the 2018 AIDC Case Study Competition.

Brother UK secures royal approval again for employee development

Brother UK secures royal approval again for employee development

Business technology solutions provider, Brother UK, has been commended by the 2018 Princess Royal Training Awards for its dedication to developing its people.

New Develop mono printer range

New Develop mono printer range

Develop has introduced three new monochrome printers, the ineo 3602P/4402P/4702P.

Line matrix printers won't let you down if temperatures tip 40°C

Line matrix printers won't let you down if temperatures tip 40°C

In this prolonged hot dry spell, Printronix LLC is reminding businesses that its line matrix industrial printers can withstand temperatures as high as 40°C (104°F), whereas devices like laser printers are highly sensitive to humidity and extremes in temperatures, often causing them to jam or stop working.

Citizen announces dedicated 4x6 media for CX-02 photo printer

Citizen announces dedicated 4x6 media for CX-02 photo printer

Citizen, manufacturer of photographic dye-sub printing products, has announced a new, dedicated 4"x6" media for the compact CX-02 dye sublimation photo printer.

OKI Europe adds wireless connectivity to advanced A4 colour printers

OKI Europe adds wireless connectivity to advanced A4 colour printers

Bringing new levels of efficiency to today's office environments, OKI Europe (UK & Ireland) has added wireless connectivity to two of its most sought-after High Definition Colour, A4 printers – the C332dn and MC363dn.

Xerox retains leadership in fourth consecutive market report for channel managed print services

Xerox retains leadership in fourth consecutive market report for channel managed print services

Xerox continues to hold a leadership position for channel managed print services (MPS) for its broad and accessible portfolio, according to the latest European-focused, worldwide market landscape report by analyst research group Quocirca.

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
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