Date Published: June 19, 2018

Label printers are widely used in many businesses. While most people think of printers as the desktop models to print off emails and documents, there are a great many devices available specifically for label printing.

These devices are usually smaller and some are hand-held.  They are used to create labels that can be applied to products or packaging.  The purpose of the label can be far greater than simple identification. The use of modern technologies allows the amount of information put onto a label to be several magnitudes greater than just text.  This information can be transmitted to centralised computer systems so that the location of the warehoused item can be logged. The individual product or package can them be tracked through shipping and delivery.

The types of printing on the label can be quite varied. While text is nearly always included, there are printers available that can also incorporate images (to make it more appealing to the end user, or help identify the product in the package), QR codes (which can store a great deal of information), and barcodes (which also can store much information).

With the use of scanners, transport and logistics companies can use the information stored in in the label coding to transmit to a central system where the package is throughout its transport path. The use of mobile transmitting scanning devices allow for this tracking capability.

There are several printing technologies used. Each has specific advantages or disadvantages.  The older dot matrix printers can still be found.  These use a set of pins that impact an ink ribbon to leave the shape of a letter or number on the paper.  They are limited as to what they can print and have fallen behind more modern printer types.

Direct Thermal Printing uses thermal paper that comes in contact with the heated printer head.  The head is capable of much more complex shapes.  One advantage t Otis this technology is that it doesn’t require a ribbon and applies the heat directly to the paper surface which responds to the heat by colouring.  The downside to these labels is that they are much more sensitive to light and general warmth and the label life is shorter.

Thermal Transfer Printing involves a heated ribbon that creates long-lasting images that can be printed onto a wide variety of materials. This type of printing transfers the ink on the one side of the ribbon on impact of the printer head on the other side. The printed materials produced by Thermal transfer have a much longer readable life (depending on the printed surface material’s life).

Both of these technologies can be used in a wide variety of applications. They can print text and images and are very good for printing barcodes for tracking purposes.

You can see our Label Printers here.