Since 2012, the IntelliTech International barcoding blog is to give our readers useful advice on getting the most out of their barcoding technology. We’ve covered a wide variety of topics, from very specific to broader overviews. Some of our most popular blog posts have been about technology. Since our readers are looking for answers, we thought we’d give you a quick recap.
We addressed ongoing debate of “Laser versus Thermal Label Printers: What’s better for printing labels?” Yes, lasers are convenient, because many businesses and facilities already have them—but easy doesn’t make them good, just like a “one size fits all” really doesn’t live up to its name. A printer must be able to produce a barcode label that is sharp enough to remain scannable, so it should print well on a material that resists smudging and abrasion. Using a laser printer for barcode labels doesn’t fare well here. A barcode label printer must also be engineered to handle the adhesive on the label media. The higher temperature of a laser printer fuser station can lead to adhesive build-up inside the printer, causing roller failures and printer jams. A thermal label printer—whether direct thermal or thermal transfer—is a far better choice for printing barcode labels.
And speaking of lasting quality, one of our most read blog posts offered advice on “How to get more life from your thermal print head”. The print head is the most expensive part of a thermal printer, so it is wise to understand the simple steps toward protecting it. Regular cleaning (including the platen), using quality media that doesn’t leave debris, setting the correct pressure and print speed, covering the printer when not in use, and avoiding the temptation to touch the print head element surface will contribute to a longer lifespan for the thermal print head.
This subject leads us to the topic of the return on investment. In the blog post, “Bar Code Label Printers and Cost of Ownership”, we outlined the total cost of ownership (TCO) factors that contribute to ROI. The largest part of this equation occurs after the purchase of the equipment. Items like system integration and software/driver maintenance need to be considered before making the choice of a barcode label printer. You should also factor in the amount of time savings that the technology will deliver, because that figure impacts your TCO. If, for example, the durability of the label or the speed of the printing will increase staff productivity, you need to calculate those savings into your analysis.
Systems integration also drew significant interest on the IntelliTech International barcoding blog since as early as 2012. We blogged about “HP PCL and Thermal Barcode Label Printers”, which is the most widely used, industry standard printer command language in the world, which consequently affords easy integration of a PCL printer into any computing platform. And the blog post, “Linux Barcode Label Printing Solution”, explained how Hewlett Packard’s PCL led the way for the high quality barcode label printing we have today, and provides an excellent solution for systems with Linux distributions. If you need more information on this subject, get this free copy of IntelliTech International’s ebook, “Linux and Barcode Label Printing”.
At IntelliTech International, we’re looking forward to 2017 and all the new ideas, opportunities, and solutions in store. As always, if you need more information than you can find here on our blog, please contact us!