Selecting an automated print and apply system can be a demanding task, especially if it is your first time using automated labelling. One of the key components of print and apply system is the print engine itself. The print engine is the component that performs printing functions and more such as receiving and processing data. Print engine also does jobs like pulling labels off the main label roll, sensing the label length, peeling the label from the liner, as well as feeding the label to the application device.
A print engine is a complex piece of machinery, so the selection of what print engine brand can model should not be taken lightly. There are factors that should be seriously considered during the selection process of a print engine. To help you, SATO Group has revealed 5 primary considerations when choosing a print engine.
There are many elements of a print engine that require scheduled cleaning, maintenance, and replacement of key components. If these items are difficult to replace or if areas of the printer are not readily accessible for cleaning, it could result in poor print quality that frustrates users and affects production downtime.
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When choosing a print engine, the first and foremost thing you need to think of is the component’s accessibility. Ask the vendor’s service personnel for their experience with different print engine models and have a look inside the printer’s main housing to see if the component layout is conducive to service. Additionally, when in-depth service work is required, it is important that the print engine can be easily removed from the applicator. Such engine is often referred to as an OEM print engine.
Your printer must offer data communication interface option to enable end-to-end communication during warehouse processes. Every printer will have a rich list of available interface options. Yet, the majority of applications will utilise a single communication interface. Therefore, make sure to only pay for what is needed. Make a list of connectivity you needed and spend the dime only to print that align with your warehouse goals.
The greater downtime for a printer applicator is the normal changing of labels and ribbon. Hence, this process should be as quick and intuitive as possible for the operator. If done quickly and correctly, system uptime can be maximised. During the print engine election process, try loading ribbons and labels to determine the ease with which this process can be done, paying particular attention to ways in which it might be done incorrectly. The process should be done extremely with little or no learning curve. In addition, ensuring operation buttons are large and LCD screens are clear and easy to read is also important. User menus should be structured into hierarchies and divided by function.
With the range uses of a print engine from continuous production to directly in the production environment for up to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is critically important for the selected print engine to have a fully committed design, development and support team in place as well as a long-standing history of success and reliability in the market.
#5 Match or not match
Lastly, during the print and apply selection process, you need to carefully consider the brand and model of print engine to specify, paying particular attention to the factors listed above. The technical specifications are of no use if the printer is not operating. Adding the above criteria to the print engine selection process will ensure companies specify a print engine that meets not only the technical requirements of the application but also meets the operational needs of the organisation.
Read also: The Power and Advantage of Mobile Printing in Warehouse