Selecting the Proper Printer & Media for Your Labeling
The printer and data collection market offers countless opportunities
for sales and service revenue. Choosing the proper type of printer,
ribbon, label stock, and adhesive for your customers label
printing application means the difference between a one-time customer
and repeat business. In this column, well talk about the
primary elements to consider when choosing labeling equipment
Direct thermal and thermal transfer printers are built to produce
high quality labels in single quantities or large batches. Direct
thermal printers offer the benefit of creating images without
using a ribbon and need little maintenance. However, these labels
have a shelf life of one year or less in applications that expose
them to bright lights or high temperatures. Thermal transfer printers
use a special ribbon that can print on many types of label stock
to serve a wide range of applications.
Label stock falls into two basic categories: paper and synthetic.
For direct thermal and thermal transfer printers, paper is the
most common and economical choice. For applications where the
label is exposed to abrasion, heat, ultraviolet light, chemicals
and other destructive elements, synthetics such as polyester,
vinyl and mylar are a better choice.
Thermal transfer ribbons come in wax-base, resin-base, or wax/resin,
all of which work well with either paper or synthetic facestock.
The economical wax-based ribbons are durable in most environments,
but smear or scratch if subjected to abrasion or heat. Resin-based
ribbons resist smudging and abrasion, and withstand temperatures
in excess of 1000° F when matched with certain synthetic stocks.
Wax/resin ribbons offer higher durability than wax-based at a
lower cost than resin.
A wide variety of adhesives exist for all types of applications,
from general purpose to specialty labeling. Permanent adhesives
stay in place when exposed to temperature extremes, high humidity,
and chemical immersion. Certain hard-to-label surfaces such as
wood, recycled corrugated materials, refrigerated materials, and
small, curved objects require special adhesives.
I hope these tips help you in choosing the right printer and
media stock for your next labeling application. But if youd
like to learn more, our service school offers a course called
DC444 that provides hands-on training for printer maintenance
and integration, and its taught in both English and Spanish.
Call Cathy at 715-234-9171, ext. 5185 for course content and scheduling
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