Create Vivid Labels of Your Own Need Using Label Printers

Barcode and Label Printers

A label printer is used to make self-adhesive labels (stickers), by first designing it on a computer using a label generating or barcode software and then getting it printed; labels come in dynamic sizes and shapes and can be made on user’s choice of combination of colours and the art form used. It’s different from a label-maker as label-makers are stand-alone machines and generally are small in size, have a keypad on them and quite limited in application and functionality. A label printer is different from other printers because, to be able to handle rolled stock or tear sheet stock, they require a special feed mechanism.

A label printer uses a wide variety of label materials, but the most commonly used are papers and synthetic polymers. But before you make your label, you need to be well aware of the resources you have and the kind of label that you intend to make. You’d need to know what factors are important for you to consider before you use a label printer, e.g. size of the label, several labels, quality of labels, life span once printed and time in which you need it to be printed.

There are many kinds of mechanisms that a label printer uses to make a label, but the ones that are widely used are:

Thermal Printing Technology:

In direct thermal printing, a chemically treated material becomes darker once it is heated using a thermal print-head. It needs no ink or ribbons because it can only print in black and white. The labels created through mechanisms are prone to light or heat and thus are likely to fade away if exposed to them, that’s why they are used for short-term purposes such as transportation and logistics.

In thermal transfer, printing heat is applied to resin using a thermal print-head of a label printer. It causes melting of the ribbon’s surface which generally carries a composite called wax and/or resin and these composites are used to create the desired design; you may use coloured ribbons to create coloured images but this is a rarity as most business simply use black on white.

Selecting the right ribbon is crucial to the longevity and jeopardy of the label, for example; for paper matt type labels you would normally use a wax ribbon, where’s with a synthetic gloss label a resin ribbon would be more suitable. Selecting the right ribbon is dependent on the material and surface type of the label. Resin ribbons also provide a more permanent print and some deliver exceptional bindings where they can even withstand chemicals, alcohol or even liquid nitrogen.

Inkjet Printing Technology:

Inkjet printing technology uses the piezo-electric effect to push ink droplets, stored in a chamber, out of the nozzle by a special plate of a label printer which is powered by an electric current. The ink droplets moving out are controlled by the voltage applied to the piezo-electric before landing on the substrate. These ink droplets are then fired onto the label’s surface at an incredibly fast rate. Inkjet printing offers different varieties of inks, but the print heads are expensive to manufacture or replace due to the use of piezo-electric in it. So, using this you can create great quality labels in high DPI/resolutions (even coloured ones), but you’d need to invest more initially to get your hands onto it. The only problem that you’d encounter in handling this equipment is with its maintenance and costs of ink.

Label printers use different mechanisms, apart from the most commonly used some also employ the use of laser technology. The main classes of label printers are:

Handheld or Desktop Label Printer:

Compact electronic label makers are a fast and portable solution to several offices and warehouse labelling needs. Their compact size can be extremely misleading about their functioning; a label printer can handle heavy-duty operations very well and for very long. The handheld label printer is an easy to carry mobile solution to a problem where you have to move to every package to make a label for it according to its need. 

Desktop label printers are comparatively able to provide you better service because of the dynamic functionality and robust mechanism that is generally installed in it; their life-span is also usually longer than the handheld ones because they are generally seated onto a surface e.g. office desk, unlike the handheld ones, because they’re mobile, they’re likely to to be dropped by users, however there are also rugged ones you can get which have a drop and an Ingress Protection rating and can withstand harsh environments as well as multiple drops onto concrete.

Commercial Color Label printer

A commercial coloured label printer is designed for more heavy duty printing requirements such as on factory floors or manufacturing plants. The commercial coloured label printer can design high quality coloured custom labels for clients with a different need. Some colour label printers are even able to cut down the cost because they save the label waste, otherwise produced by most printers, by taking almost the same space as was required. These label printers are able to produce labels at best 2400 DPI resolutions. Due to this quality, they are suitable for producing labels for product packaging, health information, chemical or distribution labels. Manufacturing labels, e.g. logos or warning stickers, colourful packaging labels and Industrial Pharmaceutical printing for medications or chemicals, are also made using a label printer.

Industrial scale label printers

Industrial scale label printers are used to produce labels in bulks and therefore are used in areas where great scores of these are needed: industries. Industrial scale label printers are big in their size compared to even a desktop label printer and are usually seen set on their job of printing labels of great numbers. The labels are customised and usually are printed in just black and white. For businesses that require large scale label printing operations, larger and more versatile label presses are available. These can produce normal-sized labels or be specialised to make labels that are bigger than the normal size.

Labels are required sometimes in large amounts, so they are produced in bulks, and not every label printer is able to produce labels of your desire at great speed, maintaining the quality and outputting the quantity of choice. Sometimes the quality might not be up to the mark, sometimes it might not be cost-efficient, and sometimes it can be time-consuming. So, while choosing the kind of mechanism or printer, a user needs to be aware of what’s required and choose the right blend of the required features on a label printer accordingly.