Buying Print and Apply Labeling System – Tips for Choosing an Ideal Print Engine


The task of choosing an automated print and apply labeler system is usually not a cakewalk. It becomes harder for that company that is foraying into automated labeling for the first time. The print engine is a vital component of the print and apply labeler system. The function of the printing is dependent on the print engine. Other than printing, the print engine is responsible for different works of the printer.

The print engine can receive the data and process it. It takes out the label from the roll of the main printable label and detects the label length. It can also make the printable label removed from the liner and then the feeding on the application device is possible. A print engine is a sophisticated machine, and you need to be careful in choosing the model and the brand of the engine.

There are several specifications that you need to consider when you decide to buy a Print engine. To name a few, you need to check the following.

  • Speed of the Print
  • Direct Thermal as against Thermal transfer printing
  • Resolution post-printing

There are factors that we often overlook but you cannot ignore them while selecting the print engine for print and apply labeler system.

1. Serviceability

Whether you want to get your printer serviced outside with a local service vendor or make an in-house facility, timely service to the print engine needs to be on the priority list. Similar to the automobile engine, there are many components of the print engine that need regular maintenance and cleaning. Sometimes there might be a requirement of replacing the primary parts like the platen roller or the thermal printhead.

The delay in replacing the element of the print engine or difficulty in cleaning might result in low quality in the print, users’ fatigue, and a slowdown in the production line. The quality of the print is dependent on many factors. The essential one is a correct platen roller and a clean printhead. These elements need to get access with ease for better cleaning. Also, removing and placing another component has to be fast and easy.

Most of the new generation print engines have a tool-less specification for replacing the printhead and changing platen rollers quickly. These features in the print engine make it convenient for a better service to the key components. It results in less wastage of time in the maintenance.

2. Connectivity

The meaning of connectivity is about the data communication interface features that are necessary for the printer application. Almost all printers have various inbuilt interface options. But every application uses a unitary interface for communication. So, make sure to spend on your specific requirement only. A removable communication interface is always better, which is also called a plug-in type interface port.

A removable communication interface is convenient to change in case of damage or any change in the communication style. If the interface port is in the motherboard of the printer, there are chances of delay. It is because the downtime increases. It takes time for the replacement of the interface port in the event of damage. However, the replacement of interface with a plug-in or replaceable kind is much easier and instant.

3. Commitment

The print engines installed in the Automated Print Apply Application are way different from the old-fashioned desktop label printers. The limitation of desktop printers is that the label production volume is low, or if they receive a heavy workload, it takes a longer time for execution. Also, they get installed in a protected environment or within offices.

Whereas the Print and Apply Print Engines, give you uninterrupted production for a longer time. These printers provide you with performance throughout the day without any breaks during the week in the production setup.

The over-extended use of Print and Apply Print Engines needs a committed design, a dedicated team for development, and continuous assistance, and a better track record of excellence and dependability in the market. 

4. Usability

Humans are the most vital asset of the company. Most of the companies overlook this aspect while finalizing the print engine. But in reality, it is the aspect that needs attention. Once you invest in the printer, it cannot be left idle. The operator uses it and continuously interacts with the printer. The operator feeds the label in the printer, changes ribbons, and adjusts the setting depending upon the conditions.

You get an extended downtime in the printer applicator during the replacement of ribbons and labels. Hence, the steps involved need to be intuitive and instant as much as possible for the person operating. If it gets fixed correctly and quickly, there is an optimization of system uptime.

Once you are with the supplier of the Printer try the process of loading labels and ribbons yourself and check the convenience. Be attentive when the technician demonstrates the process of loading and uploading the platen ribbons and printed labels. The steps involved need to be intuitive, and the operators should learn the process with little or even without extensive training.

5. Data Compatibility

The IT departments of almost all the corporations today are engaged in selecting the brand of printer. However, the printers are production equipment, but still, need to get connected with the data network of the company. Therefore, it becomes the responsibility of the IT team. Every manufacturer of the thermal printer has a different language. For instance, a brand X printer might use an APL as their language. But the brand Y printer can use BPL as their printer language.

There is no second thought that data compatibility is essential, but it should not be the only criteria for selecting the print engine. Most of the modern printers are designed to emulate or handle different printer languages. It means a Brand Y can be compatible with both languages BPL and APL. It offers the company an opportunity to select the best printer with data compatibility.

Opting the Best Quality Label Printer

There is no denying that a usage environment and application can be completely contrasting. It is expected from the print engine to perform in any given situation and conditions. The printer must possess the ability to print the labels as needed without hampering the production. A printer not standing up to expectations often leads to production loss and enhanced downtime.

While selecting the printer, the corporates need to invest in a branded model that best suits their requirements. They will have to consider all the factors that will have an impact on their production process. Management needs to ensure that the printer meets both the technical and operation requirements.