Trends in Barcode Printer Technology
There are a number of new barcode printers on the market that are worth reviewing. Barcode printer manufacturers are focused on making the printers easier to use, less time-consuming to maintain, more ergonomic, and making training materials more accessible. Some of the enhancements are universal, such as front panel graphics displays with touch panels for printer configuring, and others are unique, such as Sato’s decision to put the on/off button on the front panel (!) Some of the new features include:
- Front panel graphic display (black & white for Zebra and Datamax; color in the case of Intermec and Sato) with icons for printer set-up make it much easier to configure the printer.
- Ability to fit in a small space with a bi-fold door from Zebra and Sato. Sato actually has holes in the bottom panel to make it easier to screw the printer onto a shelf.
- Larger label roll reduces time spent changing media – Zebra’s smaller desktop printers take a 5” roll; Sato’s full-sized printer can use up to a 10” roll.
- More universal connectivity – more interface selections are becoming standard; Bluetooth is more common, even with the larger table top printers.
- Easier maintenance – printheads and rollers are designed for easy cleaning and replacement.
- User training – Zebra provides a QR Code on the printer; scan it with a phone to get to a web site with full training information; Sato runs videos on the front panel display to show the user how to change labels, ribbon, the printhead, etc.
- Auto-adjusting – select the dpi you want on Sato and the printer will adjust; use any thickness label or tag on the Datamax – it will auto-adjust for optimum speed, heat settings, printhead tension, etc.
So give your sales representative you printer “wish list” – you may be surprised to find that it may be fulfilled!
Every company has inventory that must be managed, but often the smaller stockroom is overlooked since accounting doesn’t consider part of the “corporate asset inventory.” Even larger companies or government agencies have smaller inventories that are not purchased or tracked with their ERP software. Think office supplies, spare parts, medical supplies, and consumables like gloves and lubricants. That’s where a solution like CheckMate™ Stockroom can provide an answer.
The software is designed for a single inventory stockroom. The system provides for the full process: purchase, receive, issue (to department, work order, etc.) and ship (deplete) items. The system uses fast, accurate barcoding to label shelves, bins and larger items. The barcode can be produced from a barcode label printer attached to CheckMate™ or the UPC code that comes on the item packaging can be used. Stockroom manages fast, accurate inventory cycle counts or full inventory counts using a mobile barcode scanner. It provides immediate inventory balances and can provide re-order reporting that will prevent stock outages. In short, CheckMate™ Stockroom is the easy-to-use, low-cost solution for smaller inventories.
Dynamic Systems offers the TotalTrack System™ for Stockroom Inventory that includes the software, barcode scanners, printers, labels, training and support, all in one affordable, scalable package.
What Does IP Rating Mean?
The IP Rating for electrical enclosures is an international standard that classifies the degree of protection against intrusion of solid objects (dust, debris) and accidental contact with water. The rating code consists of 2 digits: the first digit categorizes solids; the second digit categorizes liquids.
The typical mobile barcode scanner is rated IP53 or IP54. This designates protection against dust in amounts to damage the electronics and against spraying or splashing water. So being used in a warehouse environment or being carried to a car in the rain is fine. Dynamic Systems recommends the Honeywell 6500 or equivalent for use with CheckMate™ software products. Its rating is IP54, so it’s perfect for warehouse and other in-house applications.
For more harsh environments (food processing plants or construction job sites, for example) we recommend at least IP64. This means complete protection against dust and splashing water. If the environment requires a wash-down of equipment, the choice would be IP65. The Psion Workabout Pro is rated IP65 and is the mobile scanner of choice with our SIMBA™ software used in seafood and produce packing plants. This mobile device would also be a great choice for construction sites, as it is completely protected against dust and dirt, and can work in a rain storm.
Let us know if you would like a copy of the full IP rating chart.