When selecting a label solutions provider for print-on-demand labeling needs, it is important to consider service elements and evaluate inherent knowledge of thermal transfer print technology. Ensuring the correct kitting of label media to integrate with the print technology will make a substantial difference in the label output, barcode scannability rates, and longevity of the printed image itself. Furthermore, unique applications require different image resistance, so discussing your goals and processes upfront will ensure you receive the correct label and ribbon combination to best suit your needs. Here are 5 things to consider when commissioning a thermal transfer print-on-demand labeling system:
5 Things to consider when commissioning a thermal transfer-on-demand label system
- Sourcing of labels, ribbon, and printer from a single supplier
- Reliability and longevity of the printed image itself
- Simplicity of setup
- Service and support
1. Sourcing of labels, ribbon, and printer from a single supplier
Sourcing labels, ribbon, and the print system from a single supplier is beneficial in that you will then have a reliable partner that has full knowledge of your processes. This also ensures you receive the proper service, and that all components of the solution will correctly sync and integrate. As for kitting of labels, the supplier from which you source solutions should provide testing to ensure you are supplied with the best label and ribbon combination to suit your needs and process, in addition to the best combination to suit your printer. Not all labels and ribbons (especially when married) are created equal. For instance, some ribbon/label combinations might work better for resisting abrasion, high temperature, chemical resistance, etc.
2. Reliability and longevity of the printed image itself
For unique applications, the longevity of the printed image itself may be variable. For garments in particular, the printed image doesn’t necessarily need to last forever as it may be a temporary tag, while when handling a product like blood samples, it is necessary that the label and image lasts the sample’s entire life. This speaks to the importance of proper kitting to ensure the intended life of the label while not spending unnecessary resources or straining your printer.
3. Simplicity of setup
It is beneficial to source your label kits and print system from a vendor that performs media testing and print setup prior to shipping. This will reduce time to use and will also reduce training required once the labeling solution arrives at your facility.
4. Service and support
Be sure to choose a supplier with a service agreement in the case that something does go wrong. A vendor that offers over the phone technical support, or on-site troubleshooting services is very practical and beneficial and can save from costly downtime. In regards to services to properly care for and maintain your printer, heat setting adjustments are crucial, as they allow you to print the proper image while also preserving the life of your printer by only using the necessary amount of heat to transfer the image.
The scannability of labels is critical. Be sure to source your media from a supplier that verifies the correct kitting components, in addition to recommending the correct printer DPI to ensure barcode scannability. This is exceptionally important for applications that utilize automatic barcode scanning processes, as an unscannable barcode can create backlogged workflows or unplanned system downtime.
When seeking labeling solutions, be sure to consider these five tips. A single supplier that is able to provide all necessary products, along with reliability, simplicity, and service, will result in the most benefits for your process.