To order labels or to print labels is a question that many business owners wrestle with, especially when they’re first starting out. For many businesses the answer ends up being, “it’s better, less expensive and faster” to print their own labels.
Why should you print your own? The printing professionals from Griffin-Rutgers offer these reasons for your consideration:
- You have more control over the print runs and frequency and the speed with which you will receive the items necessary.
- You can more easily customize your labels on site. This is beneficial if you print multiple labels for multiple clients that each need differing information such as customer name, purchase order numbers or date of manufacture.
- If you’re printing your own labels you can control the number printed and that will help control your inventory and overhead.
- You can reduce waste due to obsolescence because you can print the amount of labels you need rather than having to estimate the number necessary
- Having your own printer will help you with “rush jobs” – those that would typically increase your costs exponentially if you had to order them from a printer.
An alternative consideration should a company run like labels sizes with a standard or consistent corporate background or appearance is to take advantage of a printers longer, thereby more cost efficient, label run. The labels can then be finished with a thermal transfer printer completing the label with the appropriate product name, description and other information.
A desk top thermal transfer printer is typically used to:
- Print compliance labels (those that adhere to retailer or UPC barcoding regulations)
- Design and print shipping labels
- Print in-house inventory tracking labels with barcodes
- Print point of sale labels
- Print pre-printed point of sale labels
- Print ingredient labels
How do you get started with the process of choosing and operating your own thermal printer? You will need:
- A desk on which to set it, if you chose a light duty desk top printer. If you choose a heavy duty industrial printer you will need to choose a dedicated space to house it.
- The thermal printer
- A computer that is compatible with the printer and the cables to attach the printer to the computer
- The label creation software along with the labels and the thermal transfer ribbons
- A supplier who will offer you on-site training. This is useful because it will help you get up and running more quickly and will also help eliminate damaged labels because of trial and error printing.
The benefits of a thermal printer include:
- Being able to print in either color or black and white.
- You can choose from various ribbon widths and ribbon types that include wax (the least expensive), wax/resin composite (more expensive, but extremely resistant to scratching and smearing, or resin (the most expensive but also the most durable and most chemical-resistant).
- Differing label types that include: paper, polypropylene, paper tags, synthetic tags or polyester labels
The differences between a direct thermal printer compared to thermal transfer printing is that direct thermal printing doesn’t use a ribbon but instead uses special heat sensitive material. The print head activates the heat sensitive coating and forms the image. A thermal transfer printer uses ribbon which transfers ink under heat and pressure to the medium to be printed upon.