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Wide label printers

What could you do if you had a wider label to work with? The world of wide web printing continues to expand, if you will, with ever-larger print areas and consequently, a greater ability to meet the needs of diverse bar code label applications.

Wide web printers expand label options like never before

What could you do if you had a wider label to work with? The world of wide web printing continues to expand, if you will, with ever-larger print areas and consequently, a greater ability to meet the needs of diverse bar code label applications. Today's wide web printers fit into many situations never before considered.

Defining bar code label width and print areas

The amount of space available on bar code labels differ based on the type of printer. For example, some printer models can produce labels up to 99 inches long, but no more than 6.5 inches wide. What that means for print applications is that you may be able to get all your information on the label, but it may not be configured in the proper manner for those applications where you must comply with an industry standard. Also, you may have to print bar codes ladder-style (vertically), which can negatively impact the print speed and the readability of the labels.

If you're using line-matrix printers, label print area can mean 13.6 inches wide. However, if crisp graphics and high resolution, as well as high-contrast bar codes and human-readable information are important or necessary, then line-matrix printers won't do the job. Also, if you require the ability to print on demand, that is, print labels only as needed and not in a batch (quantity) mode, then once again, line-matrix printers are not the best choice.

Generally, for the best print resolution and high-quality graphics capabilities, combined with a wide print area, a direct thermal/thermal-transfer printer offers the best options required for bar code label applications. Although these printers have been hampered in the past by acceptable width and print area, SATO America has recently announced the new M10e direct thermal and thermal transfer barcode printer. The SATO M10e is an 11.8-inch wide web printer with a 10.5-inch print head and is designed for rugged dependability and fast processing speed.

The wider print area available in the SATO M10e enables their use in many more types of applications than ever before. In fact, "wide web printing" has allowed many industries to begin using direct thermal/thermal-transfer printers for applications previously not considered. For example, in the paper industry, since many mills use very large labels to mark rolls, the use of dot-matrix printers was the only acceptable option. However, the wider print area option provides the paper industry with another choice.

A wider print area also means label designers do not have to reorient or rotate their labels to print properly. So, instead of turning a label on end, printing 8.5- by 11-inch labels, users can print 11- by 8.5-inch labels. Bar codes can be printed in picket-fence (horizontally) instead of ladder style, enhancing the speed in which the printer prints labels (throughput) and producing better edge definition. In fact, SATO's new M10e with a Windows® driver can create labels up to a full 10.5 inches wide at a print speed of up to 5 inches per second. The 10.5-inch print head makes it possible to print large format, compliance labels at top speed without rotating the image and can hold media sizes up to approximately 11.8" (300mm) wide x 16.6" (423mm) long. This is an important cost-saving feature of wide web printers.


If you need to include a lot of information on a label, or if you're working to be AIAG-compliant or ODETTE-compliant, then wide web printers should be given ample consideration. In addition to the automotive industry, there are many other industries that require that all products be shipped with labels that comply with the industry standard (i.e. all look the same and contain the same information), regardless of the manufacturer. The SATO M10e enables you to meet those unique industry requirements.

The 32-Bit high-speed RISC processor maximizes throughput while the footprint (18.7" W x 12.3" D x 12.6" H weighing 50.7 lbs.) and heavy-duty industrial construction make the M-10e the ideal choice for the following applications:

  • AIAG Parts Labeling
  • ODETTE Parts Labeling
  • JAMA Parts Labeling
  • Pallet Labeling
  • Chemical Drum Labeling
  • Shipping & Receiving

The SATO M10e also allows the flexibility to print a huge variety of label formats. Print one large label on demand, or produce multiple, smaller labels across the web (called "multiple-up") in batch mode, whichever is needed at the time.

In addition, there are many additional ways a wide label can be used to your company's advantage.

All in one - Does your product resemble a well-traveled suitcase, with labels of different sizes, containing redundant information, stuck on everywhere? One well-designed wide label containing all needed data plus attractive graphics would certainly provide a better presentation of the product. It would also improve the efficiency of workers who won't have to search for the right label to scan or read.

Brand/company identity - Your logo or other brand-specific identification can be more clearly presented on a large label, reinforcing brand and/or company identity.

Readability at a distance - Is your product, or item to be tracked, very large or stored high on racks? Is the label placed in an area that is hard to reach or see? A large label with a large in-spec bar code could be read at a distance with a long-range scanner, and large, high-contrast human-readable information could be seen without workers having to get close. Not having to get close to the label saves time, and in some cases may save lives. Think of drum labels for hazardous material (hazmat) situations; there is hardly a better example of the importance of easy-to-read bar-coded and human-readable data. Other industries that could benefit from easy identification at a distance include construction, transportation, metal coils, lumber and carpet, to name just a few.

Buying criteria
If, after analyzing your needs, you decide that a wide web printer is a necessity for your company, there are several things to keep in mind as you begin the buying process. Communicate your way. All your communications options-serial, parallel, USB, etc.-are available in the SATO M10e. You can get quality for a good price. The price point continues to come down in the direct thermal/thermal-transfer printer world, and you can expect to pay from $3,000 for a basic unit to $6,000 for an enhanced model. Multitask thoughtfully. If you are going to use your wide web printer for multiple applications, consider total label volume, and also how easy it is to change the label rolls. If the unit will be used for batch printing, a rewinder and possibly a cutter will be needed. Match the printer to the environment. For industrial, warehouse, dusty, cold or other hostile environments, the SATO M10e is built to deliver rugged dependability and performance.

Don't underestimate the importance of buying the proper labels and ribbons for your applications. Protect your investment and ensure your print quality. SATO ribbons and Techno THERM® labels are specifically manufactured to complement the features of SATO printers and deliver optimum performance and durability. Consider the future. As your needs change, a larger print width may allow you to accommodate future size requirements without upgrading printers.The new M10e direct thermal/thermal-transfer printer from SATO America is fast, versatile, dependable and cost effective, so whatever the application, the M-10e will certainly allow your company to expand its horizons.