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Product labeling has long been a part of our lives and is so ubiquitous that we rarely pay attention to it, but it was not always so. The first mention of labeling products dates from ancient Egypt, where special inscriptions were used on vessels and jugs, describing the purpose of the container for certain types of drinks. Today labels have evolved and include text, graphic images, and linear and two-line codes to mark products for a multitude of reasons. More than ever, the printing industry must operate efficiently, environmentally, and economically to ensure accurate labeling and satisfy clients.
Modern labeling software can design a wide variety of labels, including those with data matrix codes, barcodes, and QR codes. The user only needs to input the data into the labeling software where the data is subsequently encoded by the software in the format that the user has selected. The label program also gives users the option to upload photos or change the label’s size and shape.
The second element of the printing system is the hardware. Typically, it comprises a labeling machine that is integrated into the manufacturing process of the company. As a result, printing is simplified and made faster.
What different types of labeling systems exist?
There are various kinds of labeling systems, such as print and apply systems, only-applied systems, and labeling systems that don’t need labels to be produced automatically.
As the name implies, print and apply labeling systems enable the manufacturing and application of labels in a single step. The label printer and dispenser is also the labeling device that is utilized in these situations.
Labeling machines that just apply labels to things are only-apply systems. The labels are already produced and placed into the device, which automatically applies them. In these situations, the device employed is the label dispenser.
Lastly, labeling systems that do not need autonomous label manufacturing include devices that can immediately print on the products (usually with ink). The two labeling devices utilized in these situations are drop-on-demand inkjet printers and laser printers.
How does software help manage label printing?
Label design and printing software offer users a quick and affordable solution to create labels for a number of business needs. Users can print labels that comply with the regulatory requirements of their particular industries and modify labels to whatever their business needs.
Labels are a priceless tool that businesses use to convey crucial information about their products to buyers. Product contents, product instructions, product warnings, pricing, and even corporate branding are a few of these crucial communication areas. Printed labels are used in every aspect of how businesses interact with their customers to communicate their brand. Retailers and manufacturers should therefore utilize streamlined label printing software that can generate labels quickly and cost-effectively. Let’s look at six hallmarks of optimized label printing software you should be aware of:
1. A convenient and intuitive creation of layouts and label templates
The process of designing a label/price tag is quite laborious and requires the ability to design or IT skills. First Line Software develops programs to help you design label layouts in a convenient, intuitive user interface that is similar to Microsoft Office, but at the same time provides additional intelligent features. This allows employees who do not have specialized knowledge in graphic design to create label layouts without prior training and lends itself to easily make changes to the layout.
2. Seamless working with dynamic information and databases
In printing workflows, you need access to databases – products, barcodes, serial numbers, etc. The number of errors, inaccuracies, and delays at this stage can be quite frequent and may significantly impact business processes. Pre-installed label printer utilities do not usually provide tools for working with databases, therefore, specialized print management software will be required to get the job done right. Step-by-step and systematically they will help link the data into a single layout and check its accuracy before any actual printing begins.
3. A consolidated working environment and precision control
The full cycle of label printing (layout development, editing, coordination, adjustment for different types of printers, quality control, actual printing, and data storage) takes place within one system. Any changes in the design or description can be centrally controlled, and it also excludes unauthorized actions. The program also signals design errors before sending the layout to production (label overruns, missing mandatory information, or the presence of extra blocks).
4. Saving time equals saving money
Time savings is one of the main advantages of integrating label printing software into a business process. Users may print labels more quickly than they could previously because of the availability of hundreds of templates and customizable designs.
5. Industry-specific compliance
Label printing software gives users access to the relevant legal specifications for their particular sector. For example, healthcare providers can use templates for regulated labels, while food wholesalers can use templates for FDA-regulated labels ( U.S. Food and Drug Administration). Label printing software offers label templates that comply with any industry requirements.
6. Reducing printing errors
For a business, printing errors like incorrectly labeled food allergies, tracking codes, and product danger information can be potentially fatal. Users of label printing software may quickly and accurately print precise labels without running the danger of making these mistakes thanks to print preview capabilities, simple printing forms, and unauthorized action codes within the software.
Who is the target market for label printing software?
- Inventory managers
Printing RFID, barcode, or QR code labels that can be affixed to their products is the most efficient way for managers to track their inventory. Inventory managers can have each item scanned which will automatically account for their merchandise in the warehouse or throughout its delivery.
Every day, retailers print a huge number of labels for their goods. Retailers may generate product hang tags, packing labels, shipping labels, RFID labels (Radio-frequency identification), barcodes, and numerous other labels with label printing software to help them stay competitive.
Features of Label Printing Software
Label printing software offers customers templates for a variety of applications, including address and shipping labels, business cards, name tags, file folder labels, holiday cards, and more. The production and printing of labels for a company will be streamlined by having access to hundreds of readymade templates.
- Label design
Having access to a configurable label design interface is probably the most obvious use case for label printing software. With custom label design, customers can fully control the label creation process by selecting from a variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and fonts. Users can also choose photographs they’ve saved or created from their own computers to use in the design process.
- A barcode generator
Large volumes of inventory must be managed on a daily basis by both retailers and warehouse management. Making barcodes for each product so they can scan them and account for them in their inventory is the simplest way for them to keep track of their products. Users of label printing software can create barcodes inside the program and print each one onto a label to attach to their merchandise.
Additionally, key barcode elements including barcode symbologies and global barcode standards can be made available to users by label printing software. This enables manufacturers to adhere to the essential formatting and design of specific barcode components.
- Printer support
Software for printing labels supports a wide range of printing devices for various purposes. Label printing software can be tailored to the demands of the end user for devices ranging from common office computers to industrial printers. Users may also monitor print jobs that are in progress and take care of printer maintenance like cleaning inkjet printer printheads all within the software.
Any comprehensive printing system consists of 4 main areas:
- Printer languages application
Once the printer is installed on the production line, printer languages are then sent from the computer to the printer so that it can format the page being printed. These commands control the text size, images, data compression for printing, color, etc. Interesting fact: with the introduction of the first HP LaserJet printer in 1984, PCL (Printer Control Language) helped transform the appearance of inexpensive printer documents from subpar to extraordinary quality.
- Visual detection
Special cameras evaluate the quality of each code being applied.
- Rejection unit
Here, products that the camera considered incorrectly printed are removed from the conveyor.
- Main control station with implemented software
This manages all equipment involved in the printing process. The software is installed on the company’s server or it may use a cloud solution. After the hardware and software are installed, the Track & Trace system is deployed. It can work stand-alone or integrate with the ERP system of the company and automatically exchange information with it.
Related software and services
Let’s briefly discuss barcode systems. Each product label usually includes a barcode so that retailers and inventory management can educate customers about prices and supply levels. Most label printing solutions integrate with barcode software so businesses can produce barcodes for their labels if the label printing solution does not already offer barcode generators.
When a barcode is scanned, barcode equipment works together with inventory management software to keep track of data including stock levels, product locations, and raw materials. These tools eliminate the possibility of human error in manual data entry by automating it through barcode scanning. When a product is sold or shipped from one place to another, barcodes are frequently scanned. Businesses in sectors like manufacturing and e-commerce will particularly benefit from this information. In order to manage and track inventory and other assets, this software occasionally offers features to create and scan RFID (radio frequency identification) tags.
Ask Your Questions!
Labeling software solutions for the print and packaging industries have been a focus of First Line Software for many years. Our recommendations are supported by a straightforward process, in-depth familiarity with business operations, and exceptional product knowledge. Contact us about how First Line Software can help your business achieve its printing solution goals.