“While selecting a right RFID Printer and Encoder for RFID applications we need to print speed, software, encoding capabilities as well as feed and print quality”
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology is a wireless AIDC technology that employs a set of RFID tags, RFID readers, RFID antenna, RFID software as well as an RFID printer and encoder (often printer does the encoding as well).
Purchasing a correct RFID printer and encoder is an important decision and a big investment because these printers with encoding capabilities are also costly and small businesses tend to avoid purchasing one for lack of ROI. Unless you have enough demand for RFID printing and encoding needs, you must not invest in an RFID printer/encoder.
What is an RFID Printer/ Encoder?
Printing and encoding data on RFID inlays or labels simultaneously are done by RFID printers. The only method to print on labels is with one of these machines, and they also save time by automating the labor-intensive process of manually encoding each tag. In addition to printing data (on the tag/label surface) that can be read by humans, RFID printers can also print pictures, logos, and 1D and 2D barcodes.
For any label printing system to be successful, matching the media with the printer and application is crucial, but it's especially necessary for RFID smart label printing and encoding. RFID systems are made to minimize interference, guarantee data integrity, and offer the greatest read range possible. High-quality smart labels are essential for maintaining data integrity and RFID read range.
Things to keep in mind while buying RFID Printer/ Encoder
The majority of printers have the same fundamental features, including the ability to print graphics and/or text, encode RFID inlays, and carry out verification. At that point, what distinguishes the field in terms of functionality is how the printer handles dead and/or poorly encoded tags.
Print volume and speed
There are a variety of printer encoders available, and they range in terms of how quickly they can print and encode a label as well as the large volumes for which they are acceptable. Industrial printers can produce more labels over time than basic desktop or portable printers since they operate more quickly and last longer.
Print resolution is crucial in situations where more detailed printing on the label necessitates better resolution, like when printing logos or illustrations. There are printers with a resolution between 200 and 600 dpi, but you can also discover printers with lower or higher resolutions. For typical printing requirements like text or barcodes, 200 dpi is sufficient.
Flexibility in technology
Choose printers/encoders that can handle the many RF tag protocols currently in use. This gives you the freedom to select the RFID tag that is most effective for each application. Ensure that your existing bar code labeling application can accommodate RFID data. The RFID printer/encoder you chose can be quickly integrated into it. RFID tag encoding can be done fast and safely utilizing printers/encoders.
There are two different sorts of print processes.
Thermal transfer, which transfers ink from a different ribbon to the label using heat. Thermal transfer printers should be utilized for long-term applications where the labels will have a longer life cycle in the supply chain because the labels do not fade with exposure to sunlight or heat.
Direct thermal, which makes use of specialized media in the form of label material that has been treated and turns black when heated. A direct thermal printer's benefits include a simpler design that makes loading media easier, the absence of a ribbon, and easier printer maintenance.
The flexibility of label size
The printer/encoder you choose should be adaptable enough to support a variety of label sizes in addition to different levels of pitch between the chip inlay and label. As you may use large smart labels today, what about tomorrow?
Cost of RFID Printer/Encoder
Another important parameter while selecting an RFID printer/encoder is cost. Small desktop printers come cheap and do the job fairly well. These are suitable for small retail businesses and office use. Industrial printers and encoders are also available that are costly (say INR 3.4 lac for one Zebra model) but do a great job in printing and encoding. These RFID printers can print and simultaneously encode hundreds of RFID labels in a few minutes, saving you precious time.
Avoid using media made of metal and foil.
For smart labels, avoid using foil or label stocks made of metal. Metal is a major cause of RFID interference since it reflects RF signals. A metal or foil label that has an RFID inlay can dramatically reduce range and hinder successful encoding/reading.
To conclude, while purchasing an RFID printer and encoder depends on use cases, as per your printing and encoding demand/need, you must focus on costs, and some technical requirements to decide which printer you need to choose. Parameters such as flexibility of RFID label size in feed, use of ribbon, print volume and speed, print methods as well as print resolutions should be your focus.
- Last updated on Aug 18, 2023