So: Flat Edge or near edge label printing?

January 28, 2014
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barcode labelMost barcode label printer buyers do not want to, or do not have the technical knowledge or interest to get too involved in the mechanics of the product. So long as it produces a label at the end of the day – well, that’s just fine.  But as we have discussed in previous blogs, factors such as  resolution, networking, working environment, size of labels etc can make quite a difference to cost of your printer and also how streamlined the processes are within your work environment.

What is the difference between Flat edge and near edge label printing?

Probably the most well know type of print-head is the flat head printer. Near Edge printing is viewed in the printing world as an advance in technology (in thermal label printing) whereas Flat edge has been around for some time, is more common and is seen as traditional but slower. High profile brands such as Toshiba now use near edge print-heads on their label printers.

Both models use the same fundamental principles. The image to be transposed onto the label is transferred from the thermal ribbon by a combination of heat and pressure. The print-heads (whether flat head or near edge) consist of heat elements. The amount of heat elements will determine the resolution. As the label passes under the elements, the ink is transferred onto the barcode label.

The difference between the two is in how much contact the print-head has with the label itself.  With the flat head, the label remains in contact for a short distance after it has passed through. With near edge, the heat elements are positioned close to the edge of the print-head, and contact finishes straight after printing. Hence a faster process. This is especially useful where, in many industrial settings, speed is of the essence.

Toshiba say about their own barcode label printers:

“The EX4T1 series is based on our world renowned ‘near edge’ thermal print head technology providing superior performance and speed, as well as increased print head life vs. more traditional flat head machines in a variety of applications ”

To find out more information about Toshiba TEC label printers click here

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