New SATO Print Engine S84-ex S86-ex

SATO S84-ex Print Engine ID TechnologySATO was the first thermal printer manufacturer to come up with a robust and reliable print engine that allowed OEM labeling machine builders the ability to add on-demand thermal printing into their labeling systems.

Over the years other manufacturers such as Zebra, Datamax and Intermec have come up with similar products, all designed to the same basic SATO form factor.

Our friends at SATO are introducing the latest variant of their print engine – the new S84-ex (4 inches print width) and S86-ex (6 inches print width).

As you’d expect, the new S84-ex and S86-ex are both made to the usual footprint so they are a perfect fit for any label printer applicator designed to use OEM style print engines.


SATO S84-ex Print Engine - available on ID Technology labeling systems

New SATO S84-ex Print Engine

The new S84-ex and S86-ex continue SATO’s industrial look with the black on black scheme. With just a quick glance, two things are apparent – a more modern look with the angled front cover and a different, more graphics capable display, without the blue fascia from the previous S84 models. The new version certainly looks more stylish.

The new LCD display looks to be of high resolution than on previous models. An interesting feature, is that the color of just the display can change showing alarm conditions. The idea of this is to show alarms even when the operator is some distance away.

New 2-Colour Display on S84/86-ex Print Engines

New 2-Colour Display


I was pleased to see, but SATO ships the new print engine with a complete range of connectivity ports. On previous models, the connectivity had to be specified at the time of ordering. With the S84/86-ex, serial, parallel, USB and Ethernet is provided as standard, with WiFi and Bluetooth available as options.

Easy Access to Mechanics and Electronics - S84/86-ex Print EnginesEase of Maintenance

As has been the case with other recent print engine introductions, a lot of design effort has been put into making the new machines easy to work on.
The printhead and the platen roller can be quickly removed without the use of tools. On the rear of the printer, easy access is provided for both the electronics and mechanical parts of the system – a great improvement since having access to the work on the drives and the boards has long been a major issue with most print engine brands. Recently designers have started to address this and it is nice to see SATO helping out. Since these products are used right in production lines, the ability to get inside to carry out maintenance and repairs is crucial.

Specification Highlights

New display and controls

4 inch and 6 inch print width versions

203, 300 and 600 DPI printheads

Print speeds up to 16 inches per second (203 dpi version)

Thermal transfer printing with both inside and outside wound ribbons

Ribbon saver option – can’t say I’ve had much luck with these in the past so it will be interesting to see how this works out.

Self-calibrating label sensor.

Lots of connectivity goodness (USB host and SD cards as well as that I already mentioned)

Dedicated direct thermal version.

The new S84-ex and S86-ex look to be a very nicely thought out update on the previous printers. This is a competitive market and both Datamax and Zebra have recently introduced new versions of their print engines, making this an important new model introduction for SATO.

You can download the datasheet on the new models, here.

I’ve had the chance to briefly check out one of the new print engines and it looks good – even though it unfortunately doesn’t have a “Made in USA” label attached to it.

Which print engine is right for you?

We can help you decide. ID Technology is the market leader in label printer applicator systems and we can work with you through every step of the decision  process.

Contact us at: 888-438-3242 Option#3 or you can email me directly at We’ll get you in touch with one of our labeling specialists, right in your area!

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