With the variety of industrial printers available, selecting the model that will fit right in with your environment and needs can be confusing. Print quality, connectivity options, media, and price are some of the factors to consider. Another factor to consider is the volume of label printing that you need.
Datamax-O’Neil and Zebra Technologies are two printer manufacturers who offer a range of quality printers for industrial use. If you need to replace a workhorse in your distribution center, add printers to your warehouse for high-volume applications, or label specimens in a lab, you’ve got lots of models to choose from.
This article segments industrial printers into three print volume categories – Very high volume, Mid to high volume, and Light volume printing. All are made to hold more media than desktop models, and some support printing up to 8” wide. Since communication with a computer is needed to receive print jobs, industrial printers also offer options for connectivity; all have USB connectivity, but some options include Ethernet connections.
Very High Volume
Printers in this category are used to print labels almost continuously. Therefore, they need to be rugged and durable, even in the harshest environments. Characteristics of these types of printers are consistently outstanding print quality, fast print speeds, long printer life, and reliability in demanding applications.
Zebra’s offering in this category is the XI series printers, made for reliable nonstop, mission-critical environments. The variety of print widths, speeds, and resolutions lets you print everything from tiny electronic-component labels, to wide-web pallet and drum labels.
Datamax-O’Neil offers the H-Class series, the “Industrial Work Horse” of printers for rugged and reliable performance for 24X7 mission critical services. The H-Class is available in 203, 300, 400, and 600 DPI resolutions for any industrial application you can think of.
Mid to High Volume
Printers in this category are not necessarily mission-critical, but can handle high volume printing. Such printers offer a range of media compatibility, connectivity, emulation support, and optional RFID support.
In this category, Zebra’s ZM Series of printers and their 105SL model offer rugged construction for use in industrial environments. The 105SL’s all metal construction and fast processing and print speed make it ideal for applications in mid-to-high volume print ranges for quality printing in manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution applications.
Datamax-O’Neil offers the I-Class printers for mid-range printing requirements and include 203, 300, and 600 dpi models. They also offer the largest selection of communication ports in the mid-level industrial printer category including serial, parallel, USB, LAN, 2 USB Host ports and SDIO, W-LAN, and GPIO interface card.
Light volume printers tend to have a smaller footprint to fit into smaller areas when space is limited. Still rugged and able to stand up to tough environments, these printers are useful for warehouse, healthcare, and logistics applications where low volume printing is required.
In this category, Zebra offers the S series, or ZT Series. The ZT series saves space, is easy to setup, use, and maintain, while the S series gives you an affordable solution for everything from packing and shipping labels to pharmacy unit-dose labeling or wristband printing.
Datamax-O’Neil’s M-Class series is also a compact industrial printer for low-volume applications. The modular design of the M-Class makes maintenance and part replacement easy, and the flexible design allows for a variety of options to be upgraded in the field.
Comparing Printer Brands and Models
If you are thinking of migrating to a different model of printer, or add a different manufacturer’s printer to your existing line, check out this comparable printer chart from Datamax-O’Neil. You can see at-a-glance how the printers from a variety of manufacturers match up to their line of printers.
Finding the right printer is a challenge. Some articles you might find useful are Which Printer – Desktop or Industrial and Buying a Label Printer. Do your research, and then call us to let us know what you need and how we can help. We’ll be happy to help you find the right printer for the job.