It has been a long time since Zebra updated its range of print engines so it is interesting to note the arrival of the new ZE500 series.
Like its predecessor, the PAX range, ZE500 is designed to allow labeling equipment OEM’s to easily build the device into the equipment they build to provide print and apply functionality.
The designers of these print engines are always restrained by the fact that the labeling machine companies demand all the competing printers are interchangeable – the end user can usually ask for a Zebra, Sato, Intermec or Datamax printer which is just bolted into place. There is very little change that can be made to the overall size and shape of the printers.
The result of these design constraints has been that many models of print engine have been really hard to work on – trying to change the rollers on a Zebra PAX printer (as an example) meant that the technician had to get into the electronics enclosure of the machine to be able to get access to the mechanical parts.
The Zebra ZE500 claims to make this much easier – all the rollers can now be switched out form the front of the machine and changing printheads is easier as well. In addition, the drive mechanism is now modular and much easier to deal with.
The Zebra ZE500 comes in 4 and 6 inch wide versions and both 203 and 300 DPI versions – the 600 DPI option was dropped back in the PAX days and doesn’t seem as though it will be revived. As in the past, both left and right hand models are provided, to suit the needs of the particular application.
One thing is for sure, our Winco ID service team will be happy that the new models will give them less aggravation to work on – thanks Zebra!
Here’s Chuck at Zebra showing off the new model…
And a video on replacing the rollers…
The ZE500 is a great advance in print engine design and can be provided with our ID Technology Printer Applicators. Need additional or replacement print engines for your existing labeling systems? We can supply the ZE500 for that as well.
Could automating your printing and labeling help your business? We’d love to help!
Update: Feb 7th, 2013
Got a little ZE500 hands on time with Chuck Wilson at the Zebra office today.
Very cool to see that just three tools (two allen keys and one torx driver) are needed to be able to do most of the work needed on this new machine.
Bearing in mind that print engines are usually used in production, it is very important to be able to swap out parts quickly if needed. Zebra promised that the ZE500 was much easier to work with than the old PAX models and this was proven to be the case.
Chuck was able to show how the platen roller, the drive rollers and the complete drive mechanism could be accessed, removed and replaced in way less time than before. Very impressive.
For anyone with old PAX printers in need of replacement, or maybe other brands too, the ZE500 looks to be the way to go.
Very attractive trade-in deal for end users going on at the moment too, so call me quick!