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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Rugged thermal printer overcomes production issues


While many end users focus on criteria like throughput and print resolution when selecting a printer, factors such as how quickly a printer can be serviced, how speedily media can be loaded, and how easily a print head or platen roller can be adjusted or replaced can have an even greater impact on operations. Even small improvements in operational efficiency can positively affect a facility’s equipment up-time or on-time shipping performance.


The SATO CL4NX Series’ rugged thermal printer was designed with these factors in mind. It is a revolutionary, industrial class printer utilizing SATO’s innovative global design philosophy to provide an easy-to-use platform for the most demanding customer applications and environments with available print resolutions of 203, 305 or 609dpi. The printer’s user interface is a critical component for operational efficiency. Operators must be able to easily navigate the controls of their printing solution and quickly interpret and address error messages in working applications. The CL4NX includes a 3.5-inch, full-color, high-contrast LCD panel that provides operators video instruction on addressing common situations, reloading media, print head and platen maintenance etc.


Navigation control is made possible by a keypad design layout which features universal icons similar to that found on a typical mobile phone or laptop. During navigation, the onscreen display will direct the operator using a series of images, numbers, text and symbols that facilitate the setup of network and application settings or printer diagnostics. The display can also be configured for global use via its support for 30 user-selectable international languages. A simple, color LED indicator alerts users when the printer is operating normally (blue) or if an error condition exists (red). If an error condition is present, operators are guided through steps to clear an error condition and quickly return the printer back to duty.


All operators should be properly trained on the use of any new printer, but not every employee is able to retain all the required information for each activity, especially maintenance or error resolution. If operators have to contact supervisors, refer to manuals, or contact the manufacturer, these processes can lead to costly downtime. The CL4NX solves this problem using video assistance. Pre-loaded tutorials give operator guidance and error resolution that can be viewed directly on the printer display. By selecting the help function that displays along with the error notification, operators can view a short tutorial and pause, rewind, fast forward and play these videos. Label printer performance directly affects the ability of a company to achieve its throughput goals and to get shipments out on time.


If a printer is idle because of a maintenance issue, or is difficult to trouble shoot or repair, or has run out of media, then that off line printer can negatively affect on-time shipment performance and other factors.The CL4NX was designed to reduce the number of potential printer errors or print-run failures, and to speed up the processes of routine maintenance. Operators of the CL4NX are enabled to clean and change out print heads and platen rollers quickly, via tool-less procedures, minimizing production downtime. The CL4NX’s exceptional print quality and accuracy are the result of its print head mechanism, print head heat control, placement of the head in relation to the present position and Label Tension Damper System (LTDS). The printer’s rugged construction means it can withstand harsh environmental conditions, reduce potential breakdowns, and lower the total cost of ownership and operation.



The bi-fold cover design reduces the overall area required for operating in restricted spaces, with a space reduction of 53 per cent in width and 27 per cent in height compared to other models. The CL4NX features a wide-angle print head opening of 60 degrees for easy access and maintenance. Tool-less head pressure adjustment provides easy set-up and modifications for a variety of label widths and substrates, while a label guide and damper system (LTDS) provides consistent resistance to the media, reducing printer jams and improving print quality, as well as precise label placement. Tool-less print head and platen roller replacement procedures further minimize downtime, serviceability and maintenance. Print head cleaning affects print quality and print head life. The print head should be cleaned as each new roll of ribbon is installed. By making it easier to access the print head and perform regular maintenance, the CL4NX reduces the time required to perform this maintenance. A large media window makes it easy to view label and ribbon supplies.




The straight through label route is clearly visible and accessible, which helps avoid wasted time associated with replenishing consumables. The internal roll label holder includes an easy slide guide that can extend the standard roll use from 8-inch O.D. to a 10-inch label roll. The new thermal transfer ink-ribbon rewind with an oversized core and coreless capabilities provides stable rotating torque to reduce ribbon wrinkles. An optional internal rewinder is also available, providing liner take up when the optional dispenser is used. Two head pressure adjustment dials allow operators to easily adjust the head pressure in a range of 1.0 to 4.8kgs for optimum print quality on difficult substrates. The CL4NX features coreless ribbon take-up and supports rolled wound-in, wound-out media, fanfold label and tag stock, as well as coated-in and coated-out ribbon and a variety of face stock and substrates. It also allows for easy installation into existing applications without the need to modify customers’ existing inventory of printing material. Synchronized ribbon and platen rollers eliminate ribbon wrinkle, while the damper system provides consistent resistance to ensure print quality. The printer features an expanded darkness range that increases power to the print head to obtain optimal quality on material such as metal tags and synthetic films.



More information about SATO can be found at www.satoworldwide.com



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