A labeling machine is a stand alone device, no computer hook up necessary, that produces self-adhesive labels for use on a product. This is different from a label printer which needs connectivity to a computer. Recent models of printers are being designed to have a wireless device. However, that is the only difference between the two, they still perform the same function. Labeling machines and printers are different from an ordinary printer because they require special feed mechanisms that can handle various materials.
These devices use a number of different goods for labels mostly including paper and plastic, and use laser, impact, and thermal printer mechanisms. Direct thermal and thermal transfer appliances are commonly used. Thermal transfers are used for more permanent or long term needs where as direct thermal fades faster and is used for short term needs like shipping.
The grades of ribbons for a thermal machine are wax, resin, and a wax/resin combination. The ribbons used on a labeling project need to match the type of material the label is being printed on to reduce the amount of smudging. Wax is the more popular ribbon with some smudge resistance and works best on matte and semi-gloss material. Wax and resin combination resist smudging and works well on synthetic labels and semi gloss paper. Resin is chemical and scratch resistant and is compatible with coated synthetic labels.
The type of label maker machine that an individual needs depends on the labeling required. There are devices built for high volume printing and others built for at home use for minimal amounts of labels. Labeling software and applicators are available to companies who have high volumes of shipping or a personal at home computer. Individuals should do their research and find out what device best fits their demands and budget.
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