Advantages of PCL-Enabled Thermal Barcode Printers in Distribution & Transportation: Cutting out the Middleware

Posted June 24, 2014

Introduction
PCL easily integrates to existing software, therefore, the cost of maintenance is lower and eliminates the need for middleware. This white paper to explores the advantages of PCL-enabled thermal barcode printers.

Starting with the basics, barcode technology has a heavy impact on the distribution and transportation industry. The barcode industry benefits not only employees who handle over thousands of packages every day, but customers, who ship those packages. The use of barcodes in these two industries allows daily supply chain activities to be streamlined, therefore, reducing complexity and simplifying the communication between channels. An added benefit of using barcode printers for these activities is the security of using Printer Control Language.

PCL is the industry standard and allows for easy integration into your current operating system. PCL also supports dozens of scalable fonts, which eliminates the need for customized middleware interfaces and prevents the possibility of an unsuitable font from being substituted. Localization of fonts is also included in PCL, and supports many languages including the characters of Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

PCL easily integrates to existing software, therefore, the cost of maintenance is lower and eliminates the need for middleware software, customization due to the standardized command language, and the need to maintain or upgrade custom printer drivers. In addition to the software advantages, Performance Series printer models offer cutting-edge durability and operational features not available with any other thermal printer provider in the market.

Demands of Event-Driven Supply Chain Management

Usable, actionable data is crucial in any supply chain. With the advent of event-driven data warehousing in the distribution and transportation industries, many businesses are now employing enterprise dashboard platforms designed to give executives up-to-the-minute reports on inventory counts, provide traceability accountability, statuses of product deliveries and passenger arrivals worldwide. The movement of goods and people demands accurate, detailed and timely data that can only be as good as the weakest link in the chain: the barcode. In today’s competitive economic environment, ensuring direct and efficient communication between systems, organizations and customers is imperative in controlling operational costs and improving customer relationships with a company’s products and brand. Barcodes and the equipment that generate them are essential to ensuring the channels of communication and data flow remain open and accurate.

Eliminate Complexity, Simplify Communication with PCL-Enabled Thermal Barcode Printers

One important way to remove complexity from your barcode printing processes is to install Printer Control Language (PCL) enabled thermal printers. An industry standard in LaserJet printing since 1984, businesses have been slower to adopt PCL in thermal printing because legacy, proprietary printing languages have kept them locked into using specific products for their barcode needs. Here are just a few reasons to make the switch to PCL thermal barcode printers:

  • PCL is standardized to run on a variety of operating systems: Microsoft, Mac, Linux and others, so it is independent of any application software running on a computer. This ensures faster and easier plug-play integration, getting your printer systems up and running sooner.
  • PCL supports dozens of scalable fonts. This eliminates the need for customized middleware interfaces needed to decipher fixed-width fonts and prevents the possibility of an unsuitable font from being substituted. Having standardized font formatting on every label ensures accuracy of barcode scans and reduces operating costs of inventory audits.
  • PCL supports localization of dozens of language characters including Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. Being able to immediately print international pallet and package barcode labels and pick lists, with no custom coding required, greatly increases global inventory and traceability responsiveness.

Total Cost of Ownership Middleware vs. PCL-Enabled Printing

Another sizable benefit of using PCL-enabled thermal printing is its lower overall cost of ownership. Here is a general overviewof the differences in cost between middleware and PCL-enabled thermal printing.

Associated costs tied to the purchase and maintenance of middleware:

  • Middleware purchase costs
  • Lifetime custom code development and maintenance to maintain congruency with operating systems and printer hardware
  • Middleware upgrade and re-certification costs

Associated costs tied to the purchase and maintenance of PCL:

  • Plug and play, standardized command language integration, no customization required.
  • No custom printer divers to maintain upgrade or certify.

Datamax-O’Neil Performance Series Thermal Printers: Benefits of User-Optimized Hardware

Along with the flexibility of PCL-enabled printing functionality that allows for 50 scalable fonts and support of dozens of barcode formats used in distribution, logistics and transportation, Datamax-O’Neil’s Performance Series printer models offer cutting-edge durability and operational features not available with any other thermal printer provider in the market.

The Performance Series printers feature:

  • Die cast frame, metal covers designed specifically for harsh work environments.
  • Full-color touch screen controls: makes printer menus easier to see and operate in dark or low light areas.
  • Standard ethernet connectivity: increases printer network speed, making data spooling and batch printing jobs faster.
  • Automatic label loading for seamless, continuous label printing.
  • 300 dpi printhead: allows for the crisp reproduction of fine detail in small, detailed bar and QR codes.
  • Prevents loss of data or misread codes when scanned.

The newest addition to the Datamax-O’Neil p 1120n, also offers:

  • Near edge printing: full use of the label allows customers to design and code barcodes that support detailed information.
  • Flexible multi-media, printing: allows labels to be printed on synthetics, tags, self-adhesive and plastics.
  • Gives users the ability to integrate barcode printing across a variety of applications.

For more assistance finding the right Datamax Printer for your needs, contact us at BarcodesInc.

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