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thermal label printer

thermal label printer

thermal label printer

(OP)
Hello all. Can anyone recommend a thermal label printer that can be directly controlled via VFP primarily to produce bar code labels. Thanks.

RE: thermal label printer

any printer can produce barcode label.
you just need to use certain font for that (theres bunch free barcode font our there) and put some ASCII code at the end of the code to let you know that its the end of the barcode (usually i just put CHR(13))

RE: thermal label printer

(OP)
Thanks for your response hardianwn. I should have been more specific. Bar codes aren't the problem... we have the necessary fonts. I need a printer that can print directly from within Visual Foxpro, not via proprietary software supplied with the printer.

RE: thermal label printer

I suspect that you also need a printer which prints individual labels, rather than having to print an entire A4 sheet at a time. Sorry I can't recommend any particular model, but I would think there must be dozens of them available. As far as printing from VFP is concerned, just look for one with a standard Windows printer driver.

Mike

__________________________________
Mike Lewis (Edinburgh, Scotland)

Visual FoxPro articles, tips and downloads

RE: thermal label printer

Any new model should work with VFP reports. As you can customize the size of a report "sheet" you can adapt reports to any size and also use them with endless paper. You'll likely need to handle paper cutting, if this is intended for a POS system, but that's sometimes simply automatic as end of a report (or technicallay end of a windows print job).

It would be more sensible, if you ask becuase you have some legacy code which printed directly using a printers proprietary commands by escape sequences. There's no standard, so reusing such code will need the same printer and that might become a problem to get that exact model.

Chriss

RE: thermal label printer

There are several. These label printers come to mind ( From USA):

Tec also known as Toshiba
Sato
Zebra
Datamax
Monarch

They all have their programming language or use a third party software such as label view, codesoft, nicelabel, bartender.

For example for Tec printer. Send these Tec printer commands to print text,barcode:
*--Not tested


*--No of labels = 10
lc_oh = "10"
lc_copies= ALLTRIM(RIGHT("0000"+ALLTRIM(lc_oh),4))

*--For barcode
lc_xitem2 = "ABC1234"

*-- For text
lc_desc = " Description"


PRINTJOB

? "{D0541,0762,0508|}"
? "{C|}"
? "{U2;0130|}"
? "{D0541,0762,0508|}"
? "{AX;+000,+000,+00|}"
? "{AY;+00,0|}"

*-- Text
? "{PC001;0020,0210,20,30,K,00,B|}"
*--Barcode Code 39
? "{XB00;0045,0290,3,1,03,03,09,09,03,0,0101|}"

ENDPRINTJOB


PRINTJOB
*-- ITEM

? "{RC01;"+ALLTRIM(lc_desc) +"|}"
? "{RB00;"+ALLTRIM(lc_xitem2)+"|}"


? "{XS;I,"+lc_copies+",0002C6000|}"

ENDPRINTJOB


Hope this helps.

Edgar
Integrated Bar Code Systems, Inc.

RE: thermal label printer

(OP)
Thanks everyone for your help. Mike, you're correct that I need to print individual labels as opposed to multi-label sheets. Although this isn't a POS system, the function is similar to POS. Edgar, thanks for the info and possible models. I'll check them out. I'm sure one them will meet my needs. I think your code is exactly what I want to be able to send to the printer (the functional equivalent to PCL on a HP laser printer).

RE: thermal label printer

Ah I see, I work with that kind of printer before (label, with carbon sheet rolls, transfer by heat / thermal) when I was working with garment factory.
I tried 4 models from 2 brands (cant remember what brand or models, sorry).
2 of them uses web app to print the labels (including barcode).
BUT, luckily, it was recognize by windows as normal printer (unlike some plotter).
And I can print directly from vfp just like with any regular printer (figuring out after doing windows print test), with custom page size ofc.

As I recall, i download the new driver from its website (not using the supplied driver which came from its purchases it it work like a charm

EDIT: I remember one brand, it was monarch and the other printer uses bartender web app to print, and I can print from VFP uses barcode with the 3of9 barcode font

RE: thermal label printer

I second hardianwn here - for pointing out the ease of using a VFP report with custom page size. Printing a barcode with a barcode font can be a report layout that's as spartanic as a single report field set to the barcode font and printing the barcode as text which the font transforms to the bars. Fonts don't need to be installed on the printer and the FRX is reusable when your printer changes, too.

From what I read about PCL and know from usage, yes, tere is some elegance and simplicity in the commands, but there is no real PCL standard like there is for Windows printer drivers or PostScript.

You'll likely see for yourself, new printers come with a windows driver and since VFP uses the standard Windows printer API (print jobs) it can use any printer, even with 64bit drivers, you mainly have more advantages using VFP reports including to not need to upload/install fonts.

And one argument I had from a customer about the printer better knowing its dpi and printing sharper with its internal commands than via Windows driver. Nope, the only reason first printed barcodes were faint was a misconfiguration of the printing temperature.

You can use all the well known features of VFP reports including to install a driver with a printer name having the correct configuration options so to print to it you simply SET PRINTER TO printername which both adresses the right printer and has it configured to something you define at the windows level and then REPORT FORM barcode.frx.

Chriss

RE: thermal label printer

Hello diesel,

There are TYSSO PRP Series thermal printers (say PRP 300, PRP 350 etc) which are simple and very good. You just need to install the driver supplied with the product and it just acts like any other printer with only difference that you get only around 7 cm of width. When the purpose is for slip kind of printing, that's enough I hope. Also as you know it, you will use a paper roll in that, not sheet papers.

If you use 3of9 format for barcode, with 3of9 fonts, the easy and usual method, I think, is to add '*' before and after the barcode, ie, if your barcode is 'ABC1234', you will send '*ABC1234*' to the printer (without those quotes obviously). You can even try this from your Winword. Enter the word *ABC1234* and set the font to 3of9. As soon as you change the font, you will see the barcode instead of the actual characters you entered.

If your barcode is coming from a table and when you print from FRX, enter '*' + ALLTRIM(your barcode field) + '*' inside the field control object in your FRX. Then it should give you the barcode on the print.

I am not sure about that addition of '*' with barcode, but that should work I hope.
Our other friends must be able to help you more in this regard I believe.

Rajesh

RE: thermal label printer

Hello diesel,

If you have already found a solution for this, could you please give details here. Even though I have suggested something that I know, your solution details would be helpful to all, to me as well, for any alternatives you must have used.

Thanks
Rajesh

RE: thermal label printer

(OP)
Hello Rajesh,
Thank you for this information. Unfortunately, this project is temporarily on hold. When it moves back up on the priority list, I'll be researching the suggestions posted here. We do a lot with bar codes, so I understand and agree with your input. Our problem is that all of our past projects which required printing of bar codes involved the use of HP laser printers (full sheet labels) driven by PCL commands. Finding a compatible label printer (continuous paper roll) has been the challenge. The printers you suggest may be the answer. I'll let you know the ultimate solution but it may not be for a few weeks.

Thanks again.
Diesel

RE: thermal label printer

Hi Diesel,

It's okay. I was just curious (and may be many others here too).

The TYSSO PRP series I referred are normal thermal paper printers, not Label printers specifically. I am not sure if I misunderstood your need but I think you had mentioned 'Thermal printer'. Usually if the Bar Code, QR code etc are supposed to be permanent for quite long time on the printed paper, a thermal printer is not used as the impression would fade away very soon, as you know it.

Then, by label printing, are you referring to Bar Code sticker (label) rolls on which each sticker can be peeled off after printing? For that you would need a Bar Code Sticker printer I suppose. Using sticker rolls in a normal printer is not advisable (it could damage your printer too).

For Bar code sticker printers, you can check models from TSC. They have 244, 244+ etc. The print width is up to 4 inches I suppose. I have used that with VFP for Label Sticker printing with Bar Code and other product info. Labels also are available in various sizes.

Thanks
Rajesh

RE: thermal label printer

Hi there,
I think that any Zebra label printer would be able to handle what you are describing. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding label printers. We can be found at https://www.laserserv4less.com Let us know if we can be of further assistance

RE: thermal label printer

Hi All,
I have been using Edgar's method of printing receipts on an Okidata 320 and labels with barcodes on the Zebra thermal printers, among others, since VFW and have not changed the code once during all the migrations of OS, printers, VFP version, etc... While Microsoft drivers will have you pulling your hair out... Don't!! Generic Text Driver with the proper escape sequences have worked without modification for 30 years, and most printers will support the Epson POS command set.
Just saying and my hair has grown back.
john2r

RE: thermal label printer

Hi,

I've been using Zebra TLP 3844-Z printers for printing barcode labels for stock items and shipping labels for many years now. I use the native ZPL printer language (very simple and easy to understand), and the zpl windows driver networked from a print server. This driver supports the use of embedding ZPL code by wrapping it in pre-defined delimiters. I use a native fox report or label with normal text, label, lines, and image fields as required by the design, and embed the zpl that creates the barcode in a text field (that could, of course be data-driven from a table, cursor or memvars). The zpl text field is printed, but gets seen by the printer as a barcode definition that is interpreted and printed instead.

I create a 'printZPLBarcode()' function that takes symbology, source text, size & position arguments that I use in the text field to simplify things.
Using the ZPL language has the advantage that the barcodes are printed at the correct resolution of the printer, so there is no loss of definition.
Another advantage in using the ZPL driver is that it also allows you to use the native VFP ole bound image control. That allows my to use a QR generation library to create and print QR codes on my labels, as my ZPL printer doesn't support them directly.

BTW., I use direct thermal printing, that is using thermally sensitive label stock. This as mentions creates a label that is susceptible to fading over long periods of time. The alternative is to use Thermal Transfer printing which, by using a resin ribbon in the same physical printer (true for mine, can't comment on other models), allows longer-lasting, better defined printing to plain stock.

If any of this is of interest and you'd like to know more, please let me know.

Cheers,

Mike.

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