Automated Print & Apply: Choosing The Right Print Engine – Print Engine Usability (Part 3 of a 4 Part Series)
Print Engine Usability
When it comes to a print engine usability, operating the printer is probably the most overlooked aspect during print engine selection. However, it’s probably one of the most important. The printer doesn’t just sit there once purchased. It gets used by people; people that need to interact with the printer on a regular basis. Labels need to be fed into the printer, ribbon needs to be changed and settings may need to be adjusted from time-to-time for various conditions.
The greatest downtime for a printer applicator is the normal changing of labels and ribbon. Therefore, this process should be as quick and intuitive as possible for the operator. If done quickly and correctly, system uptime can be maximized. During the print engine selection process, try loading ribbons and labels to determine the ease with which this process can be done, paying particular attention to ways in which it might be done incorrectly. The process should be extremely intuitive with little or no learning curve.
The human-machine interface (HMI) should also be relatively intuitive. Ensure operation buttons are large and LCD (liquid crystal display) screens are clear and easy to read. User menus should be structured into hierarchies and divided by function. For example, a user menu should contain only the necessary functions that an operator may need to access on a daily basis. One-time settings should be in a separate menu, as should service related items. If an operator has to scroll through large menu listings of unrelated items, the chances for
operational setting errors and associated downtime are increased.
This is Part 3 of a 4 part series on Print Engines.