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Smart Printer System

  • No PC needed to print bar code labelsSmart Printer
  • Lower investment than a traditional printing solution
  • Simply plug printer into AC power
  • Three ways to start printing:
    • User can select label from on screen menu and start printing
    • Or user can scan the product bar code from a menu
    • Or PLC can send serial data to the printer for accurate production labels

  • Traditional Way to Print a Label
    • Bar Code Printer
    • Windows PC
    • Windows Labeling Software
    • Communication cable

  • New Way to Print a Label
    • Bar Code Printer
    • Smart printer software

  • Main Benefit: eliminating the PCs reduces the maintenance in a dusty and grimy environment which means no more Windows crashes and no more hard drive crashes

  • Is Smart Printing Better?

    Let's look at the advantages of a Smart Printer

    • Simple user experience
    • Easy to support
    • Cost effective
    • Quickly prints labels with bar codes, text and graphics
    • Great for space constrained workspaces
    • No more Windows updates
    • No more PC hard drive crashes
    • No rebooting
    • No workstation that needs to be locked down
    • Ability to connect to multiple input devices

    Case Study: Webasto Roof Systems

    Webasto Roof Systems made innovative use of the connectivity between scales and smart printers to create an automated shipment verification process.

    The manufacturer was making 25 to 30 shipping errors per month. With customer-imposed fines of $200 per error, it was paying $5,000 to $6,000 per month in penalties, plus the labour cost associated with resolving the errors.

    The customer order records are downloaded to the smart printer memory. This includes a list of all parts necessary to complete the order. The printer connects to a scale and light pole.

    Here is the labeling process:

    • A shipping technician places a shipping carton on the scale prior to packing

    • As each part is placed in the carton, its weight is retrieved from the database in the printer

    • If the weight is incorrect, the pole displays a red warning light and the printer requires the technician to correct the problem before continuing

    • A shipping label prints only when the correct weight registers for the number of items on the order

    The smart printing process virtually eliminated incorrect and incomplete orders resulting in full ROI within six weeks and $54,000 in savings during first full year of operation.

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    Case Study: Massachusetts General Hospital

    One in five medications administered in U.S. hospitals is given in error, according to one study. A mistake can cause complications, if not a life.

    One of the most important safeguards to protect patients from medication errors is the Five Rights check. Before administering any medication, the nurse ensures that the:

    • Right patient is receiving the

    • Right medication in the

    • Right dose by the

    • Right route at the

    • Right time

    Hospitals can eliminate 50 percent of their medication administration errors by scanning bar codes at the point of care to positively identify the patient as well as the medication they are about to receive against a physician's order, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

    The first step was to get the bar codes onto the medicine. Very few of the pharmaceutical products received at the hospital were bar coded at the unit-of-use level.

    The hospital decided to phase in unit-of-use bar code labeling and scanning, beginning with medications that were dispensed from programmable IV pumps. A system was implemented by which scanning a bar code on the IV bag would not only identify the medication at the point of care, but would also automatically program the pump to dispense the medication at the right rate.

    Labels from the pharmacy information system are printed on Intermec Smart Printers. The smart printer extracts information from the label data fields and encodes it in an two-dimensional (2D) bar code. This bar code is a virtual electronic form of the information printed on the label, including patient, drug, order, medication administration and dose tracking information. This is the first system to encode the Five Rights in a bar code.

    The bar code labels are scanned at the patient bedside prior to administration. Nurses use mobile wireless computers to scan their own bar coded ID badges, the patient's bar code wristband, and the bar coded medication. The scan data is sent over a wireless network to the electronic medication administration system, which verifies whether the patient should be receiving the medication identified at that time along with other safety checks, utilizing data in the bar code.

    "The system prevents wrong drugs from going to patients," added Ron Imperiali, associate chief of pharmacy, informatics at Massachusetts General. "There were lots of challenges to bringing this system together, but it works."

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    Case Study: New Zealand Kiwi Industry

    The New Zealand kiwifruit industry is export driven, built on consistent and timely delivery of quality fresh fruit. Kiwifruit continue to be a key export for New Zealand, with kiwi exports accounting for 27.3 per cent of all horticultural exports. With growth in the volume of trade and rising consumer awareness of food safety guidelines, the kiwifruit supply chain encapsulates major logistical challenges.

    As early as 2001, European customers began to focus on fresh produce logistics and traceability, requesting bar codes at pack levels to ensure fast and accurate tracking of inventory. Kiwifruit operators in New Zealand needed to be able to guarantee a high level of traceability for tracking their cartons and pallets.

    A local software company developed a system based around Intermec's Smart Printer technology. The Smart Printer also allows remote access, enabling quick changes to label templates and operating software without the need for a site visit. At the height of the kiwifruit season, when pack houses are operating up to 3 shifts a day, this responsiveness was extremely important to keep operations going.

    The new system is designed to be easy and simple to use at all levels and does not require intensive training, a necessity for the New Zealand kiwifruit industry given that many on-site personnel need to use the technology at a number of different stages in the distribution process.

    The enhancement of the kiwifruit supply chain process has added value to New Zealand kiwifruit suppliers by meeting the European labeling requirements.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    • What is Smart Printing?

      Most label printers are passive devices, sitting idle until a computer commands them to print a label. They print the label, then go back to sleep. Smart printers, by contrast, are active. They can run computer programs directly so do not depend on a host computer to give them label-printing commands. They also can direct a user's actions, prompting for input, displaying responses and taking action based on those responses. Finally, they are capable of interacting with other devices in the enterprise, for example by querying a corporate database for order details based on a scanned order number. We call this active, responsive printing Smart.

    • Are Smart Printers difficult to use?

      Not at all. The programs that run in Smart Printers are typically very intuitive, with simple-to-use interfaces designed to get work done. It only takes a very short time to train a user to use an Smart Printer, much less time than it takes to learn to use the label printing part of a typical enterprise system.

    • What if I need to change a label?

      It is very easy to change your label. Simply update the table on your PC, connect to the printer and download the new table to the printer.

    • How will this save money?

      There are several ways that Smart Printing saves you money:

      • By eliminating the need to purchase and maintain PCs you recognize tremendous upfront and ongoing savings simply. Industry surveys prove that it costs approximately 30% of the cost of a PC to maintain it each year, by eliminating the PC, you eliminate this cost too

      • By simplifying your printing infrastructure your system becomes more reliable and thus less costly; Simple, intuitive Smart Printing applications typically take very little time to teach. For short-term or untrained workers this translates into faster, more accurate, more highly productive workers

      • Typically Smart Printing applications run at the point of application, not in a back room, and labels are not printed until they are needed. Additionally, the earn-a-label concept means that a label is not printed until it is correct, all of which save money through eliminating wasted labels

    • Can I really eliminate the PC from my label printing? How does that work?

      The PC is no longer necessary by moving the label printer directly to the point of application, as well as running the label printing application right in the printer, and by connecting keyboards, scanners and other peripherals as necessary to perform the label-printing task.

    • I already have an investment in Intermec printers. Can I use them as Smart Printers?

      Yes, if you have the latest PM or PC Intermec printers with the LCD display, then these can be used as a Smart Printer.

    • Can Smart Printing applications access my enterprise data?

      Yes, under your control. Smart Printers all come with network connectivity built-in (except for Bluetooth enabled mobile printers). Intermec's Smart Printers can connect with middleware running on your servers to exchange data with your enterprise databases.

    • Does Smart Printing slow down my label printer?

      Not at all. Smart Printers typically have faster processors and more memory so they are the fastest printers in their class, even when running Smart Printing applications.

    • Can Smart Printing alert me when my printer is having a problem?

      Yes. Smart Printers can use either SMTP messaging or respond to SNMP requests to return status and error information back to management systems. Several device management vendors offer device management solutions to help alert you of issues before they become problems.

    • What kind of devices can I control from the printer using Smart Printing?

      Any device that has a serial port or network connection can potentially be connected to and controlled by a Smart Printer.

    The Solution

    AGiiLE offers a total solution for Smart Printing. The hardware, software and services are offered as a total package that is tested and reliable.

    There are many hardware options to choose from, depending on the print volume. As for the software, send us your label and database and we can produce your label for you .

    If your pain point is incorrect labeling, then you need to error proof your system and eliminate the mistakes.

    An example of an error proofing system is to connect the printer directly up to a PLC that signals the printer which part is being made. The printer then prints one label with the correct part number. An error cannot be made, therefore this process is "error proofed".

    Every labelling application is unique and AGiiLE will tailor a solution to fit your needs exactly.