Query about Printing Unique Pallet Labels Follow

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Noum Q

Hi Everyone, 

I was planning to use Bartender to print pallet labels.

The situation is following: I have a markem Imaje 2200 Series printer on a conveyor where pallets are passing by. Now every pallet MUST be labeller with a unique pallet number/barcode and certain other details identifying the pallet.

The information on what has ot be printed can be provided in an SQL table or via .NET api. My questions are following:

 

1. Does bartender support drop-on-demand sort of printers where print happens periodically based on a job that has been created every-time a new item passes in front of the printer. This is different from typical label printers where the print is always manually triggered.For printers like Markem Imaje 2200, when I print a label from the menu in bartender, what would typically happen? Would the printer start printing as if a pallet was already there or it would wait for next pallet to arrive and then issue that print? What if the user issues print command multiple times, would the printer print last one or FIFO when the pallets eventually passby?

 

2. In the above situation, Does bartender have the capability to Spool the prints. So if the SQL table has 10 rows, it would keep printing each for every pallet until the last pallet goes through. The SQL table would have new rows coming in and bartender would keep printing rows allowing to create a buffer/spool. Is this something possible with bartender?

3. If the above doesnt work out, then I believe I would have to setup external logic such that we trigger a print exactly when required and all buffering/sensing pallet flow would be managed outside bartender.

 

Looking forward to hearing your experience.

Regards,

Nouman

 

3 comments

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Pete Thane
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I am not sure I have worked directly with this model of Markem printer but have dealt with a number of similar applications with various printer manufactures devices including Markems.

For 1. the control of the actual printing of the label is handled by the printer itself and you would typically either set this in the control panel of the printer or as a setting in the driver. For example with a Zebra print engine as long as it is set to applicator mode then it will print in the way you outlined, ie not physically produce a label until the device has received a "trigger" to do so from a sensor of similar. With the Markem units I have worked with before they operate in a similar way.

In a way the above probably answers your spooling question as with BarTender the operator would send the print job to the printer and the Windows spooler would send the data to the device ready for the print triggers to be received. Subsequent print jobs could also be spooled ready to print. The printer would continue to print the whole of the print request before starting on the next job, unless you cancelled the print job on the device. 

As it stands BarTender Designer would not send new print jobs to the Markem if a new record was added to the SQL table as with this the operator needs to initiate the print request. However if you have the Automation or Enterprise edition of BarTender you can automate the print process via the use of the Integration Builder companion application and one of the available trigger methods is new record detection so perhaps you may want to have a look at that and see if that meets your requirements. 

I hope this helps

Pete

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Noum Q
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Hi Pete,
Thanks for a detailed reply and I will certainly try out sending multiple prints and see if it is effectively spooled and works as expected.

Since I am a bit less familiar with different versions Bartender has to offer, would you know what type of license is required to send prints using a .NET C# application to this type of printer. In this case, assume no database integration, the .NET application would initiate print requests and I assume windows/printer driver would spool the print requests until they are printed (based on actual printer trigger from a feild sensor).

Thanks and very glad for your support.

Nouman

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Pete Thane
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If you are using BarTender to print other than via direct user control then you would need a version of BarTender that allows automated printing and so that would mean either the Automation edition or Enterprise edition, probably the former but that would depend on whether you need any of the other more advanced features (revision control, security etc().

Even if assuming the advanced features of Enterprise are not needed however , where the print commands would be initiated from one central location (on a server for example) to a large number of printers then that could also be a factor in determining the version to use. I have not had any confirmation of this for BarTender 2019 but for the previous version (2016) it was suggested that Enterprise would be the better suited version where more than 20 printers or so were being controlled fin this fashion.. If the print commands are being sent from multiple individual PCs then this would spread the load of the system and so Automation would be suitable in this instance. 

Sorry a bit vague I know, but you may want to check out the full feature list of the versions on this weblink

https://www.seagullscientific.com/software/compare/

As mentioned previously, as long as the printer/driver are configured to work in an online/applicator mode, then the way BarTender works is when the print command is run a label file would be sent to the printer via the Windows driver and spooler and this would sit in the devices memory waiting for the appropriate trigger signal to be received, at which time the next label in the sequence would be produced. 

Pete  

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