Here’s why it is sometimes better to have standalone applications for your barcode printers instead of attaching them to a network or a computer.
Standalone applications: why?
In most installations, barcode printers are installed in one of two ways:
- Attached to a computer running a label design software attached to a database
- Attached to a network with software designed to print labels
But there are many industries and situations where having a computer or a network attached to a barcode printer isn’t ideal at all.
This could be, for example, because of the cost of the computer equipment involved. Or maybe there’s a potential for theft if your computer equipment is in a non-secure public place.
If barcode printers are subject to frequent moves due to events like assembly line setups, or if you’re running a retail establishment and need to print labels in specific areas of your stores, you definitely need another solution for your barcode printers.
That’s where standalone applications come into play.
How to make standalone applications for barcode printers
The concept of something being “standalone” is exactly what it sounds like—a system or program that can operate on its own without needing to be attached to an external computer or network.
In the barcode printing world, standalone applications make printers much easier to use and more adaptable to various business environments and operations.
After hearing this need from our customers, we designed standalone barcode printing solutions through our TSPL firmware. Firmware, its most basic definition, is software for hardware—a programming language that it is easy to learn, yet very powerful.
TSC’s TSPL firmware has database capabilities and advanced middleware tools that allow the printer to query a network or a cloud-based database to pull data.
Some other ways we gave our barcode printers standalone applications include:
- Easy-to-read color displays on key models
- Touch screen displays that allow direct data entry into the printer without the use of external keyboards or scanning devices
- The ability to attach external devices such as keyboards and scanners for easy data entry when required
In the end, our customers can seamlessly use their barcode printers and print-on-demand labels wherever they need to.
Standalone applications in action
Here are a few real-life examples of how some of our customers benefit from barcode printers with standalone applications:
- Tracking goods through a manufacturing or assembly process. At each station, a printer with an attached scanner can scan data from parts coming down the assembly line, and the printer can print out work-in-process labels to identify materials going to the next stage of production.
- Printing out sandwich ingredients in a sandwich shop. A database of sandwiches and their ingredients is stored in the printer. The sandwich maker can use the color display to pick out which sandwich has been made and print out an ingredient label and price label to affix to the finished product.
- Printing auto service windshield static cling labels when servicing cars. The printer can, for instance, calculate an automobiles mileage and expected return date for the next oil change.
- Tracking patients through a hospital: a patient’s information can be encoded into a barcode upon admittance. Labels with the information are attached to all paperwork, medications, test samples, etc., as a patient goes through his or her care. As new labels are needed, the patient’s existing barcode is scanned at duplicating stations (consisting of a TSC printer and a programmed barcode scanner) around the facility.
The best examples of standalone programs taking advantage of TSC printers were not thought up by TSC, though; they were developed by our customers who found a solution for an application. TSC merely provides the tools for their creativity.
Do you use standalone applications with your printers, or have you thought about doing so? Let us know!