What is Industrial Printing?

Industrial Printers are designed to work in a range of harsh environments. As a result, they are built with high print quality, low maintenance durability, and high-volume continuous printing. Some models are designed to perform 24/7 mission-critical operations.

Why Buy an Industrial Printer?

Do you depend on barcoded labels, tags, or wristbands? Do they need to last, despite their exposure to sunlight, moisture, or other harsh conditions? If the answer is yes to both questions, then industrial printers are for you. Unlike inkjet or dot matrix printers, thermal printers use a heated printhead to produce an image. This process creates images with high print quality that can withstand greater abuse. They are also known for their low-maintenance durability and their high flexibility in adapting to different media and business applications.

Where Should You Use an Industrial Printer?

If you plan on placing the printer in your manufacturing plant or warehouse, then you will need a rugged one. Only industrial printers can take extreme temperatures and tough environments of factories and warehouses. It’s important to consider the types of labels and volume you will need to print. The smaller the label the more precise the printer must be to output crisp, legible barcodes. The higher the volume the greater the need for an industrial printer. That’s because they are engineered for high printing cycles and continuous performance.

What Differences Are There Between a Desktop and an Industrial Printer?

The main distinct difference between the two printers is the size. For instance, industrial printers are larger, hence why they are predominantly used in manufacturing and warehouse environments. Even in warehouse environments, where there is little space, industrial printers are still commonly used as part of a production line or on a warehouse shipping dock. Whereas desktop printers have a smaller exterior and are used within tight spaces such as on a desk or on a counter.

Another difference between both printers lies within the products themselves. E.g. Industrial printers are rugged, they are designed to be utilized around the clock in tough and demanding environments and are used to printing high volumes of media. While desktop printers are for mid-level or low-level use and intended for more of an office or retail environment where there is no exposure to moisture or dirt.

Other differences are the product specifications, desktop printers usually have lower print resolutions such as 203 or 300 dpi for printing things like receipts and tags. industrial printers can have higher print resolutions such as 600 dpi to accommodate for small precision type labels such as electronic component labeling.

What Are the Benefits of Using an Industrial Printer?

There are many benefits to owning an industrial printer, please see below.

  • Rugged dependability—even in the harshest environments.
  • Flexible – advanced features for all your applications.
  • Unparalleled print quality for barcode, text, and graphics on a wide variety of media
  • Consistent performance in 24/7 mission-critical operations.

What Should You Consider When Buying an Industrial Printer?

With so many features and factors, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Let us help. The first step to finding the right printer is to define your printing needs. When evaluating your options, start by thinking about the following:

Quick Deployment

Time is the one resource you can never regain. But you can save it with the printers designed to simplify setup. You should be able to easily connect the printer with a mobile device. Out of the box, it should offer a setup app to guide you through configuring the printer without any special technical knowledge.


Ease-of-use can translate into less frustration and downtime. Look for printers that utilize color-coded touchpoints and include diagrams inside. These can direct a novice through the process of loading the media or ribbon. Keep in mind components such as printhead pressure toggles and media sensors; they should be designed to simplify operation. Also, enquire if support or videos are available to help rapidly resolve errors.

Effortless Device Management

A printer you can monitor over the internet is one you can remotely upgrade — a true time-saver. Remote access also gives you immediate insight into the status of your printer’s performance, ensuring greater uptime. Don’t forget about the cloud. Check if your printer offers an encrypted, cloud connection. This ensures your printer can directly and securely connect to apps running in the cloud, for greater convenience.

Reliability and Support

The difference between a reliable printer and one prone to repairs is structure. Make sure yours is built to withstand dirt, dust, heat, cold, and moisture. Equally important are service and support. Seek out printers that come with large, global support organizations. If you encounter technical issues, you don’t want to deal with them alone. Given the sheer volume, these printers will output, expect to replace certain parts, such as the printheads and platen rollers. Ideally, you want printers that either don’t require tools to replace these parts or make the process of replacing common parts straightforward.

Future Flexible

Technology constantly evolves — so will your printing needs. Today, barcode labels are common. Tomorrow, RFID might be necessary. Invest in a printer made to adapt. It should allow you to add new capabilities without any fuss. If it includes slots, even better. That will allow you to add new communication ports. It’s wise to also opt for a printer with media handling options (for example, a label peeler or cutter) that can be installed in the field.

Integrated Security

The rising number of connected devices brings a rising number of entry points into your infrastructure. That applies to printers too, making security an imperative. Safeguard your system with printers that offer deep layers of built-in security, from encryption to preventative tools and proactive measures.


Your final task is choosing a brand.  Brands such as Zebra come with an established reputation of being a provider of high-quality printers. The reliability of a well-known brand may end up costing you less in the long run.  Some vendors offer multiple brands and others work directly for a single manufacturer. Choose a reputable seller that takes the time to fully understand your needs.

This blog was contributed by Zebra Technologies.

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