Why is there a need to print labels?

Everyone who works with products needs to specify, physical marking of the goods enables efficiency for recording in your information system. It is needed in the manufacturing processes. Generally, goods already have labels (barcodes, etc.) in those cases trades use labels from suppliers(or manufacturers) for tracking their goods and outcome.

One of the examples is in the manufactory, which you have 10 welded pipes in stock that have been cut to the appropriate dimension and prepared for 5 different work orders. If you do not mark them every time a work order material is issued, someone would have to measure the dimensions and find out for which work orders each pipe is for.

To avoid this, there are two solutions(both are supported in ERPAG).

  1. Storage bins: The prepared pipes are placed in the matching storage bin. Afterwards, they are used from there in the next phase. More information about storage bins can be found on this link: https://www.erpag.com/news/storage-bins
  2. Labeling: A label with appropriate information is glued to each pipe. The data can be human or machine-readable (worker will scan QR code using ERPAG mobile App and see all necessary information on the screen). In this blog, we will focus on this way through a solution in ERPAG that we call “Label Designer”.

Label designer in ERPAG is a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor that gives you the freedom to create custom labels, regardless of whether you are printing on a classic desktop printer or on a thermal barcode label printer.

This editor is based on the Report Designer engine. More information about “Report Designer” can be found on this link:

https://www.erpag.com/news/the-report-designer

Our goal has always been to offer ERPAG users additional functionality. Most of the solutions on the market are focused on printing labels only for “Item”, we went a little further, so we enabled creating labels for other documents as well!

label designer - create options

At first sight, it seems unnecessary, but this way you have complete freedom to create whatever label you want. For example, you can define a label to mark the sub-component and the manufacturing project number as well. Or specify labels for “goods received note” with serial numbers already printed on.


Editor

Label template edit mode

The editor is contained of a couple of sections:

  • Toolbar – Basic tools for formatting
  • Zoom – Practical when designing smaller labels
  • Insert menu – Adding important data
  • Item type filter – Indication of which type of item label refers to. For example, only product and non-inventory product labels will be printed(i.e will not be printed for service type item).
  • Label size / Paper size – this determines the size of the label, the size of paper, as well as the type of paper on which it will be printed.

Note: We explained the detailed use of the editor on the blog for Report designer.


Defining Label size / Paper size

Label size/Paper size

The type and the size of the paper are determined here. Based on that, the label size is automatically selected

The default is “Continuous / Thermal”, which is the type used at special label printers. Here we usually determine width and height. In special cases, we can determine the number of columns, as there are labels that print in two columns. In that case, the width of the label will be divided by a number of columns.

Option A4, Letter (Landscape) standardized dimensions are already inserted.

Label size/ Paper size

The label size is based on the number of columns, number of rows and margins. This setting is used when printing labels on desktop printers.

After scanning, depending on the type, the preview will be visually adjusted.

Label template example
Continuous / Thermal
A4 2x5 label example
A4 2×5 (10 labels per paper)

Label printing

After we have done the label design, in appropriate parts of ERPAG we will be offered with the “Label printing” option.

Note: Label printing option appears dynamically, eg if you have “Item” type definition, it will appear on products and services, while if you have “Material loading” the option will appear only on Work orders that have “Material loading” document.

After activating this option, a new “Label printing” form opens.

report parameters

It is not practical to print label by label on the desktop. It will be a slower process and each time the browser itself displays a preview, it will have a large number of “blank” labels because the printer prints the entire page.

browser preview on label printer
Browser preview on label printer.
Browser preview on desktop printer
Browser preview on desktop printer.

Because of this, we decided to display list items before printing.

Label printing - number of labels

It is possible to make changes to that list. For example, deleting items we do not want to print, as well as changing the number of labels that need to be printed.


Per quantity / Single label

The number of labels printing for the item is possible to:

  • Single label – No matter the number of labels, only one will be printed. For example, if there are three pieces of “Case galaxy s21” on stock, only one label will be printed. This option is usually used when we are putting labels on shelves or storage bins to indicate which item is there
  • Per quantity – The number of labels is a number of pieces, i.e the quantity is always the whole total. It is used when sticking labels to each item individually.

The setting can be done individually on each item in the “Barcode / Second UOM” panel.

label printing setting

The default state is “Single label” unless you have serial /or lot numbers.

For an item where you have serial number tracking, the default will be “Per quantity” because it must display each serial number separately (eg you have SN 001, 002 and 004, three labels will be printed).

By “default” in LOT numbers tracking, a number of labels will be divided into LOT numbers. (eg. LOT-001 = 5 pieces, LOT-002 = 3 pieces, LOT-004 = 1 piece, three labels will be printed regardless of the total amount of 9 pieces). If you want to print for each piece, the parameter on the item must be set to “Per quantity”.

If you don’t want to print separately for each LOT/Serial number, there is a “Number of labels” button that can cancel the separation of Serial and LOT numbers.

Note: If you want all labels to be single labels (i.e one label for each item, regardless of quantity), a useful option is “Set column value”. Simply set the value to “1” for the entire “Number of labels” column.

set column value

Second UOM

Working with the second unit of measure is fully supported. For a better explanation, we will show an example where we have “pcs” as default UOM and “box” as Second UOM (1 “box” = 10 “pcs”).

Second UOM example

In the “Label printing” form, columns will be open automatically if there is a second UOM for any item.

label for second UOM

Since in our example we had 33 pieces on stock, we don’t know how many labels it takes to print a second UOM. You can enter the value manually or use the “Number of Labels” option.

Number of labels button

You have the following options offered:

  • Default UOM – Default state, only labels for default UOM are printed. In our example, 33 labels for “pcs” will be printed.
  • Second UOM – Adjusting the list to print only labels for the second UOM. In our example, 3 “box” labels will be printed. Rounding is to the smallest integer (33/10 = 3.3 = 3).
  • Default UOM + Second UOM – To the existing default UOM print, labels for the second UOM are added. In our example 33 labels for “pcs” and 3 labels for “box” will be printed. This is the example when you want to mark each item and each box where the items are located.
  • Default UOM – Second UOM – The print will be the second UOM and the remainder for the default UOM. In our example 3 labels for “box” and 3 labels for “pcs” will be printed (3 * 10 + 3 = 33). It is used when you pack items in the box you marked, while you label something that cannot be in the whole “box” separately.

Note: you can always manually specify how many labels you want to print. In our example, you can manually enter 2 “boxes” and 13 “pcs”.

More information about working with second UOM you can find on this blog:


Custom QRcode on label

The useful thing about QR codes is that, it is possible to “write” a lot of data in it and read on any smartphone with a simple camera. We will take an example at manufacture when it is necessary to inform the worker at cutting off an aluminum shape.

WO information

To format the message, we can do it through Blockly Script in Label designer itself.

Blockly label template
QR code label template
QR code label designer

And prints labels from Work Order

Label printing WO instructions

And reading data with a smartphone camera.

Reading QR with phone camera

Label print quality

The print quality of the label depends on printer resolution and the label size itself. The smaller the label is, the resolution of the print should be higher. The quality problem with desktop printers is not that big, because most of them have high print resolution already.

The most common resolutions for specialized thermal (label) printers are 203 dpi,300dpi ,and 600 dpi. ERPAG sends a “raw image” to a printer, so at the resolution of 203dpi text might be smudged and pictures blurred.

We recommend using label printers with higher resolution.

You have a detailed explanation of print quality on this video from one of the leading manufacturers of label / thermal printers.

https://youtu.be/oj4NPh_dIXY?t=141