Datamax-O’Neil RL4 Mobile Printer

August 12, 2011

I learned the other day that Datamax-O’Neil is part of the Dover corporation. Dover, for the unitiated, build elevators. You may recognize their logo with “Ben” scrawled next to it. Or at least I did when I took the physics department elevator in college. That’s not really the point of the story, I just really wanted to share the Ben Dover thing. Anyway, in my previous post I mentioned that they make remarkably durable printers, and the RL4 mobile printer is their newest.

The RL4 is designed for mobile label printing in industrial environments. It has a max print width of about 4″, so this fits in with shipping applications and industrial product labeling. It also sports a 4″ per second print speed, which seems pretty snappy for a mobile printer. Print jobs can be sent over RS-232 serial or USB connections, or wirelessly through the Bluetooths or 802.11a/b/g, and the RL4 supports ZPL, CPCL, DPL, IPL, and EZ Print languages, so it should be compatible with with most software out there.

Easy operation is important in a fast-paced printing environment, and the RL4 was designed with ease of use in mind. An LCD screen and four control buttons adorn the top of the printer, giving you status updates at a glance. It’s also way easier to decipher than three blinking lights. Paper rolls can be replaced with one hand, which has be nice if you’re hanging onto a mobile computer or driving a forklift.

Datamax-O’Neil is known for their heavy duty printers, and the duty is massive with the RL4. Hinges and peeler gears are made of metal, instead of cheap plastic, so repeated opening won’t bust it up, nor dropping it on concrete. They’ve also created a substructure within the RL4 to house the circuitry, so it can hold up to a lot of drops of 6-feet to concrete. It also operates in temperatures as low as 14 degrees F, so you can label frozen things if you’d like. And I just learned from wikipedia that most permanent and peelable adhesives have a service temperature limit of 14 degrees F. How convenient. The RL4 doesn’t have an IP rating, but you can buy a bag that will give the printer an IP54 seal.

Some of the applications Datamax-O’Neil covered in their webinars & brochures is on-demand or high value labeling. For batch labeling of large or bulky products, being able to be at the product itself before printing the label is a good way to eliminate potential mislabeling. And because it prints quickly, you wouldn’t see a huge time difference between printing a few hundred labels with the RL4 as opposed to batch printing the labels on an industrial printer. While industrial printers can be twice as fast, you’re eliminating a potential failure point by printing on-demand.

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