What is Your Ideal Label Reprint Type? ‘True Reprint’ or ‘Re-request’ Label?

Summary

Several cases exist that call for label reprints. The concept sounds simple (i.e. print a label previously printed again). Not all reprints require the same type of label however. Many label-printing software brands offer a "reprint" feature. But, they do not all behave the same. By knowing your ideal reprint type, you can determine if and how your software can support your reprint needs.

'True Reprint' vs. 'Re-request' Labels

True Reprint Labels

A 'true reprint' produces an EXACT copy of a previously printed label. This is what most people imagine when they think of a reprint. A true reprint creates a label identical to the original.

In a true reprint, the label software renders a label to print exactly as it printed originally. Note that I said 'renders'. Many assume the software stores the original print as an image. In theory, the reprint just reuses the same label image. Most label software apps, however, do not store label images.

The original print job consisted of a set of instructions. The software sends these commands in printer code language. The printer code dictates to the printer exactly how to print the label on that particular printer. To make an identical copy of the label, the printer needs to resend an identical set of instructions to the printer.

What if that printer encounters a failure? Further, what if the printer is replaced by a different model? Or worse, the user replaces the printer with a printer made by a different company? You cannot send the 'identical printer code' to that different printer. It won't work.

In order to generate a true reprint with a different printer, the software needs to create new printer code. The new code created must generate a label that exactly matches the original. Thus the print drivers, used by the label software to create the code, must work precisely for your true label reprint to work.

Re-request Labels

A true reprint recreates the printer code to match the original label for a given printer. Knowing this opens new possibilities for how we reprint a label. A re-request label leverages these new opportunities.

A re-request label occurs when we configure our software to rerun the print job with changes or updates. A 'Print Date: xx/xx/xx' field illustrates a common example. A true reprint would reprint the exact same date again. Thus if the original label job printed "Print Date: 03/23/18", the true reprint will print "Print Date: 03/23/18" again. This happens regardless if it is printed today, tomorrow, or 20 years from now.

If we configure the re-request label to look to the computer clock at print time, the re-request label should read "Print Date: 03/24/18" on the next day.  20 years from now, it should read "Print Date: 03/24/38". Thus the 'Print Date' will always faithfully represent the print date of the label.

Situation #1 - Labels Lost or Damaged

A problem during the original print run often triggers the need for reprints. Perhaps labels were missfed or 'drifted'. This results in mangled labels, labels missing data, or labels that don't meet quality standards. If each labels contains unique data (e.g. serialized, time stamped, etc.), the user may face challenges when recreating them. Common examples include serial numbers assigned by another system (ERP, MRP, etc.) or created by the label software. In regulated industries, the label system may NOT permit the  user to override the assigned numbers. Not allowing the user to enter (or reenter) the serial number helps prevent creation of duplicate labels.

The ability to make a 'true reprint' resolves this problem. The software records all the variable data for each label inside the system database. The software then allows the user to browse the history, select the desired label, and launch a reprint. At print time, the software uses these database variables to recreate an identical label. When the original label gets damaged and a reprint is needed ASAP, we usually recommend a true reprint.

Situation #2 - Labels on Repaired Products

Some manufacturers refurbish and repair their products. As part of the repair service, they typically replace the label. Products exposed to harsh environments may require it. Often, the original label gets worn down and/or damaged. The client needs reprint using the original label version and data BUT with a current 'Print Date' or 'Refurb Date'.

As explained above, a true reprint recreates the label with ALL variable fields identical to the original. It will not allow for an updated print date or refrub date. Thus the label software must allow for a re-request label to allow the use of a current date. If configured as a 're-request' label, the label software will correctly update this field on each reprint request.

Reprint Types by Major Software Brand

Efficient Label Ideas

Pharmaceutical Manufacturer Controls Label Reprints by Adding Date Printed to Label

Conclusion

The type of reprint you need depends on the situation. This will dictate what software to use and how to configure it. If you need help in this process, please contact us and we would be glad to assist!

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