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Zebra S4M Barcode Printer- The Next Generation of the Stripe Series

Feb 10, 2008
Has Zebra answered the question of - What ever happened to the old Zebra Stripe Printers? The New S4M series barcode printers by Zebra provides the rugged metal case along with the side loading print head design that makes loading media a snap. But will it endure the long lasting tradition of the old Stripe?

This printer comes with either a 203 or 300 dpi print head and has various memory options. The nice thing about this printer is the price and its ability to get the job done in a semi industrial environment. Remember, this is an S series printer and is mainly used in manufacturing, logistics, transportation, ticketing, healthcare, postal offices, and government work environments. It matches up pretty close with the old Stripe.

There are now many other brands in the market including the Sato CL408 series that give this printer a run for the money. This is an affordable solution for many labeling requirements using thermal transfer barcode capabilities. This is a very reliable and durable barcode printer but it is limited in the number of options available in distribution.

The Datamax M class printer also fits into this category for light industrial use. The Datamax printers come with a variety of options and are very easy to calibrate when changing media often.

The S4M is available with many configurations and is made in the US. Parts are readily available and from our testing and opinion, this printer wins out with overall quality, performance and serviceability.

If you plan on running more than 100,000 labels a day though, you may want to move up to the XI series though. Our recommendation is to use this printer for volumes under that quantity. Zebra makes a wide variety of printers for any volume need. Zebra starts with the small desk top printers that have a small footprint and can fit on the side of a desk. These are for very small runs were the need is for just a couple labels at a time. The TLP2844 is one of the most common barcode printers in this category.

The next category of printers by Zebra is there light industrial, commercial printer. That is where the S4M printer fits. The next generation in the legacy Stripe Series, the S4M is an easy to use metal printer that offers an outstanding value for many applications. Other printers in this category are the ZM400 known for its metal enclosure and support for multi-language printing that make this the choice for versatile, high-speed printing in any type of business. The ZM600 combines ease of use with enhanced productivity and a rich set of options, in a 6-inch wide format. Last is the 105SL with a durable and reliable metal construction, for experienced users that need a rugged printer for common industrial applications. These barcode printers are made for light to medium use in industrial and commercial environments.

Another category is the heavy industrial printers. This is where the XI series fits. They are designed for continuous use operations. Within the XI series there are 4 main printers. Starting with the 110xilllPlus which is designed for high duty cycles in harsh environments, then the 140xilllPlus designed for 12dpi print speeds and mission critical reliability. The last 2 printers in this category are the 170xilllPlus is ideal for AIAG, ODETTE, and UCC/EAN-128 labeling on demand or in batches and then the 220xilllPlus which is meant for chemical-drum, banner-size, and other wide-label applications, with advanced printer management tools.

With all of this background, any business should be able to find the right Zebra barcode printer for the appropriate application. Making the correct choice for your business will make for much easier label printing down the road. All of the commercial and heavy duty printers listed above utilizes 3 inch cores and 8 inch outer diameter rolls of labels allowing for continuous printing with less media loads.
About the Author
John Barth founded Adazon Labels and Barcode Equipment www.adazonusa.com in 2003 and has a wealth of information in the barcode arena from over 20 years of experience in distribution. John's experience allows companies to cut costs on barcode labels, custom labels and total barcode solutions. Visit http://www.adazonusa.com to find out more.
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