Label Printing Strategies

An Oracle White Paper December 2006

........................................................................................................................................................................ 5 CONCLUSION ................................................... 8 Datamax................................. 7 Optio......................................................................................... 8 Toshiba TEC............................................................................................................................ 8 Printronix...................................................... 1 INTRODUCTION ............................................................................... 2 XML DIRECT PRINTER........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 6 APPENDIX A – LIST OF LABEL PRINTING PARTNERS ................................................................... 7 Intermec......................... 7 Unibar ................................................................................................................................... 7 Loftware................................................................ 4 ii ............. 8 Figure 1 – Asynchronous label printing . 8 Cognitive Solutions...................................................................................... 5 PARTNERS.................................................... 1 PRINT SERVER SOLUTIONS ....................................................................... 7 Zebra............................................................................................................................ 4 XML PUBLISHER...................................................................................................... 8 SATO.............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 7 NiceLabel........................................................ 3 Figure 2 – Synchronous label printing.................................................................................................................................................................................................Label Printing Strategies EXECUTIVE SUMMARY............................................................

you will always need the actual label printers. Although the print servers introduce an additional partner and added implementation cost. printer models in current use. add an intermediary layer between Oracle Applications and actual label printer. on other hand. work order completion. To reiterate. real time latency. each additional layer between Oracle WMS and the printer gives you additional flexibility. on whether the marriage of the XML to that format occurs within the printer firmware with no other middleware. This white paper discusses the advantages of each of the partners. they also provides significant value in the areas of print management. 2. The print servers. label configuration and manipulation. or in a separate print server application. Label Printing Page 1 . and print server – to provide the full end-to-end solution. volume of labels to be printed. These solutions differ. To print the Oracle generated label XML. or license plate generation. and each of these partners have different strengths. as well as a label design application (LDA) to define the graphical layout of the variable and boilerplate data. as well as the inherent pros and cons of each of the two overarching architectures. however. error management and Internet printing. Oracle works with two types of label printing partners – directto-printer. INTRODUCTION Oracle WMS produces label XML files as part of a transaction or event. while also generally also meaning additional complexity and cost. network infrastructure et al. Oracle supports two types of label printing configurations: 1. Printing using a third party label software and a print server Printing using XML enabled Direct Label Printers. such as a purchase order receipt. pick confirmation.Label Printing Strategies EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Oracle WMS and MSCA have robust label printing capabilities built into the product to easily produce compliance labels at any point in the business process and with any data. The printing strategy selection depends on several factors – ROI. Direct-to-print label printers that natively understand Oracle’s XML allow you to directly print the Oracle generated label XML without any middleware or print server. need for compliance labeling.

where the Oracle XML forms just one such source. As the footprint of the solution and the partners capabilities – as well as your requirements – evolve. the LDA and print server come same the vendor. each of the Direct-to-Printer partners uses different LDAs that produce different pre-compiled output that may need to be loaded to the printers in different ways and using different tools. Additionally. a subsequent release of Oracle may include “customizable label fields” or standardized printer support. and furthermore. the advanced queuing / print job management capabilities make this a preferred option when more than two or three Label Printing Page 2 . third party label printing software. The label printer can be from any vendor supported by the print server. such as to pull in additional data elements. and also is often simpler to maintain when the label formats change frequently. comes with necessary printer drivers and the printer parameters associated with them. The print server manages the print queue. split an individual label request into multiple labels. Another use of these extended capabilities from the print server partners is to compensate for the fact that Oracle MSCA lacks an inbuilt rules engine like Oracle WMS to determine the label to be printed. PRINT SERVER SOLUTIONS This strategy requires you to have a configuration of Oracle WMS. The LDA allows you to define the different label formats that need to be printed. executing additional logic or ODBC calls as required. However. while a subsequent release of firmware from an XML Direct partner may include capabilities of the printer to directly make an ODBC call to pull in additional data. This strategy is recommended when you have a high volume of labels to print from each printer. Typically. Finally. For instance. print server and a network of printers.It is worthwhile to note that with each subsequent release of Oracle. some label printing software help you to configure rules to determine the label to be printed and manipulation of the label. The LDA or related application sometimes enables you to configure the label with the content being derived from many sources. the label printer actually prints the label. the lines between these two approaches blur in their current capabilities. as well as manage the library of formats for an enterprise printing solution. as well with continuous improvements made by our partners. as only some of the printers in your facility may be able to support XML directly. or control the destination printer beyond Oracle’s basic rules. while the print server partners typically add additional advanced capabilities. Many of the third party label software will allow you to custom program a label in these – and other – ways. This strategy is also recommended when you have printers from multiple manufacturers in a single site that all need to print a single format. be sure to evaluate the latest offering from each partner. A print server partner is usually recommended when the Oracle XML needs to be manipulated beyond the capabilities of standard Oracle functionality prior to printing. Third party label print software will use Oracle XML as the primary data sources for the label fields.

Figure 1 – Asynchronous label printing Disadvantages of asynchronous printing include latency. the integration is via an API implemented by the third party application that replaces an empty stub provided by Oracle. In asynchronous mode. Print Server / Other tool monitors the specified directory and picks up the XML Print server / Other tool modifies the XML Print server maps the XML to the label format and generates print stream in printers proprietary language Optional Printer prints the label. If supported by the partner. While the print server partners may require an additional investment in software licenses and implementation costs. Oracle WMS generates a label XML and sends it directly to the partner via one of two synchronous methods. possible security issues to FTP files across servers if print server running on different platform. To set this up. Third party software processes this XML and prints the XML. Oracle WMS generate a label XML and drops it in a specified directory. you can leverage one of two synchronous printing modes. You need to set the profiles . your total cost of ownership will actually be lower than trying to use the simpler architecture of the Direct-to-XML printers With third party software you have two choices of integration with Oracle WMS – asynchronous mode and synchronous mode. you need to set the profiles . Oracle WMS places the XML file in a specified Directory. Label Printing Page 3 .‘WMS Label Print Mode’ to ‘Asynchronous’ and define ‘WMS Label output directory’ and ‘WMS Label File Prefix’. In the first method. as there is a clear external record of the label request. Asynchronous mode of architecture is simplest to set up and debug. Third party label software monitors this directory for new XML files and processes them.‘WMS Label Print Mode’ to ‘Synchronous – Generic’. when you have characteristics such as those above that require the features of these partners.users need to concurrently print large batches of labels from a single printer. In Synchronous mode of integration. and no possibility for response.

when more than three or four users may trigger simultaneous requests to print to a single printer. the buffers may overflow. also simultaneously. so that you may pay a premium for this capability. For instance. these volume and concurrency considerations should be included in evaluating the XML Direct printers against each other. as supported by ‘Synchronous Generic’. and you can easily change to a print server as your requirements grow. The XML Direct strategy calls for pre-loading the printers with label formats. or for large jobs. On the other hand. so the same printer can be used in multiple ways. ‘Synchronous TCP/IP’ is easier to implement than ‘Synchronous Generic’ as there are no packages to load to the database. and typically.Oracle WMS calls Synchronous API and pushes the XML to print server / other tool Print server / Other tool modifies the XML Print server maps the XML to the label format and generates print stream in printers proprietary language Optional Print Server prints the label at the specified printer Figure 2 – Synchronous label printing Optionally. the number of available connections on some of the printers may be exceeded. and every time you add a format. Since there is no centralized print server. you need to load the required label formats. typically without any change in configuration. The volume of printing and the number of users that would need to print concurrently to a single printer is also a factor. XML DIRECT PRINTER In this strategy Oracle WMS sends the XML directly to the printer. whereby they can parse both XML from Oracle and the print stream in their proprietary language. and against a print server partner. all XML Direct printers to date are capable of running both modes. While Oracle provides multiple mechanisms for reprinting so that the jobs are not lost. XML-enabled printers are only supported on their flagship printer models. The label printer is capable of receiving XML that meets Oracle’s label specification and merges with pre-defined label formats to print a label. but it does not yet provide a mechanism for a print server response. you can set ‘WMS Label Print Mode’ to ‘Synchronous – TCP/IP’ and define the IP address and port on which the print server is listening. This strategy can be easily deployed when the Oracle XML does not need any manipulation to produce the label desired. every time you add a printer to the network. you need Label Printing Page 4 . With some XML Direct partners.

you cannot deploy Oracle XML publisher as a printing solution because it does not have printer drivers for industrial label printers like Zebra. you need to set ‘WMS Label Print Mode’ to ‘Synchronous – TCP/IP’ and define the TCP/IP IP address and port number for each printer in the network. However. Some partners have printer management software to aid in this decentralized approach. Oracle WMS passes XML request through a TCP / IP socket connection to Printer Printer merges the data in the XML into pre-defined label format and prints the label Figure 3 – XML Direct Printer XML direct printers work with both Synchronous TCP/IP and Synchronous Generic mode of printing. Following table lists the possible integration modes possible for each vendor: Asynchronous Synchronous Generic TCP / IP Yes Yes No No No Yes Loftware Optio Print Server NiceLabel Yes Yes Yes Partners Unibar Zebra Intermec XML Cognitive Solutions Direct Datamax Printers Toshiba TEC Printronix Sato Yes No No No No No Yes No No Yes No No No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Label Printing Page 5 . Note that as Oracle has moved to a self-certification approach for new label printing partners.to add it to all the printers. XML PUBLISHER Using XML publisher. you can configure your label layout in MS Word and map the data content to Oracle XML.. Intermec etc. To enable to print in TCP/IP mode. PARTNERS Note: Please verify content presented in this section with the partner before you start your implementation. You can print these labels on normal printers. please confirm with the partner that they have completed the self-certification process. it is possible for additional solutions to work with Oracle without necessarily being listed here.

and with each update from our printing partners.Label Design Application. the lines between these two approaches are blurring. 4420e…) Advantage LX I-4308. The list of printer models in the following table may not be up-to-date. W-6208 ThermaLine Printers (T5206 / T5306. while customers that have no need for XML manipulation prior to printing typically opt for XML Direct printers. Cognitive In Control Loftware Connector. DMX ST-3210..ComIntegrate NiceLabel Pro BARZ_OUT PRO ZebraNet Bridge. Loftware Connector. BARZ_OUT PRO Printronix None NiceLabel Pro. However. and should spend the time evaluating which approach is best for your requirements.g. I4406.Following is the list of label printing partners and their offerings. Loftware Design 32 Toshiba TEC Sato None None Toshiba TEC Printers B-SX4T. Label Loaders etc. B-SX5T… PrintSystem for XML Sato Thermal Printers (CL412e. Check with vendor for more information) Various printer manufacturers & models Print Server Loftware Print Server Loftware Print Server Optio Print Manager NiceLabel Pro BARCODE 2000 XML None None None None Optio NiceLabel Unibar Zebra Intermec Various printer manufacturers & models Various printer manufacturers & models Various printer manufacturers & models Zebra Xi III EasyCoder (3400 D. CL612e…) Label Gallery Plus. with each release from Oracle. I-4208.. Configurations Printer (not a complete list of all printer models. Label Printing Page 6 . Please check with vendor for recent information. Loftware Design 32 Optio e. Label Loader utility NiceLabel. ) Loftware Connector.. Loftware Design 32. BAR-ONE LabelShop Pro. WPC Plus See Appendix A for the capabilities of each partner. Many customers opt to use a print server partner if you have to customize the label or if you prefer to centrally manage your entire label formats. I-4212.) Vendors Cognitive Solutions XML Direct Printers DataMax Other Tools ( e. CONCLUSION You need to carefully evaluate your label printing needs before zeroing in a configuration.

as well as manipulate the label request from Oracle in a variety of complex ways. NiceLabel NiceLabel Pro is a full-featured labeling software designed for professional label design and printing in a low cost package. With Loftware Connector. Zebra You can deploy Zebra thermal printers for printing all your labels. With NiceLabel Pro you can directly connect to Oracle WMS in ‘Synchronous TCP/IP’ mode to print labels in real time. note that Optio only supports the asynchronous integration mode. though typically all label printer manufacturers have Windows printer drivers available. regardless of the number or type of printers being used. enhances it into formats needed by various recipients. You can configure a label like any other document in your enterprise in Optio e. You can print the labels only on those printers which use Windows printer drivers. The improved connectivity centralizes label printing operations across the enterprise. Zebra Technologies has embedded an XML parser in its XML-enabled XiIIIPlus printers. Currently. BARCODE 2000 XML comes with a native XML interface that can be used for to design bar code labels. and delivers it electronically and via print. Unibar Unibar’s BARCODE 2000 XML offers streamlined system architecture of Oracle WMS label XML printing in a very low cost package. ZebraNet Bridge simplifies Label Printing Page 7 . you can add new data elements to their labels and connect to the Loftware Print Server. Optio is a good candidate if you want to lower the total cost of handling and printing both documents and labels from Oracle e-Business Suite. so that the printer without additional middleware or server hardware natively understands the output from Oracle WMS and MSCA. However.APPENDIX A – LIST OF LABEL PRINTING PARTNERS Loftware Loftware Connector is a Java based tool that provides direct connectivity between Oracle WMS and the Loftware Print Server.ComIntegrate product captures Oracle information such as documents and reports. Optio Optio e. or their geographical location around the world. It can be viewed as a print server without any queue management and error handling mechanism. BARCODE 2000 XML can optionally reside on the same machine that hosts Oracle e-Business Suite and can print a label on any printer that communicates with the host.ComIntegrate.

However. Intermec You can deploy Intermec printers for printing labels with any of the configurations suggested in this paper. However. a label field is compulsory and the label XML has a NULL value. DataMax partners with Loftware. Intermec has yet to come out with a XML enabled direct print printer. you need to have knowledge of Macro Command Language (MCL) to process the incoming label XML and map it to the label formats stored in the printer memory. SATO You can directly print your labels using CL408e. Datamax You can print labels directly with I-Class and W-Class printers from DataMax. You can also optionally install Label Gallery Plus to design labels. Intermec has a ‘Label Loader Utility’. Label Printing Page 8 . TEC. For example. Toshiba TEC You can deploy Toshiba TEC printers for printing all your labels.managing a distributed network of printers by allowing you to easily publish a new format to all or some printers at once. then ODV will prevent the printer from printing the label and returns an error. you need to have knowledge of Cognitive Programming language (CPL) to filter the incoming data and map it the label file stored in the memory of the printer. For label design and print server. an easy-to-use wizard that guides you through loading the formats to the printers and then testing the format with a generic XML file. CL412E. CL608e and CL612e range of printers. Cognitive Solutions You can print labels directly with Advantage LX range of printers. Printronix Printronix offers direct thermal industrial label printer with its T5000r range of printers. You can use Nicelabel for designing your label formats. You can optionally install ‘Online Data Validation’ (ODV) to validate your compliance labels. Intermec or SATO. You can optionally install Web Based Printer Control Server (WPC Server) to control your printers and load labels into the network of SATO printers. At the time of publishing this paper. However Toshiba TEC printers are XML-Direct printers so that no additional middleware or server hardware is needed for labe printing from Oracle WMS and MSCA. It has a pre-installed interpreter either from Zebra.

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A. CA 94065 U. Copyright © 2006 Oracle Corporation All rights reserved. Worldwide Inquiries: Phone: +1.7200 www.S. Label .7000 Fax: +1.506.650. All other product and service names mentioned may be trademarks of their respective owners.650. Oracle is a registered trademark of Oracle Corporation.oracle.com Oracle Corporation provides the software that powers the Internet.1 Oracle Corporation World Headquarters 500 Oracle Parkway Redwood Shores. Various product and service names referenced herein may be trademarks of Oracle Corporation.Label Printing Strategies: An Oracle White Paper December 2006 Author: Aditya Agarkar Note number: 414368.506.