Zebra Printer Integration
Easy integration of Zebra/ZPL printers
Zebra printers are used in many industrial labelling applications. Zebra printers are supplied with printing information via the ZPL (Zebra Programming Language). ZPL is also implemented by many other labeling systems. With the OPC Router, these printers can easily be supplied with data from various systems. The connection is made via this plug-in and the data transfers are configured via the graphical configuration.
That’s how easy it is.
The transfer object of the Zebra plug-in contains ZPL commands for printing.
The configured template contains ZPL command sequences, and can also be enhanced with dynamic fields. During transfer the dynamic fields are filled with transferred values first. Once this has occurred, the now current ZPL command sequence is sent to the printer.
The Zebra plug-in does not have trigger functions of its own but uses the standard trigger functions the OPC Router offers.
The Zebra plug-in extracts the filled-in dynamic parameters from inside the comman sequence and makes it available for selection.
Zebra Labelprinter Plug-in Application Examples
Zebra printers and industry 4.0
If a Zebra printer is supplied with the print data for the current article at the start of production, you can experience Industry 4.0 live. The collected data for the job was retrieved in advance from the OPC Router of SAP and transferred to the central production database. After the start signal for the job was given from the MES, the OPC Router gave all PLCs parameters for production via OPC UA. In the chain of setup processes the Zebra printer is then automatically sent the assignment of the print fields and the layout to be used. The data all originate from the central production database and are obtained automatically. If all systems give their OK, the production system starts its operation, set up without errors. With one click in the MES, one person sets up an entire production chain. One of many practical examples for Industry 4.0.
Zebra printers as part of the IoT
By retrieving the status information of the Zebra printer it is possible to determine the status of the printer remotely. IoT (Internet of Things) is about mapping “things” virtually and reproducing their state as accurately as possible in order to make decisions about necessary actions. The status values that the OPC Router can retrieve from the Zebra printer provide information about ink level, paper shortage, label quantities, etc. If these data are transferred by the OPC Router to a central database or to an IoT-system like ThingWorx (see ThingWorx plug-in), the digital twin of the printer can be brought to life. In case of critical conditions (paper shortage etc.) intelligent measures can be initiated immediately. The Zebra printer thus becomes part of the IoT.
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