Sato's CL4NX industrial label printer, which was unveiled at Modex 2014, will likely live up to its billing as a game-changer. Rather than make incremental changes to an existing product, Sato designed the sleek thermal printer as a completely new product based on feedback from customers, technicians, integrators, and its own worldwide service organization, according to Kaz Matsuyama, president and CEO of Sato Holdings Corp.
The printer's features represent a veritable wish list of improvements that make the unit easy to use, maintain, and deploy anywhere in the world. Among them: a full-color LED indicator light and LCD screen that are bright blue when in operation and bright red when the printer needs service—both clearly visible from across a busy warehouse or factory floor. The print head, platen roller, and other parts can be replaced without tools, and a 60-degree-wide print-head opening—the widest in its class—allows for fast and easy maintenance. Operator keys, a power button, and a USB port are on the front of the machine for instant access.
Several innovations make the printer intuitive and universal for use anywhere around the world, one of the primary objectives of the new design, Matsuyama said in an interview. The familiar-looking operator keys are similar in design to those used on consumer electronics, and the icons that appear on the screen were tested for easy recognition and comprehension worldwide. The printer comes with highly readable displays in 30 languages as well as 47 print languages, and switching languages is as simple as selecting from a drop-down menu. In addition, the printer comes with a suite of instructional videos with pause and replay capability that demonstrate how to set up the unit, replace parts, and troubleshoot. Standard emulations on the machine automatically detect other manufacturers' print languages and enable "plug-and-play" operation when switching from Sato legacy models or another brand of printer.