As a supplier of Manual Price Computing equipment or as it is often called, Weigh Price Labeling (WPL) equipment, we often see people struggling with what type of equipment to purchase.
The intent of this article is not to say one is bad the other is good, it is to help you understand what each unit was designed for and what it can do for you.
While retail units are smaller and cost less, industrial units are larger and cost more, which one should you buy, that is the question?
The retail units are a compact unit that give you specific label with the product name, the weight, the price per pound and the total price printed on it.
The units normally have the scale built onto the base for easy moving.
These units are designed to meet the needs of a facility that changes product being weighed frequently, and they do a good job for that purpose.
These units can have different label formats stored in them and can hold a large number of Product Look Up (PLU) numbers. Hot keys can be assigned to a specific product which is also a nice feature.
The Retail units also have some limitations.
Normally, and there are exceptions to what is stated below, you have only one label size, a 2” X 3” label is the most common size.
- The label rolls can be no larger than 4 inches
- Print speed is 80mm (3.15 inches) per second
- The choice of barcodes is limited
- The display is small and harder to read
- RS 232 is the only means of communication
- If service is required, the unit needs to be sent in for repair leaving you without a unit unless you have a spare
All of this being said, these units do a good job for a specific purpose.
The industrial units were designed to perform all of the same functions as the retail unit’s, however they are a totally different unit.
These units are designed to be in industrial type conditions, being used continuously for extended periods of time.
The units are a little larger in size, the scale base is not always attached to the unit, minimizing the handling of product.
These units can also have different label formats and also store a large number of PLU’s as well as having the capability of using hot keys.
The Industrial units have some benefits the retail units do not have if you need them.
They can be ordered to use different width labels all the way to 6 inch’s and the capability to hold larger rolls of labels for extended runs of product. Print speeds up to 200mm (7.87 inches) per second are available, a larger choice of bar codes, with more communication interface options and larger keyboards and displays.
The Industrial unit are housed in a protective enclosure protecting them from the elements within the plant.
You also have more options available in the way of label formats, you have a number of different type fonts available as well as the capability to add an image to the label. The memory is larger in the Industrial units usually having 2 MB with the option to upgrade to 4 MB.
Service can be done in house on the Industrial units with a small amount of spare parts on hand. With the help of phone support you can identify which board needs replacing, replace it, and you are back up and running, some units offer a memory card connection on which you would save all of your unit setup information in case it has been altered or lost.
The cost of an industrial unit can be as much as 4-6 times more than a retail unit.
Sure, cost plays a roll in your decision, but, performance and reliability of the units, along with the fact that they were developed for two totally different purposes should help you make the decision as to which unit is for you!