Zebra launches smart printer based on RFID technology

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New products released in parts of the world in the immediate month are designed to make badge printing easier and require relatively small footprints. Schools, exhibition planning, office complexes and other organizations are using Zebra’s new generation of smart card printers designed to print and encode cards with high frequency (HF) or low frequency (LF) radio frequency. The new printer, called the ZC300 and ZC350, can be operated using the company’s next-generation software (a companion product), CardStudio 2.0.

New devices have been used to print employee badges, student identities, access control cards, membership cards, events or seasonal passes. Annika Matas, senior product manager at Zebra, said the ZC300 series (ZC300 and ZC350 models) are equipped with the option of a built-in RFID encoder, allowing users to create HF 13.56 MHz cards. Another new printer, the ZC100, is a low-cost starter version that does not support RFID. In addition, the printer can print LF cards, commonly referred to as proximity cards, which are pre-coded.

Regarding the latest generation of CardStudio software, Matas said, “Helps to design our card-printing to another simple level,” for example, allowing a two-step process where a user can design and print on a card, in CardStudio software, The other can access the data and print the business card. The company explained that the ZC300 series printers use RFID encoders designed to simplify the printing process and create RFID-enabled badges on demand or in bulk.

The school badge is one of the applications for this new type of printer. “Student identification has always been a very important trend,” Ramaprasad said. Many schools receive state funding based on their daily attendance, and collecting attendance data has traditionally been a time-consuming and error-prone manual process. The school can automatically obtain this data using the ZC300 printer and the corresponding application software.

First, the school needs to register each freshman, enter their name and other identifying information, and then take a picture with his or her own camera or the camera provided by the zebra. Image and identification data can be stored on a cloud-based server or captured by CardStudio-based software. In both cases, the badge can be printed with the student’s photo and related information. This can be done by registering each new student or by batch before the start of the course. The card feeder is automatically adjusted to the thickness of the printed card. The school can then install an RFID reader at the entrance to the school or classroom to register each student’s attendance.

“What we offer today,” Matas said, “is a solution platform (including printers and CardStudio 2.0 software) that is easy to deploy, easy to operate and maintain.” Although the ZC350 is already available in North America and EMEA, the ZC300 version also has RFID. The coding function is expected to be available in Latin America and Asia Pacific later this year.

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