The printer, named the SLPA8000r, uses labels that include the RFID circuitry and the necessary antenna integrated into the actual label material.
Once created, the machine then sticks the finished label to the package. The new printer is also available without the RFID capability, but with the ability to be field upgraded.
"What we do is to perform three functions," said Printronix Director of Product Marketing Brad Jarvis.
"It prints, encodes RFID chips, and applies the label to the box," he said. "The RFID chip silicon and the antenna are embedded into the label substrate. Its on the adhesive liner within the roll on one continuous liner form."
Jarvis described the process: "First it goes through an encoding mechanism which verifies that the chip is good, and encodes the chip with an EPC [electronic product code] number. It then prints the bar code and human readable number as well."
Once thats done, the label is peeled from the liner and applied to the package, Jarvis said.
"It also has the capability of including a privacy logo. Most retail customers require a privacy notification that theres an electronic product code," he said.
According to Jarvis, the SLPA8000r can handle a wide variety of RFID encoding methods and standards, including the current Class 1 Gen 2 global standard.
He said it will also meet all other currently used standards in use in the United States, Europe and Asia.
"Most of these devices are networked," Jarvis said. "They can be either wired or wireless. We support 802.11b. We also support various print protocols and bar-code languages," he added.
In addition to bar code and printer languages, the printer meets broader standards. "We also can digest pure XML," Jarvis said. "Someone can create an XML label template thats resident on the device and then just send it the variable data. Its Oracle- and SAP-certified."
Jarvis said that the company has a number of customers that use the printer for creating shipments destined for Wal-Mart, including Wells Dairy, makers of Blue Bunny Ice Cream.
Printronix also supplies the printer to Hampton Products, makers of Brinks security equipment.
Pricing on the printer starts at $21,500 for a base unit. "But every install is different," Jarvis said.