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Global Printer Manufacturer Adopts RFID for Color Laser Printing

Manufacturers and logistics companies are using Lexmark's CS725R and CX725R printers to print and encode color labels with built-in UHF RFID functionality.
By Claire Swedberg

One of the greatest drivers for RFID growth among Lexmark's customers, Linton says, may be the trend toward retail and apparel tagging. Since retailers and brands are increasingly using the technology, manufacturers and logistics providers are finding an advantage in applying tags themselves and using them internally. "All our data is showing that RFID is going through the roof," he states. "The early excitement we've seen has been pretty amazing."

The RFID color laser printer provides an alternative to a traditional thermal RFID tag printer, Linton explains, since it employs laser printing on media up to 8.5 inches by 14 inches and can accommodate color tasks. The CS725R and CX725R each can encode an RFID tag built into a label, while laser-printing that same label.

The CS725R and CX725R models each can encode an RFID tag built into a label, while laser-printing that same label.
The printers are designed to be easy to use, Linton notes, without the need for any additional training. The CS725R is a printer-only model, while the CX725R is a multifunction print, copy, fax and scan device. Both include an eTask touchscreen, though that screen is another key differentiator between the two printers, as the CS725R has a 4.3-inch screen, while the CX725 comes with a screen measuring 7 inches. The latter printer also has a higher maximum memory (4098 megabytes, as compared to the CS725R's 3072 megabytes).

With optional paper drawers, each printer model has an input capacity of about 500 sheets of RFID media, depending on the thickness of paper and tags used. Additionally, capacity is provided as standard for up to 650 sheets of non-RFID paper through two additional trays. Labels or other media can measure from 4.1 inches by 5.8 inches in a tray to 8 inches by 14 inches. The CX725R enables scanning at speeds of up to 60 pages per minute, and copying at up to 50 copies per minute. The printers all come with a "Forms" SIM card that can be used to provide settings for printing and encoding projects across multiple printers.

Integration and installation can be provided by Lexmark's RFID integration partners, Linton says. However, the company's customers typically have some kind of RFID initiative when they approach Lexmark, and support their own integration process.

The manufacturer's suggested retail price for the CS725R is about $4,500, while the CX725 costs approximately $5,700. That's affordable enough, Linton suggests, that some customers opt to purchase the tag for traditional printing, with plans to adopt RFID programs in the future, to be encoded with the same devices.

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