Computer Software for Steel Professionals

Structural Material Manager Adhesive Labels

Use our on-line order form to purchase labels directly through E.J.E. Industries.

 

Introduction. The following Structural Material Manager printouts can be directed to adhesive labels rather than being printed as reports:

  • Sorted List
  • Nested List
  • Master Shipper
  • Shipping Ticket

Structural Material Manager's labels serve as item-identification tags. They contain such information as piece mark, length, weight, project name, contract number, etc. The exact information varies depending on which type of label listed above is being printed.

 

Sorted Label Format. Just as is the case on the normal Sorted Report, items on the sorted labels are listed in order from large to small within their respective material types.

A separate label is generated for each item, and any one label is repeated as many times as necessary in order to represent the full quantity. So, if W 10 X 54 X 19'-3 1/4 has a quantity of (3), then (3) separate labels will be printed. The item weight that appears on each of these (3) labels will be the weight of just (1) W 10 X 54 X 19'-3 1/4 rather than the weight of all (3). This is to be expected since each item is a separate entity represented by its own label.

 

Nested Label Format. The Nested List can be printed as a set of adhesive labels. Such labels are meant to be used in conjunction with the Nested List that has been printed as a report; labels do not replace the report, but rather, they augment it. A common scenario would involve printing the Nested List as a report, reviewing its results, and then immediately printing a set of nested labels.

The idea behind using the Nested List as both a report and as a set of labels is that the report shows personnel how to cut the items, and the identification labels are then applied as the items are cut. Structural Material Manager thus prints the nested item labels in the exact order as the items appear on the Nested Report.

Suppose that a 40'-0 stock is specified for cutting (2) 10'-0 items and (1) 19'-0 item. Three labels would be printed that represent this cutting pattern: a label for the first 10'-0 item, a label for the second 10'-0 item and a label for the 19'-0 item. The point is that an item that has a quantity higher than (1), which is the 10'-0 item in this example, will have multiple labels printed. This is intuitive, as the cut items are individual entities that each need their own separate labels.

To elaborate on the above example, further suppose that the Nested Report specifies that the entire pattern is to be cut (5) times, i.e., that the Nested Report specifies that (5) 40'-0 stocks are each to cut (2) 10'-0 items and (1) 19'-0 item. The corresponding nested labels would then contain (10) labels for the 10'-0 items and (5) for the 19'-0 items. The system would print a label for one 10'-0 item, a label for another 10'-0 item and one for the 19'-0 item as in the original example. This 3-label sequence would then be repeated (4) more times since (5) identical stocks are to be cut.

If you only own one of the optional Nesting Modules, you'll not be able to print nested labels for the material types that would have been nested by the missing module. For example, if you own only the Length-Nesting Module, nested labels for Plates, Checkered Plates and Bar Grating will not be available since these types are nested by the Plate-Nesting Module. You may wish to print sorted labels for such items; see Chapter 7 for details.

 

Shipping Labels. By directing either a Master Shipper or a Shipping Ticket to adhesive labels rather than using the usual report format, you can generate item-identification tags. Such tags are very useful for shipping purposes as well as general production-control use.

Shipping labels differ from Sorted and Nested labels in that they represent only the main members of the job, i.e., the items that contain major piece marks. No labels are printed for the job's detail items.

The weight printed on a shipping label represents the weight of the entire fabricated assembly; it includes the weight of not only the main member itself, but all attached detail items as well.

As mentioned, Shipping Ticket output can be sent to either a normal report or to a set of adhesive labels. Suppose you specify a group of piece marks and quantities that are to be printed on a Shipping Ticket as a report, and you later wish to print a set of labels for those same items. Assuming that the original ticket was saved in the job's Production-Control history, you can simply pull up the original ticket for printing as a set of labels. There is thus no need to re-type the piece marks and quantities in order to generate labels if you have already printed a normal Shipping Ticket for those items!

Please note that you must own the optional Production-Control Module in order to generate shipping labels.

 

Required Label Printer: A dot-matrix printer is required in order to have Structural Material Manager print labels. By its very nature, the dot-matrix printer impacts the label's polyester face while printing, and this helps to provide a very durable image.

Many customers would like to use ink-jet or laser printers, but 8 ½" x 11" sheet-fed label stock that such units require would be prohibitively expensive. Also, the waterproof ink that would be required for ink-jet printers is a rare item; very few original equipment manufacturers (O.E.M.) produce waterproof ink for their printers, and waterproof inks produced by "aftermarket" companies have generally proven to be troublesome and even damaging to the printers. Laser printers don't produce an image that holds up well in the elements, and the high temperatures they generate during the printing process introduce problems with the special label adhesive.

As new inks and label materials appear in the marketplace, E.J.E. Industries will test them to determine whether ink-jet and/or laser printers can become viable options. For the present, though, the venerable dot-matrix printer is the unit of choice for producing labels with Structural Material Manager.

Most any dot-matrix printer will work properly for label printing. Many of our customers already have these units remaining from the days when these printers were more common.

If you need to purchase a new dot-matrix printer, they are available from Epson and other manufacturers. Dot-matrix printers have survived in the marketplace for the simple reason that they are impact printers, and impact is precisely what is required for when using multi-part "carbon" style forms. As the units became less popular, prices dropped substantially; now that they have become more or less specialty items, prices have again risen. If you do need to purchase a new dot-matrix printer for Structural Material Manager labels, try to obtain a 24-pin unit versus a 9-pin printer since more pins in the print-head equates to better text quality for a given print-speed. Spending extra money on a wide-carriage unit is not important since the labels don't even require the full width of a narrow-carriage printer. Thus, a 24-pin, narrow-carriage printer is probably the best choice in terms of balancing price and performance. The Epson LQ-590 is an example of one such unit. Other units will also work well, but the LQ-590 is mentioned specifically because it provides high-speed, high-quality printing in a package that usually retails for under $325.00.

Dot-matrix printers are not likely to be found as "in stock" items at your local office supply store or computer equipment dealer, but they are readily available via delivery. For instance, you can order brand new units directly through Epson (the manufacturer) at http://www.epson.com, and that site also sometimes offers discounted prices on factory-refurbished units. Provantage (http://www.provantage.com) also carries the Epson LQ-590; it can be found on Provantage’s site by searching for LQ-590 or by going straight to this link: http://www.provantage.com/epson-c11c558001~7EPSM015.htm

 

Indelible Ink: Indelible ink ribbons are suggested for use with Structural Material Manager labels. They contain ink that resists not only water but also the sun's ultraviolet rays. Such ribbons are required for printing steel labels on a dot-matrix printer if you intend for the printed images to last for any length of time in the elements.

Great Lakes Ribbon of Grand Rapids, Michigan can supply special ribbon cartridges using indelible ink for dot-matrix printers. They can be reached by phone at 800/776-7251 or 616/245-4333.

Printers using a large ribbon cartridge are recommended for this application since a large cartridge holds enough ribbon that replacement should not have to be performed too often. Many of the Epson printers do indeed use an elongated cartridge containing a generous supply of ribbon, and Great Lakes Ribbon can supply indelible ink cartridges for the Epson LQ-570 and LQ-590 models.

When a new dot-matrix printer must be purchased, E.J.E. Industries recommends the Epson LQ-590. However, it is worth mentioning that OkiData Microline printers are also popular dot-matrix units, and this is primarily due to their mechanical reliability. Many OkiData printers use a small ribbon cartridge commonly referred to as a “handbag” which - although it does not hold much ribbon - contains an ink-saturated sponge that re-inks the ribbon as it cycles through the cartridge. Great Lakes Ribbon can supply indelible ink ribbons for the OkiData Microline series of printers.

 

Availability of Ready-Made Labels. Adhesive item labels must, of course, be properly constructed in order to withstand the elements and to properly adhere to steel. E.J.E. Industries, Inc. has had polyester labels using special adhesives custom-manufactured for use with Structural Material Manager. Since we have these labels manufactured in enormous quantities, our customers benefit in being able to purchase ready-made products at reasonable prices. You can order these items directly from E.J.E. Industries, Inc.; visit our on-line order form to check current pricing and availability.

 

Label Covers. If a steel item bearing a label is to receive any sort of coating such as paint and/or primer, the label's printed text will obviously be covered. One method of dealing with this problem is to simply print (2) labels for each item, and apply the second one after the first has been rendered useless by the coating(s). A better solution is to simply cover the original label before any coatings are applied; the cover can later be removed to reveal the printed label beneath.

See our on-line order form for pricing information on label covers that are available directly through E.J.E. Industries. These disposable covers are manufactured with a special adhesive that allows them to be removed after paint/primer is applied. Due to the mild nature of this adhesive, the underlying label is not harmed by removing the cover as long as it is removed no more than 48 hours after being applied to the label.

Our disposable label covers are clear, so the label information beneath can be read until the coatings are actually applied.

 

Since the covers are made from a synthetic material (not paper-based), they will not absorb any of the coating material. This provides the ultimate in protection for the underlying label since none of the coating material can soak through the cover and be transferred to the label.

 

Rather than purchasing disposable label covers, some customers prefer to cut their own reusable covers from magnetic sheet stock. Such stock – typically vinyl - is used in the sign industry for making magnetic signs, and the resulting covers will of course stick to any steel items.

 

Hanging Labels. E.J.E. Industries' labels can, of course, be attached to items via the labels' adhesive backing. However, please note that these labels can also be hung from cable ties.

The ability of a label to be hung from a tie is due to the fact that a reinforced strip is added to the right edge of the label. A pre-drilled hole is provided in the reinforced area, and the cable tie is simply passed through the hole.

Hanging the label is advantageous when no area of the steel item should be covered during application of coatings. When an adhesive label is used, the area behind it is obviously unpainted if the label is applied before painting and/or priming. Hanging the label from a cable tie rather than applying it directly to the item eliminates this issue.

Of course, a label can only be hung if the steel item to which it is to be attached contains at least one hole to which a cable tie can be attached. Assuming that an item does have at least one hole so that the label can be hung, the backing is left over the label's adhesive since no adhesive is needed. However, if the item has no holes, the backing is removed so that the adhesive label can be applied in the usual manner.

Another benefit of hanging labels during the application of coatings is that the disposable label covers are better able to stay in place. Since the disposable covers deliberately employ a relatively mild adhesive to facilitate later removal, spray gun pressures can sometimes lift the edges of the covers if the underlying adhesive label is attached directly to the metal. If the label is hung from a tie, its disposable cover is much less likely to encounter direct spray pressures.

Wire ties are not recommended since the metal will easily cut even the reinforced area of a label. Plastic cable ties with keying teeth are suggested instead. E.J.E. Industries does not sell these cable ties since they are commonly available in our customers' local areas.

Let’s finish this section by summarizing the manner in which the labels and optional paint covers can be used. After the labels are printed, they are covered with E.J.E. Industries’ disposable paint covers. The labels are then hung from the steel items with plastic cable ties, and the items can then be primed/painted in their entirety (no areas will be inadvertently covered by the labels). The paint covers can then be removed from the labels and discarded.

Some customers choose to simply leave the labels hanging from the cable ties after the paint covers have been removed. Other customers may prefer to then remove the backings from the adhesive labels to apply them to the steel; this is acceptable as long as the coatings have had time to fully dry, as uncured paint/primer will adversely affect the label adhesive.

 

Colored Labels. The labels supplied by E.J.E. Industries offer not only the advantage of being able to be hung from cable ties, but they also are available in various colors: blue, green, yellow, tangerine and white. By using a different label color for each job, shop personnel can tell at a glance to which job an item belongs.

Structural Material Manager has a sequencing feature that is used whenever a job is broken into multiple zones or phases. Just as different color labels can be used for each job, some users may also choose to use label colors to differentiate items of different sequences within the same job.

 

Published Label Specifications. Although E.J.E. Industries can supply the required labels, we feel strongly that you as the customer should have the ability to obtain compatible labels from other sources as well. Accordingly, we supply the necessary specifications for having labels produced that will work with Structural Material Manager. The specifications can be viewed by clicking here.