Packaged and Open Frame Printers
There is often a question over what size a kiosk should be. In fact, as kiosks come in all shapes and sizes, it has to be said that this is ultimately dictated by the objectives of any particular project. In terms of the internal components of the kiosk - and in particular the kiosk printer - this was historically overlooked and the printer simply had to ‘fit into a hole’. Today, however, this situation has changed significantly, as kiosk manufacturers have been faced with an ever-widening range of printers to select from and as the needs of end users have become far more sophisticated and demanding.
Certain kiosk manufacturers are aligned to specific printer manufacturers, such as Star Micronics, and will specify a printer within the manufacturer’s range. Experience, however, has shown that the type of printer required is not always determined at the outset and this is where Star’s extensive range of both packaged and open frame kiosk printers are effectively meeting the needs of a number of kiosk manufacturers on a global scale.
Star printers are today used in a wide range of kiosks environments from in-store locations to external, unmanned applications. The requirements of the in-store kiosk are obviously very different to those operating in unmanned or externally located kiosks. For example, in the case of in-store kiosks, the paper roll can easily and regularly be changed and, as a result, requirements increasingly focus on the extra features the printer can offer. For these applications, therefore, a packaged printer is often the best selection.
A case in point is the TSP600 thermal receipt printer, selected for E-Top Up kiosks designed for Vodafone and for the PhotoExpress kiosk designed for the UK’s largest independent photographic retailer, Jessops. In both cases this printer was chosen for its long-term reliability, high speed (a 20 line receipt can be printed in just 4 seconds), two-colour output and ‘drop-in and print’ paper loading design, which provides an efficient means of issuing customers with receipts detailing completed transactions.A further key feature of the printer is its ‘second copy raster’ allowing each receipt to be automatically duplicated onto a secondary paper roll to be captured electronically for subsequent auditing, without the need for expensive software changes.
Another example that reflects how depth of range has become more important and how end-user needs have become far more sophisticated is the kiosk developed by Neoproducts for the photo kiosk market. This particular kiosk incorporates two printers - the TUP492 open frame printer from Star provides a personalised printed label for a conventional film, while the TSP700 thermal packaged printer from Star prints receipts at 180mm/second.
When it comes to external or unmanned applications, where it is more difficult to change paper rolls, Star has open frame printers that meet the specific needs of this type of application. For example, Avery Weigh-Tronix uses our TUP900 open frame printer. The company needed a printer that could withstand a particularly demanding environment and extreme weather conditions. Positioned at vehicle cab height in a driver operated terminal, the TUP900 was primarily selected due to its ability to accommodate a 600 metre paper roll.Printing 150mm per second, the TUP900 features easy paper loading using an auto loading mechanism, a slimline jam-free presenter, a full or partial receipt cutter and either parallel, RS232C serial, USB or Ethernet interfaces.
Within the airport environment Star printers are also proving to be the ideal solution. With customer service being a priority for the one million passengers at Stockholm’s Skavsta airport, the airport has recently implemented the Star Micronics' ground-breaking TUP992 printer in self-service kiosks. The service offers passengers convenient, fast and easy access to 'FlygbussarnaKombi' combination bus tickets, which provide an efficient connection between the airport and Stockholm City's local bus service. The airport chose Star Micronics as a result of its ability to provide a high-speed, cost efficient kiosk printing solution offering high quality performance and reliability.
"Customer service is our priority and Star Micronics' kiosk printing solution enables us to provide a fast and efficient service facilitating a smooth and effective transfer for passengers from the airport to the City", said Joakim Lindholm, Operations Manager, Skavsta airport.
These provide just some examples of where Star kiosk printers are currently being used and highlight the changing demands of both kiosk manufacturers and end-users. Today, many features, such as reliability and speed, are taken for granted. As such, the ability to offer a range of printers to meet the needs of different environments and types of kiosk is taking on ever greater importance. This is where Star Micronics leads the field in terms of its comprehensive range of at least ten different kiosk printer designs.
In fact, Star kiosk printers are probably the most used kiosk printers today. This situation, however, is compounded by Star covering around one third of the global marketplace. Vying for a project in India compared with a project in Germany requires different skills, an understanding of local market conditions and the ability to offer a printer that can meet, in certain cases, quite stringent requirements.
It goes without saying that a level of communication between the kiosk manufacturer and the printer manufacturer is fundamental. By effectively understanding the needs of the kiosk manufacturer, the printer manufacturer can provide a solution that precisely meets the needs of any particular kiosk project, regardless of the size of the kiosk or the application.