office space captures our hatred for bad printers

Is your printer a brat?

Is your printer really a brat?

According to CollegeHumor, it might be:

In the day and age of smartphones that can order you a pizza, feed your dog, and lock your front door with the push of a button, it’s almost criminal that the humble printer can bring everything to a screeching halt. One of the many reasons why the cult-classic movie Office Space has retained a devoted fanbase is because of the painfully relateable frustrations of working in a corporate monolith.

office space captures our hatred for bad printersThe absolute pinnacle of the film is, of course, the famous printer scene. There’s something delightfully cathartic about watching the three main characters destroy the printer that’s tormented them for so long. Don’t lie, everytime that smug “out of ink” or “paper jammed” notification flashes on the screen, you’ve thought about dragging that printer out back and teaching it a little respect.

But before you pull the plug on your recalcitrant machine, consider whether you’re asking too much of your poor printer. While a lot of our technology must be as versatile as possible, printers are typically highly specialized, designed to perform under certain working conditions. If those conditions aren’t met, your printer is going to rebel. Are you guilty of sabotaging your hardware? Keeping reading to see whether you follow the best practices for keeping your printer happy:

KNOW WHAT YOU’LL BE PRINTING

When purchasing a printer, the first thing you need to ask is obviously “what application am I using this for?” Inkjet printers are best for frequent-use, brightly colored, and small-batch jobs, and are a lot less expensive than their toner counterparts. But if you end up not using your printer often enough, the ink could dry up or be sucked dry by the jet cleaning cycle and the print head’s tiny nozzles can clog, which means your labels will come out spotty. If you need your printer to be ready on-demand, laser printers are a far better choice.

By using a powder-based toner instead of an ink, a laser printer melts the toner onto the page, meaning you can print at a moment’s notice even after leaving your machine idle for long periods of time. Laser printers will usually deliver a crisper, longer-lasting mark, and is best for black-and-white documents that need to be printed quickly and last through strenuous activities like shipping or production.

CHOOSE THE CORRECT MEDIA

Printers don’t run on a one-size-fits-all mentality. Each type of hardware will need a specific label or paper thickness, base material, and coating to avoid media jams. Although most printers have settings options to accommodate a few different sizes and paper types, no printer can do it all. This is partially due to how the media is fed through the machine. Tractor-feed printers such as the Epson C831 utilize two wheels to grab and pull paper by holes on either side of the page. To function, these printers can only use this special paper, and are best-suited for heavy labels that require pinpoint placement accuracy. The more commonly used friction feed printers like the Epson C3500 have plastic or rubber rollers to squeeze sheets of paper and roll them through the ink like an assembly line. Obviously, these types of printers can handle a greater variety of media types, but are better for smaller and lighter labels.

CONSIDER WHERE YOU’LL BE USING YOUR PRINTER

Just like you need to know what you’ll be printing, it’s just as important to know where. Depending on your work environment, you could actually be setting yourself up for failure if you purchase the wrong type of machine. For example, a shop or factory that creates a lot of dust shouldn’t use a free-standing ink-jet printer, because the ink will dry incorrectly and the delicate machinery will jam. Laser printers can’t be forced into tight or poorly-ventilated, overly-heated areas, as they need plenty of air to cool their engines. And while thermal transfer barcode printers are far more resistant to damage as they are built specifically for industrial applications, they too can be undone by being forced to function in a too-hot, too-cold, or too-dusty workspace. Incomplete or blurry labels and broken printheads are a common compliant from customers who don’t take steps to shield their hardware from the byproducts of their production process. If you need your printer of choice to operate in a challenging location, it’s best to store them in a clean and separate area, or house them inside a protective enclosure which can be custom-built with fans, heaters, or water-tight, drop-resistant plastics.

KNOW WHEN IT’S TIME TO CALL IN AN EXPERT

If you’ve provided all the recommended TLC above and your printer is still misbehaving, it’s possible your printer really is a brat and could use some discipline. Paragon’s seasoned technicians can repair your printers and get your operations back on track. Visit our hardware repair page or send us a message to learn how we can help.

Bri Ziganti researches efficiency issues and reports on new technologies.  Call 800.211.0768 to speak directly with our sales team to see how Paragon can help your business implement a reliable and cost-effective printing solution or provide repair services.
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the internet of things

The Internet of Things

What is it? Where is it Used? How Can it Benefit Me?

the internet of things

Data taken from the 2014 Forrester study by Zebra Technologies

The Internet of Things was a term coined in 2014 to describe an innovative movement of technology that sought to change the very way our hardware, software and society as a whole functions. Predicated by RFID connectivity, the Internet of Things would be able to identify, operate, and manage objects tagged with wireless mobile computing systems digitally and remotely, increasing efficiency and ease-of-use.

The concept of integrated network devices reaches as far back as 1982, when a Coca-Cola vending machine at the Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania became the first vending machine connected to the internet in order to report stock levels and whether the refrigerator was functioning properly. Device-to-device (D2D) communication, which supports direct communication between nearby mobiles, was implemented in 1999.

Today, the Internet of Things is touted as the next stage of the information revolution because it can be used in nearly any field, industry, or application. Instinctive data-capture, effortless inventory-checks, environmental sensing, user monitoring- these are just a few of the many benefits of device automation. Paragon Data Systems has created several comprehensive systems that rely on D2D and wireless communication to improve your business operations. Our LabeLink, Traceability, and RFID Solutions are just a few of the many ways we can customize software and hardware computing to a specific company’s needs.

If you would like to learn more about the Internet of Things and how Paragon can help you achieve communication automation, give us a call at 800.211.0768 or send us an email.

Bri Ziganti researches compliance and efficiency issues and reports on new technologies.  Call 800.211.0768 to speak directly with our sales team to see how Paragon can help your business implement a reliable and cost-effective solution. Our graphic of the Internet of Things was created using data from the 2014 Forrester Study by Paragon’s partner, Zebra Technologies.
Continue the discussion on the Internet of Things at Paragon’s Facebook or Twitter page.
patient medication and identification tracking

Optimize Efficiency & Reduce Risks with Patient Identification & Tracking Solutions

Today’s hospitals rely on more than the hard work and determination of dedicated professionals to treat their patients: they require innovative hardware and software systems to save money, increase efficiency, and decrease the risks of human error.  When a medical facility needs an automated solution for milk bank inventory tracking, pharmaceutical distribution control, or even a quick and coordinated method for patient identification, they can comfortably turn to barcoding technologies.  However, even the most tightly controlled machines aren’t infallible!  To safeguard against any possible mistakes, reliable systems need an advanced built-in failsafe. Ensuring accuracy is especially important when patient tracking is involved.

Paragon Data Systems recognized the need for secure medical applications more than 15 years ago when we began developing our SafeBaby® Feed Management System.  Today, that first effort has grown into a robust line of comprehensive patient identification and tracking solutions that improve treatment outcomes of both children and adults.

Giving your clients the correct medications is of paramount importance; obviously, no caregiver wants to put their patient or their hospital at risk!  But when patients are moved between doctors, floors, or even entire buildings, knowing where they, having access to their most recent charting information, and printing new wristbands or labels with this data can be difficult.  Our Identi+Health System was created to provide a flexible, yet accurate way to identify and label patients no matter how many times their admittance status changes.  Using the latest in barcode identification products, this system empowers caregivers to create labels on-demand wherever they choose, encompassing chart labeling, wristband printing, and of course, positive patient identification while optimizing overall medical facility workflows.

Hitting Requirements without Compromising Efficiency

The Identi-Health System distributes printing throughout the health network, allowing caregivers the ability to recreate labels without accessing their admitting system.  Duplicate labels can print right at our label reprint stations simply by scanning an existing label.

However, Identi+Health isn’t just efficient: it fully conforms to safety and compliance standards.  The Joint Commission mandates that two identifiers (excluding the patient’s room number) be used whenever administering blood products or medications, taking specimens and blood samples for clinical testing, or providing any other treatments or procedures.  To exceed these requirements, the Identi+Health System employs a number of safeguards to confirm the identity of each patient before treatment is given.

patient wristband tracking-01
patient identification label

Our product offers:

  • Soft wristbands for sensitive patients and infants
  • Scanning solutions that pair with any EMR hardware
  • Reliable, durable wristbands for non-sensitive, minor and adult patients
  • Glove-friendly adhesives for specimen and chart labels
  • Chart labels that feature sample identification & supplemental vial data
  • Color-coded wristbands for Allergy & Infectious Indicators

Paired with all of these identifiers is the customized software and quality hardware powerhouses that make the system work. Paragon provides Mobile computers, scanners, and printers from Zebra Technologies for the best readable output.

Identi+Health Adapts to YOU

Paragon knows that every healthcare system has its own challenges and needs. Identi+Health is built to meet these needs no matter what EMR or admitting system is being used.  If you aren’t sure whether your medical facility could implement this system, give us a call at 800.211.0768 or send us an email and our system experts will talk you through Identi+Health’s benefits and compatibility requirements.

 

 

 

 

Bri Ziganti researches compliance and efficiency issues of the medical industry and the mandates that govern them to bring you a safe and automated barcoding solution.  Call Paragon Data Systems at 800.211.0768 to speak directly with our experts and discover how we can reduce patient risks.
Continue the discussion on Patient Identification at Paragon’s Facebook or Twitter page.

Reduce the Risks of Lawsuits and Brand Meltdown with Recall Management Solutions from Paragon

traceability advert-01Traceability” isn’t just a buzz word in food manufacturing today; it’s required by the FDA, and you’ll want to do it right.  No manufacturer wants to distribute unsafe products, but in today’s world of complicated, large scale food manufacturing, mistakes can happen, and these mistakes have the ability to negatively affect millions.

Fortunately, intuitive technology exists to help ensure that manufacturers always know where their food products are located, where they came from and where they’re going.  This is especially important when food-based recalls occur.  These recalls have been increasing in severity and complexity over the past several years, due to that fact that most big manufacturers are multinational and their distribution is so widespread.

Recalls can be detrimental financially, including the direct costs that come from destruction of tainted food products, the removal of products from the market, compliance costs, media costs, replacement products and legal fees.  However, the repercussions also extend beyond government penalties and lost production, as recalls can also quickly have a negative effect on customer loyalty. Sunland’s disastrous handling of their 2012 recall of salmonella-tainted peanut butter was so damaging to their brand that the entire company, once an industry powerhouse, went bankrupt under the sheer weight of lawsuits and the refusal of consumers and businesses to continue using their products.  If your business relies on inefficient recording, tracking, and reporting protocols, your brand could face a similar catastrophic meltdown.  When a simple Tweet or share on Facebook can quickly turn a small mistake into a large public scandal, it’s easy to see why recalls can become global in no time, and why manufacturers are expected to quickly identify and pull all affected products- no matter where they are in the supply chain.

For food traceability systems to be truly effective, there must be a shift to automated processes so that high quality data is stored, captured and synchronized automatically.  This allows for a central database of information within the supply chain, creating a clear connection of operations between distribution centers, manufacturers, suppliers, transportation operations and warehouses.  Businesses using non-automated methods of recall often waste more than necessary, or fail to react fast enough to prevent food-borne illness.

Investing in mobile technologies and hardware such as RFID, rugged mobile computers, and bar code scanners can help lessen or remove the burden of maintaining data accuracy by creating real-time synchronization of product data across the supply chain, and keeping easily-accessible records compliant with the transparency and reporting standards set by the FDA.

For more information about how you can better incorporate food traceability into your manufacturing practices, contact Paragon Data Systems today.  Our knowledgeable experts are happy to help.  You can also download our free whitepaper on Recall Management for a comprehensive look into the benefits of automation.

 

 

 

 

Bri Ziganti researches the ins and outs of the Food production, manufacturing and distributing industries and the mandates that govern them so Paragon can implement more efficient and compliant recall management and traceability strategies.  Subscribe to this series for a weekly update on traceability and recall issues, or call 800.211.0768 to speak directly with our sales team to see how Paragon can lessen the likelihood that your business will face a devastating recall.
Continue the discussion on Food Traceability at Paragon’s Facebook or Twitter page.