Zebra Thermal Label Printers to Support Unicode for mySAP Business Suite

Unicode support simplifies multi-language label printing, eliminates the time and costs associated with label redevelopment and licensing, enabler says

Unicode support simplifies multi-language label printing, eliminates the time and costs associated with label redevelopment and licensing, enabler says

Vernon Hills, IL — July 20, 2005 — Zebra Technologies is offering support for Unicode (UTF-8) on eight different models of its bar code label printers with the goal of making multi-language label printing easier for mySAP Business Suite users.

Using a Unicode-enabled Zebra printer, users of SAP solutions can create and print labels that contain information in various languages and use them in different regions of the world. Zebra said it is the first company to offer this support in a thermal bar code label printer.

Unicode is a code page that converts numeric codes into characters for printing or display. Most traditional code page encoding systems, including ASCII, support 256 characters or fewer. Unicode can support more than 65,000 characters from all major languages, including Arabic, Asian and other non-Western languages that can be challenging to print.

Without Unicode, organizations with international label printing needs must purchase multiple font packages, additional labeling software and printers with language-specific codepages to output all required language characters. Zebra said it is the only known thermal bar code label printer manufacturer to ship a preloaded, printer-resident Unicode-addressable font that supports many major languages throughout the world.

"mySAP Business Suite users will find great value in Zebra's Unicode solution because it removes redundant font, codepage and label format redevelopment costs from international bar code label printing operations," said Dave Crist, vice president of sales for Zebra. "This innovation will support our customers as they expand globally by ensuring their printing systems can grow with them."

mySAP Business Suite supports Unicode UTF-8 printing output from both SAPscript and Smart Forms, its form design tool. This enables users to create and print bar code label formats on any Unicode-enabled Zebra printer without needing to switch codepages at either the printer or the server for each language, according to Zebra.

Eliminating the need to custom design labels for each region of the world and to configure printers for each required language can help reduce implementation time, complexity and cost for companies that need to print multiple languages, Zebra said.

"Zebra's printer support of Unicode for mySAP Business Suite provides a great advantage for us, especially for our eastern European and Russian activities," said Paul Bruck, managing director for Vienna, Austria-based Bruck Technologies. "Without Unicode we would have needed weeks for developing a custom solution around traditional codepages."

As part of an SAP solution, Zebra printers come preloaded with the necessary firmware and font required to print all major European and Middle Eastern languages for printers shipped to customers in those regions. Support is also available for Zebra customers in other regions of the world. Zebra offers Unicode as a free option available for all new XiIIIPlus series, 105SL, 110PAX4, Z4MPlus and Z6MPlus printers. Optional font packs can be purchased for Asia-Pacific (APAC) languages, containing characters for most South Asian languages and specialized characters for traditional Chinese, simplified Chinese, Japanese or Korean.

Additional Articles of Interest

— RFID technology has the potential to change the way supply chains are managed, but in order to be effective businesses need to take a holistic look at the deployment. Read more in the SDCExec.com article "Time for RFID: Applying RFID in the Supply Chain."

— For a contrary view of the future of the RFID market, see the article "The O'RFID Factor: A 'No Spin' Look at Where Radio Frequency Identification Is Headed," in the October/November 2004 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

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