Simple user input (lot code, manufacturing date, expiry date) With a limited amount of information the information can be changed on the line by an operator/supervisor. In the case of hot foil this will mean changing the engraved type digits. For thermal transfer and thermal inkjet, the new information will simply be keyed into the controller.
Simple auto input (date, time, sequential number, etc.) Not an option with hot foil, but easily achieved with both thermal transfer and thermal inkjet. The "code" that instructs the printer is embedded in the format and needs no further operator intervention.
Barcodes (1-D, 2-D, Datamatrix) both thermal transfer and thermal inkjet are suitable for printing bar codes as they are capable of printing high resolution images (at least 300 dots per inch.) Fixed codes can be embedded in the format, whereas variable codes can either be input by the operator via either keyboard or scanner. Datamatrix codes often print a machine readable version of the Lot and Expiry date and can be linked to these fields.
Complex (list of ingredients, product description, instructions for use, diagrams and logos) Where a more complex format is to be printed it is usual to use a software package on a neighbouring PC to design, modify and preview the print.