Yesterday, I met with Mr. Jeffrey Kennedy, the National Sales Manager for CAB Technology. Cab is a manufacturer of label printing systems for niche markets. While I was aware that CAB had been around for decades, I was not aware of what they had to offer. Their tag line “we identify more,” is spot on.
Jeff demonstrated CAB’s flagship A4+ model thermal transfer printer. I was immediately impressed with the small footprint. While still an industrial grade printer with a 2 year warranty, it doesn’t take up much space. And I liked the folding access door, which I wish some of my existing printer installs had. The first line of business was to load the printer and where most printer brands accept ribbon rolls with the carbon rolled to either the inside or the outside (Zebra), CAB printers accept both. The label path was nice and clear, and everything felt solid.
Quick Change Relief
The user friendliness and serviceability are probably the most impressive aspects of the CAB printer brand. Think “quick change.” An on board wrench was pulled from its nifty storage slot and was used to show a few service procedures. Removing the access panel took less than 30 seconds; removing and replacing the platen drive roller took under 1 minute. Replacing the print head? 2 minutes.
High Quality Label Printing
The quality is superb. CAB printers also include a 2 year or 2 million linear inch warranty, which is double the industry standard. The design and everything has been well thought out to perform well, and perform easily.
Jaw Dropping Print Performance
The performance was also impressive. I’ve been offering thermal transfer printers for over twenty years and this was the first time I saw tiny 4mm long labels being printed, consistently at over 6 inches a second. This printer will handle labels as small as 4x4 mm. And the consistency was spot-on—the registration tolerance is a jaw dropping .3 of a mm! That .3mm is not a typo.
Stand Alone Self-contained Label Printing
CAB offers the only true self-contained printing systems, as companies continue to move away from PC’s and their required maintenance. They include extra USB ports which can accept flash drives, bar code scanners, and keyboards. My preferred Nicelabel software formats can easily be downloaded into the printer’s expanded memory card. Then, formats can be selected from the LCD screen, and simple user input and scrolling can be achieved with an external keyboard. Variable information can also be printed without the need to be tethered to a PC.
CAB’s peripherals were well thought out and dare I say it, impressive. For example, I asked about installing and removing a cutter for cleaning. The cutter was simply plugged into the front, and a single thumb screw completed the install in less than 30 seconds! It was a rotary cutter, and one of the few made to actually cut through a variety of label materials, and not just the backing liner. Some other nice options include a label dispenser for print and peel applications, an external roll rewinder for extra large diameter rolls, a barcode tester that takes the printer offline by read error, and a label cutter stacker.
These printers are user friendly, versatile, high quality, and cutting edge, even though the A4+ model has been on the market for eight years. While CAB may not have the same global market share as Sato or Zebra, they certainly have their niche markets, where mission critical printers are essential. CAB will be releasing new models, and when they do you can bet the rest of the thermal printer industry will be paying attention.