This week I was checking out our technical department and I noticed the last of what I think is perhaps the most well built barcode printer of all time. Seriously, since 1996 or so there has never been one I thought to be more mechanically sound. The failure rate was not even high enough to be worth tracking, it was so low. The printer is the Toshiba TEC CB-416 color thermal printer. Over the years we sold hundreds of them to resellers who placed them in applications where variable data, on-demand, color labels were needed. I take my hat off to Toshiba who built something truly spectacular, and as it turned out, probably a bit too soon for the market to really embrace it.
Some people might want to argue, perhaps, that ink jet technology overtook this wonderful bit of Toshiba engineering, but in my book, I thought those claims were just marketing sizzle. You know, lots of fat and no real meat. I always felt that the products introduced to compete with the Toshiba TEC machine were poor copies of a great design, at least until Swiftcolor came out with their quite capable ink jet machine. Time will tell us if the Swiftcolor is the new carrier of the baton in the on-demand color label world. It has some good things going for it. Alas, though, I am still going to miss that last refurbished unit when it finds its new home. I still think it is the best of all time.
Goodbye to a great product. Hello to future potential of the Swiftcolor family.