Thursday, November 13, 2008

UPS Going Labeless with Super Cool Paper-Free Printer

by Jaymi Heimbuch, Central Coast, California on 11.13.08 Science & Technology (electronics)
Photo via HP

UPS has long been interested in improving efficiency. For a year and a half, HP and UPS have been working together to develop a scanner/printer that prints sorting labels directly on packages. The time and effort looks to be worth it because this awesome little device means huge paper, money and time savings.

The device underscores that it pays to be green – according to UPS's estimates, it will save about 92,456 hours year through increased productivity, save about 1,338 tons of paper, and reduce carbon emissions by 3,807 tons each year.

Read on for details of how it works, plus a video.

The HP Handheld sp400 All-in-One was tested in Orlando Florida, where it was used on 40,000 packages per day with zero errors. The device scans the label, and prints sorting information directly on the package with fast-drying ink designed by HP. It replaces the previous system that included a large thermal printer, PC, monitor and scanner, which hopefully means a lot less electricity and e-waste in addition to all the other savings.

The device should last quite awhile, as it was made to resist multiple 6-foot drops, and uses a lithium-ion battery. However, the website only states “multiple hours” of printing and scanning per charge. So exactly how long a charge lasts, we aren't yet quite sure. Though, with the ability to do over 1,250 prints per hour, that seems reasonable for today’s Li-Ion battery capabilities. Perhaps future upgrades will include environmentally friendly inks and better battery power.

Check out a video co-produced by HP and UPS that demonstrates the use and innovation behind this cool new device.

More on HP:
HP's Pavilion Has Gone Green - Or Has It?
HP Bags Wal-Mart's Reduced Packaging Award With Laptop In A Bag

More on UPS:
UPS Delivering Small Packages With Small Vehicles
UPS Deploys 167 Compressed Natural Gas Trucks

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