Our business requires us to print large volumes of labels on a fairly regular basis. Our eVideon system for interactive patient care and hospital IPTV uses small, low-power set-top boxes in each hospital room; we label each set-top box we deploy for easy identification. We also label all network equipment that we order and deploy as part of our network engineering operation.
Until recently our labeling “solution” left a bit to be desired. It was a Brother P-Touch label machine with a built-in keyboard. This approach had a few major drawbacks:
- Manually entering label text was slow
- We wasted a lot of label “tape” as each individual label produced a good bit of extra space on each side of the text
- Any advanced formatting, such as multiple lines or graphics, wasn’t practical
This led me to some research online for a better solution.
The Brother PT-2430PC Label Maker
We ordered the Brother PT-2430PC from Amazon and immediately found it to be a good fit for our needs. Here’s how our unit looks:
The PT-2430PC is fairly compact. It is approximately the size of an external hard drive. A door opens on the side to allow loading or switching of the tape cartridges. Incidentally, the label maker uses the exact same tape as many other P-touch label makers from Brother, allowing us to continue using the tapes we already had in stock.
Here are a few other benefits we’re enjoying:
- The PT-2430PC connects to a PC via a USB cable and does not require a driver or extra software. The label maker will mount itself as a USB drive, and the software used to create labels run directly from the drive.
- The label maker has a standard power cord, but it also takes batteries, making it easy to use away from the office.
- An auto-cutter in the PT-2430PC cuts the tape automatically. This is an option that can be toggled in the included software.
- The software makes it much easier to make more elaborate labels, such as labels with multiple lines or graphics.
- We can create larger volumes of labels in much less time.
- The price was excellent. The unit cost us just over $40 from Amazon
We were very happy with the new label maker but had one other need. We often create labels that need to follow a given sequence. For example, when labeling set-top boxes for our eVideon system, we number them sequentially:
STB-100, STB-101, STB-102, STB-103…
It’s easy to create these sequential fields in Excel, but there isn’t a built-in function in Excel that allows you to easily concatenate a large range of fields. So I put together a small web-based tool for generating sequential labels. It allows you to specify:
- The prefix for each label
- The starting and ending numbers
- The number of spaces to place between each label
The output of this tool can be pasted into the P-Touch software and printed in a long strip. We then cut off each individual label and apply it.
If you use the tool for generating labels and have any questions, please leave a comment below. Let us know if you use this same label maker or have found another solution that meets your needs!