Farewell to a Trusted Name in Label and Heat Shrink Printers

Farewell to a Trusted Name in Label and Heat Shrink Printers

All good things do come to an end, and that includes products that have become customer favorites over the years. We have learned that Kroy LLC has discontinued their line of heat shrink label printers in order to focus on heat shrink labels and thermal ribbon.

It’s been a long run. The company was founded in 1954, and manufactured one of the first thermal printers and ribbons in the United States. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, they have been an industry leader in label manufacturing for over fifty years.

The discontinued Kroy models include the K3100-PC printer, the K4100 standalone version, and the K5100-PC handheld model. The popular Kroy K4350CPTR is also discontinued, but we still have a few left in stock, so order soon if you don’t want to miss out!

We’ll give you our suggestions for upgrade or replacement models later. But first, you might be wondering why you need a heat shrink label printer at all.

Why heat shrink printing and labels are so important

We cannot stress the importance of heat shrink coding and labeling enough. One of the vital functions of heat shrink comes in its color-coding, which can indicate various things depending on the industry.

For example, in electrical applications, the color can indicate whether a line is ground, neutral, or live. In AV applications, yellow frequently indicates a composite video signal, with red indicating the right audio channel and white or black the left. Clearly, if you start out with a bunch of cables all the same color and are hooking up a complicated audio-visual set-up, you’re going to need to heat shrink some colors on there so people know what’s what.

But there’s more to it than that, which is where printing come in. If you’re working in a backstage area with a red or blue safety light because the stage is live, that light is going to obscure what colors you’re actually looking at. And some people have varying kinds of color vision deficiencies, which can make it difficult to tell certain colors or shades apart from each other.

Beyond that, if you’ve got a dozen different audio and video cables all going to various multiple pieces of equipment, you’re going to want to know which plug or device gets which cable so that things work properly.

Put it in words, print it on a label or directly on the heat shrink, and everyone can stay fully informed and safe.

New options in printing

If you need to replace an old Kroy printer or had one in mind and didn’t get around to buying it in time, here are our suggestions on alternative printers than can do the job for you just as well.

Kroy K3100-PC

This PC compatible model prints up to 300 dpi on a variety of materials, including UV and chemical resistant polyester industrial labels, pressure sensitive adhesive lined cast vinyl, and 3:1 polyolefin heat shrink tubing.

Using the same cartridges and labels as some other Kroy models, the K3100-PC prints on various colors of material — including several primary shades plus clear, silver, and gold — in a variety of print colors such as black, white, red, and blue. It includes PC compatible computer interface software, with the capability to print directly from Microsoft Word or Excel.

As an alternative, we recommend Epson’s KSUN LW-PX400, a portable, wireless printer that connects via Bluetooth to both iOS and Android mobile devices. Backed by a manufacturer’s lifetime warranty, this versatile industrial labeling and wire-marking printer can create professional visual identification with durable adhesive supplies, and mark wires and cables with self-laminating wraps and heat shrink tubing. It’s also the smallest, lightest, and most flexible 1” (24mm) printer available.

Kroy K4100

This is the standalone version of the K3100-PC, which can connect to a computer with a serial cable for saving data, but can otherwise be used independently via its full-size QWERTY keyboard and small preview screen.

This versatile 1” (25mm) device prints on a variety of materials, including heat shrink tubing, self-laminating wire wrap markers, UV and chemical resistant tape, laminated polyester, labels including tamper-evident varieties, and cast vinyl. All of these are available in a large selection of background and printing colors with a maximum label length of 20” (508mm).

The printer itself auto-sizes text, and prints graphics, logos, barcodes, and other data in type sizes ranging from 6 to 72 points. It can also date-stamp output in real-time with its on-board clock.

As an alternative, consider the Epson LW-PX750PCD, which is also a standalone model that can be connected to a computer. In addition to alphanumeric labels, it can also print logos, images, and bar or QR codes. You can store up to five images on the printer to keep them ready for immediate use.

It uses Epson’s auto-rewind feature to pull back tape and save waste on extra leading margins, and you can print multiple labels of varying lengths at one time. The printer uses half-cut technology to separate only the label material and not the backing, but also has full-cut available.

It’s capable of printing on a wide range of materials, including standard industrial tapes from 1/6” to 1” (4 to 24mm) wide, specialty tapes, heat shrink tubing, self-laminating overwrap, vinyl tape, and more, all in a wide variety of colors. It can import data for large print jobs, as well as serialize and auto-increment up to 4 alphanumeric characters per label or heat shrink.

Kroy K5100-PC

This handheld printer can be used as a standalone or be connected to a PC, on either battery or AC power. It comes with 10 resident bar codes types, including Code 39 and Code 128, and can print in horizontal or vertical mode.

Compatible with many software programs for downloading labels, it can also print on a large variety of materials.

As a replacement, consider the Epson LW-PX900 printer, which is a high-speed handheld model capable of resolutions up to 360 dpi. It comes equipped with industrial specific hot keys, eight built-in bar codes including QR, over a thousand symbols, and multiple design effects, meaning that your labels and heat shrink tubing will really pop and get the message across with style.

It includes other great Epson features, like auto-cut and half-cut, and you can also print labels of varied lengths in a single run. It can also automatically add a serial alphanumeric sequence to the output, and do reverse-color printing.

Kroy K4350CPTR

This practical and economical low- to medium-volume printer produces labels, shrink tubes, wire marks, facility signs, and banners up to 4” wide and 38” long. Equipped with a built-in cutter, 5 installed typefaces, and BarTender software, it’s capable of both direct thermal and thermal-transfer high-resolution printing.

It can print graphics as well as logos and text, and comes with a rotary cutter, real-time clock, and black mark sensor.

The alternative, the Epson LW-Z5010PX, is coming soon, and it’s loaded with features, including a 4.3” LCD touchscreen and full QWERTY keyboard. Designed for high-volume printing of pieces from 1/6” (4mm) to 2” (50mm) wide, there’s an optional patented re-winder available that can roll those big jobs up on a spool during printing to avoid damage until you’re ready to use them.

Compatible with all Epson LabelWorks cartridges and supplies, it also offers full- and half-cut options, and it works with Epson’s mobile apps and Label Editor software to give you flexibility and control. Print text, graphics, logos, symbols, bar and QR codes, and serialized alphanumeric sequences.

Whether you’re printing one label or a thousand, the LW-Z5010PX can do it all, and connectivity is a breeze, with your choice of direct USB, or WiFi and hardwired LAN connections.

Passing the torch

While it can often be difficult to see a favorite brand become unavailable, it is also an opportunity for new discoveries. Epson itself is a pioneer in the electronic printing industry, with the world’s first mini-printer, the EP-101, coming out in 1968.

Seven years later, the company name was born, coming from the idea of “son of electronic printer,” or EPSON. In the nearly fifty years since, they’ve continued to innovate, not just in the world of printing technology, but in home entertainment, electronics, robotics, and so much more.

We invite you to get to know them if you don’t already. You can always contact us to find out about all of your label and heat shrink printer and printing options.