26 January 2015 Published in Abstracts

Upgrading Palletizer Printing From Serial to Ethernet Communication

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Prism Systems worked with a large pigment-manufacturing company to replace their existing inkjet printers, which only communicated over a serial connection. The newly integrated printers can now communicate over an Ethernet connection. The customer is planning to replace their existing palletizers in the near future, and wanted their printer technology to upgrade with them. Prism Systems was responsible for programming and testing the changes necessary to accommodate these new pieces in their existing control scheme.


The first step to completing this project was determining the hardware necessary for their existing Allen-Bradley Controllogix processors to communicate with the new printers. As it turned out, the new printers that were selected did not use the same Ethernet communication protocol as the processors, so a special ProSoft Technology module was needed. Next, the details of how to operate the new printer, as well as the format in which it expects to receive messages needed to be researched. Luckily for us, only a very small percentage of users of the selected printers actually send message content remotely via Ethernet, so the documentation for this aspect of the printer's functionality was not as helpful as it should have been (issues like this are way more common than they should be). Through extensive testing, we eventually determined how to get the printer to accept the messages from the processor. And lastly, we needed to determine how to utilize this Prosoft card inside the controller's logic, which proved much easier than the previous task. Our results were then showcased to the customer, and now these new printers have been installed on all of their palletizers and are working great.

Customer Benefits

  • Universal communication protocol and network, allowing for easier troubleshooting and repair
  • Improved user-friendly printer interface, allowing for better fine tuning and customization of messages printed on their product


  • Prosoft Technology General Ethernet Communication (GEC) module
  • RSLogix 5000
  • Ethernet Communications
  • Matthews v84i Inkjet Printer


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Last modified on Wednesday, 18 January 2017 09:45

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