Electronic Shelf Labels

Digital displays using e-inks, i.e. electronic ink-based digital displays, are now ranging in size from relatively small to A4 and can be used for several retail, logistics, and industrial purposes. In retail, an electronic price tag (also known as a digital shelf label) shows the price of the products. In large warehouses or production facilities information is provided on these digital displays from those who organise work processes to the employees working there.SRS’s e-ink based solutions:

For convenience and department store systems

You can expand your cash register system with an electronic shelf label (ESL – electronic shelf label). ESL shows the prices based on the store’s cash register system database. In other words, it ensures that customers can always see the exact prices on the shelves which are in the cash register.

Digital price tags can be easily connected to databases – back-office software, enterprise resource planning (ERP), CRM, etc.

Displayable information

The digital shelf label continuously receives and displays current information, text and graphic content, such as:

  • selling price of the products,
  • price of a given unit of measurement,
  • current promotion, discount in HUF or as a percentage,
  • logo, emblem,
  • product evaluation,
  • reorder items,
  • stocks.


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E-paper (e-ink) technology

Electronic shelf labels are made using e-paper (e-ink) technology.

E-paper reflects external light and has a particularly high contrast; its readability is often better, even in direct sunlight, than that of text written on traditional paper in black or colour ink. In addition to black and white, the colour of the pixels can be red or yellow.

E-paper can display static content indefinitely without energy consumption. It only requires energy when its contents change, so items on shelf labels only need to be replaced every 5 years or less.

 How does it work?

The cash register IT system communicates with the shelf labels using radio frequency signals through one or more transceivers located in the store. The labels thus do not require wiring and only need to be replaced every 5 years.

We can export the data of the articles from the database of the cash register or back-office system to the shelf labels. Then we also get accurate feedback on which device we sent what information to and whether the data transfer was successful.

A wide range of shelf-mounted rails and a custom holder that can be mounted on a wall or hung on a blister holder is available for placing labels. Each label is linked based on the unique identifier assigned to it by a barcode and the unique barcode identifier of the associated goods (e.g. EAN code).

The smallest labels are 4 cm in diameter and the largest are nearly A4 in size. The most commonly used sizes are 1.6″, 2.2″, 2.6″, and 4.2″.


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Pharmacy application of the digital shelf labels

Electronic shelf labels are also great for pharmacies to price products placed on officina shelves.

Elektronikus polccímkék patikában, címketartó sínekben a polcokra rögzítve

Digital price tags help the customer get accurate information at a minute on product names, prices, unit prices, and any discounts. At the same time, they allow the pharmacy to easily change prices without having to pay attention to exchanging price tags.

The labels can be connected to all pharmacy IT systems used in Hungary today.

Benefits of the labels

  • no need to price tag or print,
  • zippy re-pricing,
  • start and display actions from the computer screen,
  • single data recording in the pharmacy system – error excluded,
  • filling up shelves without pricing,
  • customer’s mobile phone can be redirected to the website of the selected product for more information,
  • innovative, attractive appearance for customers,
  • each label has a small battery that contains enough charge for at least 5 years, as only the minimum power required to change images,
  • labels show a very clear, sharp image from any angle.

How can digital shelf labels be affixed to shelves?

At the bottom of the shelves shown in the top picture are transparent label rails, and the labels are placed in them. The labels are fixed in the rails and can only be removed or shifted with a special magnetic tool. But the labels can be placed not only on rails but also on the bars holding the blisters, one by one. In addition, a wide variety of custom holders are available.

Elektronikus polccímkék patikában, blisztereket tartó rúdra rögzítve

Examples of application

An average size pharmacy requires 500-1000 labels. The control software can be installed on the computer on which the pharmacy system is running so that the data to be displayed can be easily transferred from one system to another. There is even a communication unit (Access Point) as shown in the picture, which connects to the computer via a local Ethernet network and communicates with the labels in two-way electromagnetic waves.

Access point

Labels come in a various sizes, from 4 cm diagonal to nearly A4. However, in a pharmacy, the smaller ones can also be used well. For example, even the smallest 152 x 152 dots can be displayed in 3 colours (black, white, red). Therefore – as shown in the examples below – these small labels are also great for informing customers.

Példa az elektronikus polccímkéken való információmegjelenítésre    Példa az elektronikus polccímkéken való információmegjelenítésre    Példa az elektronikus polccímkéken való információmegjelenítésre

The above images are only examples; the displayed graphics can be created with any design software.

The installation of such a system can be done in 1-2 days, including the installation of rails, brackets, labels, the Access Point and the software, the design of the graphics, and the labels’ binding with the associated goods. The latter is very simple and fast. All you have to do is scan the unique barcode on the label, and the barcode of the product in one go with either a handheld barcode scanner or a mobile phone.

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Industrial application

Electronic shelf labels, also known as digital whiteboards, are also increasingly used to manage production and logistics processes. SRS also delivers solutions in this area.

Elektronikus polccímke leolvasása vonalkódolvasóval

These digital displays are increasingly used in industry, warehousing, assembly plants, production halls to convey any information from production managers to plant workers that was previously handed over on paper.

The boards work on the principle of e-ink (electronic ink, e-paper), which means that no energy is needed to maintain the images. Electric current is necessary only for modifications and communication between the computer system controlling the boards, which require negligible energy. Thus, in the case of an average of 2 image changes per day, it is sufficient to replace the elements in the tables after 5 years. The tables operate with two-way data communication, thus confirming the performance of image changes and providing data on their status, e.g. the battery charge level.

Principle of operation

The pixels are made up of microcapsules containing coloured particles with different electrical charges for each colour. The desired colour can be brought to the surface by connecting a static electric field of appropriate polarity among the particles. The basic colours of the particles are white and black, and there is also a third colour, which can be red or yellow.

Advantages of industrial application of boards

  • display accurate and up-to-date information in the right place
  • barcode or QR code identifiers of the operations to be performed or the materials and tools to be used can be easily written on a board at any time according to the task to be performed,
  • production managers must send the information to the appropriate point of the plant, not on paper, in printed form: the data reaches its destination electronically without error or delay,
  • it is also possible to trace back in time when instructions were issued, which can lead to more disciplined work, thus improving quality and reducing costs,
  • e-ink boards store information in sharp and easy-to-read images without power and energy consumption,
  • it is easy to create an interface that works with batch information transferred in a file, e.g. passes the data to be displayed from a production management system to the e-ink tables.


Board Dimensions

For industrial applications, the following table sizes are most common:

Model   2.6”   4,2”   7.4”   12.2”
Dimensions (mm)   80 × 41   104 × 82   175 × 123   218 × 265
Resolution (pixels)   296 × 152     400 × 300     800 × 480     759 × 960  
Lifespan   5 Years   5 Years   5 Years   5 Years
Number of pages stored   4   4   4   6


Application examples

The complex industrial application of an A4 tablet is shown in the image below. On a 12.2-inch diagonal board, 90 data fields appear in this application. This table can store 6 full pages in the background in its memory, which can be switched between without downloading them again. The switch can be done with an industrial PDA or even an ordinary mobile phone. The first step is to read the barcode’s unique ID on the tablet and then select the page you want to see.

Példa egy 12,2 inch képátlójú digitális tábla grafikájára

This smaller table is used for warehouse collection, where the IDs of the current item can be scanned with a barcode scanner:

Technical information

The boards are controlled by electromagnetic waves. This requires so-called Access Points, similar to those used in WiFi networks, which have an Ethernet network connection to the control computer. These devices are designed so that their operation does not interfere with WiFi networks. The two networks can operate in one airspace, independently of each other.

There are two software products connected to the system. One controls the tables. The other allows you to edit the appearance of the images on the tables graphically.

Java-based control software called JEEGY, which runs on Windows, Windows server, or Linux operating systems, can control all APs on a site or even multiple remote sites over appropriate LAN and WAN connections.

Images are created in the system by loading specific data into a pre-designed image template (e.g., product name, part number, production parameters, etc., to be manufactured on a given day as determined by production management). Image templates are defined in the template to which the data fields of a data record must be linked. For a specific data record, the current data in the corresponding data fields are displayed in the related image fields. The records of the data to be displayed are received through web service or XML or batch data in CSV files from the enterprise management system through an interface.

The image templates mentioned above can be created with an application called STUDIO running in the cloud. With STUDIO, images are designed on which image fields of any format can be placed, which will display the necessary information with the set font, size, color, rotation angle, etc. Image fields usually extract current data from the corresponding data fields in data records obtained from an ERP system. In STUDIO we connect the image fields and the data fields. It is even possible to combine and format data fields with program lines written in JavaScript before displaying them in the image field. With STUDIO, the image designed in this way can be viewed in a WYSIWYG mode, with sample data, as it will appear on the e-tag.

Az elektronikus polccímkén megjelenítendő képsablonok szerkesztése a STUDIO nevű alkalmazással


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Restaurant application

Nowadays, electronic labels are spreading rapidly in several areas of the retail sector and are gradually gaining ground in hospitality as well. We propose a digital food card system that informs consumers about the properties of food and drinks in restaurants, buffets, pastry shops, and hotel dining rooms.

The labels on the buffet table, shown in the picture, are placed in label holders.

The diagonal of the label images used here is 10.7 cm. 400 x 300 pixels can be displayed on them in 3 colours (black, white, red). The battery in the label works for at least 5 years, as it only requires energy to change the image, not to maintain the image.

Labels below are templates made for restaurants:

2,6” 296 x 152 pixels

4,2” 400 x 300 pixels

Different fonts and font sizes can be used, that the texts fill the available space automatically (less text written in larger letters) and the red colour can attract the attention of the guests.

The image, graphic layout, colours, fonts, etc. of the electronic food cards, based on the wishes of the restaurant managers, will be designed with the graphic design program.

A big advantage of the system is that it provides the restaurant with a modern, exclusive look and contributes to the comfort of the guests. With graphics and/or colours, the vitamin and mineral content of the food, as well as the gluten-, lactose-, and sugar-free content can be indicated. The graphics can be transformed as desired, and even smaller or larger labels can be placed. The use of the system also saves the restaurant staff a lot of time, which they can spend on improving the comfort of the guests.

The number of food cards varies in each restaurant. There are places where 20 or even 1,000 tags are in use, which are provided with information by the radio communication unit (so-called Access Point) shown in the picture. This radio transmitter is connected to the restaurant’s computer network and controlled by the central computer, which also runs the restaurant’s cash register software. The control software of the labels receives the information of the products from the software of the cash register system or from an Excel table containing the restaurant menu. On the one hand, the control software sends the images to the tags, and on the other hand, it monitors their status (whether the image was taken flawlessly, whether the battery is running low, etc.), keeps statistics on this, and gives a warning if necessary. The system can be used with the cash register system of all domestic restaurants.

Installation of such a system can be completed in 1 day, including mounting the brackets, applying the labels, installing the radio unit and software, designing the graphics, and matching the food cards with the corresponding foods. The latter is very simple and fast: you only need to scan the unique barcode on the label and the food identifier in one move. This can be done either with a handheld barcode scanner (PDA) or a mobile phone.

If we have piqued your interest, we will be happy to show you the entire label selection and provide you with additional information about the system, as well as prepare an offer upon your request.