When using barcoding as a strategic advantage to automate your processes you expect the solution to perform as expected. However, the selection of the right barcode label is often not given sufficient scrutiny. Selecting the right barcode label will help ensure maximum productivity and efficiency are achieved. The following seven criteria help with the selection of the right barcode label.
1. Application. What your barcode label will be used for, and applied to, is critical in the selection of labels. Indoor or outdoor usage, the effect of moisture, and temperature range are questions that you will need to answer to determine the correct barcode label.
2. Environment. Will your barcode labels be exposed to extreme conditions? Direct sunlight, dirt, grease, heat, cold, water, food or something else. Each of these conditions needs to be considered in order for your barcode labels to perform at their best.
3. Durability. Some barcode labels need to last for extended periods of time. Whereas, others only need to last for a short period (e.g., during the shipment). Not only the labels need to endure, but the printed barcode and verbiage should be given consideration.
4. Face Stock – The right face stock is crucial. Choosing between direct thermal and thermal transfer is only the first step. Next, you need determine if you will use a paper label, a synthetic material, vinyl or even plastic. This is determined by your specific product requirements.
5. Direct Thermal vs. Thermal Transfer. In a nutshell, should you print with or without a ribbon? Again it comes down to Application, Environment and Durability.
- Direct Thermal uses a heat activated material to transfer your barcode image to the material. This
eliminates the need for a ribbon, and works well in controlled environments where heat and direct sunlight are not an issue.
- Thermal Transfer utilizes a wax/wax-resin/resin ribbon that applies a heat transfer process to your label material to increase durability and readability for resilience to heat and direct sunlight.
6. Adhesive. The right adhesive can make all the difference in whether your barcode label stays where intended. Standard adhesives will perform well in most applications. Things to consider are temperature range, where your label will be, and level of permanence.
7. Core and Roll Size – The barcode printer you will be using will help determine what size core your roll of labels will accommodate and ultimately what the outside dimension (OD) of your roll of labels will need to be. Typical core sizes range from ½” – 3” and the OD is usually either 4”, 5” or 8”. Some auto applications may be 12” or 16”.
There are additional choices to consider, such as pre-printed labels, color tinted labels, variable data labels, asset tags, static cling labels, and hang tags. Your Media Specialist at Supply Chain Services can help you navigate the solutions for your barcode printing needs.