Barcode Printing: Printers, Software and Labels
Planning for your Barcode Printing Needs
Barcode printing is perhaps the most critical stage of all barcode systems. It is imperative that readable barcode labels are produced consistently, sometimes in very high volumes. Even if you only want to make small numbers of printed barcode labels for internal use you must be sure your printing software is reliable.
These are the main questions you need to answer before choosing a method of barcode printing:
How many labels do I need? The volume of barcodes that can be printed per day is crucial if you are producing large batches of very similar labels. If you need to print small numbers of labels on demand with complex graphics the time it takes and software programs needed to print the first label will be more important.
What kind of labels do I need? When you know what type of barcodes you are using check which printing system and programs supports it. For example some printers may not be able to deal with very dense 2D barcode symbologies. If you need to print a company logo, perhaps in color, alongside the barcode this must be taken into account at the planning stage. Or if you need to print extra-large labels you may need to choose a specialist barcode printer.
Where will my labels be used? If you need to make weatherproof labels for extended outdoor use you will need to print onto a sturdy material, and only some barcode printers can accommodate this. Also certain barcode printing technologies are better suited to producing labels with long lifetimes. If your product must still be readable in years to come this is of high importance. Some uses require printing onto metal or ceramic tags and it might be worth considering outsourcing all your barcode printing to specialist suppliers.
Where will the barcode printing be done? Many industrial contexts will require sturdy equipment for prolonged use. Alternatively you might need to print on the fly from a mobile printer as you move around a warehouse. Thinking about this before you buy software, programs etc - can save a lot of time and money.
Ease of use and wastage? Think about how easy it is to replenish consumables in your printer and how often you might need to do this. This can significantly add to the cost of a system. Also remember that some printers can only print whole pages at a time - if you don't need this many you may be wasting expensive paper every time you print. A dedicated label printer may be the answer.