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How to choose barcode printers

You may need to choose a bar code printer without the research of a large company at your fingertips.This article will give you the basics about a barcode and the best barcode printer to choose for your purposes.You have many options to choose from and each option has some type of advantage.

A barcode is a number code that has been translated into a series of lines.The lines are different widths to represent each number.Companies use these codes to identify different items in their company.Once you have labeled items using a barcode, you will need a scanner to read the barcodes.

Next, all barcode scanners are light emitting devices used to read barcodes.The scanner is usually connected to a computer and the data collected is stored for processing and/or to keep a history of the process.These barcodes and barcode scanners are used in many different industries.Retail is probably where you have seen them the most.

Barcode printers also come in different sizes, shapes and prices.Your basic inkjet and laserjet printers can't print barcodes.They usually require an add-on component or module to make them effective barcode printers.If an add-on component is used, often the printer will still be limited in the number of symbologies it can print.

The standard barcode printer is thermal based.These thermal barcode printers support multiple symbologies when you take them out of the box.

You have two different types of barcode printers: thermal transfer and direct thermal.Some of the larger higher end printers can do both types of printing.Direct thermal prints the barcode directly on the label while thermal transfer makes use of a ribbon and a printhead.The ribbon is heated and the image is etched on by the printhead.
Thermal transfer allows you to print barcodes on a wider variety of materials than direct thermal. As such, the type of material you are going to print barcodes on is a crucial factor in determining which barcode printer to purchase.
One disadvantage of thermal transfer is that the ribbon needs to be changed quite frequently. If you are using the barcode printer in a manufacturing environment, there could be a lot of downtime. A direct thermal printer is faster and is useful particularly where speed is required and you are not printing a lot of barcodes all the time. An example would be in a security post where each visitor is given a new barcode during the visit.

If you have a warehouse, you may need to print thousands of labels at a time.You will need a thermal transfer printer.Some of the better brands are ‘Symbol' and ‘Zebra'.

Barcode printing continues to evolve with technology. Most recently, barcode manufacturers have implemented several security features to ensure there is no counterfeit coding. The latest models of barcode printers are capable of printing labels with RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Devices) tags in them. Such security features are mandatory in some highly sensitive industries.

Radio Frequency Identification Devices tags are not economical for most barcode applications at this time.They are too expensive to use in mass quantity.However, they will become more and more the standard as technology make them more affordable.RFID tags have several advantages because they are easier to scan, but they are not easy to print.

In summary, you will need to look at the requirements for your barcode printing.You can choose a thermal transfer, a direct thermal, or a combination printer to meet your printing needs.Each different type of printer has specific advantages and disadvantages.

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