This is often a neglected area of barcoding but getting this key element right can save lots of time, money and frustration so lets take a look at the key areas you need to think about on the barcode label.
There are lots of different types of materials you can choose from and they all have their uses and costs. Cheap paper labels can be the best to get you going, are great to demo solutions and can be the answer for many applications but there are also plastics that won’t tear, waterproof labels, metal ones and more. You might be printing receipts so you also need to decide if the paper will fade over time or will be permanent. How will you be fixing your labels? Some might need to be rigid, larger or smaller and some might need to be flexible so they fix to curved surfaces.
A common mistake we see is labels that then require constant servicing and replacement due to wear and tear. This not only means extra expense but also can lead to a permanently non-readable set of barcode in your solution due to damage.
This doesn’t apply to most solutions but if you do have difficult lighting conditions or have specialised barcodes then you might consider a different colour background to help with the contrast. You can get some barcodes that will perform better in UV or darker/lighter conditions if that’s a problem for you.
One area you also need to think about is just how sticky you want your labels to be. We’ve all been to Ikea and bought those lovely cheap wine glasses only to find the barcodes on the bottom of them take hours to remove and even then leave a sticky residue on them that nothing seems to shift…Why we all ask!!! Well the same applies here and getting the label stickiness just right can save a lot of time and frustration.
There are specific environmental scenarios to consider so think about if your labels need to withstand water, cold or heat? What are they sticking to? Wood, metal, plastic, glass, paper/cardboard etc? Where are the labels going to be? Can they get brushed off easily, can people play about with them?
Also however think about your application too. Do you need a permanent label?, Asset or site tags for instance that never change need something truly permanent. However labels on products need to be removed easily, maybe your warehouse needs to move barcodes to different locations, so a magnetic of sleeve type fixture might be the best option here.
You also need to check the printer you want to use is able to print on the material you need it to. At the most basic level most printers will be optimised to print receipts or labels, however if you choose a specialist label or even popular plastic one then make sure there printer you;re using can print onto these. Size also matters, we’ve seen a lot of customers who chose smaller 2″ printers but realised they need to now print larger labels to expand their solution. Normally this is just a case of making sure you specify the right engine in your chosen printer but always check before you make a commitment to your hardware and test as you go along.
So there we have it, lots to get you thinking and I promise you that taking just a small amount of time thinking about your barcode solution a little before you deploy it can help hugely when it comes to having a really efficient mobile solution. If you need any more help then why don’t you tweet us a @ruggedandmobile and we’ll be only too happy to connect.