Be Your Own Best Customer
Thermal-transfer printed bar codes are a quality control and workflow enhancement tool for a converter's own operations.
By Ann Marie Cook, Weber Marking Systems
In an average day, a pressure-sensitive label converter will produce countless rolls of pressure-sensitive labels for its customers. The labels may be attractive, process color labels for prime applications; or they may be custom or stock product identification or shipping labels for secondary applications.
The label designs and applications will vary, but a large percentage of these unique products will have one element in common: bar codes.
Though converters manufacture labels for bar coding every day, some still don't see how implementing their own internal bar code labeling systems could streamline their production costs and increase profitability.
Label converting is a manufacturing process. Converters share production issues and goals with manufacturers in other industries. We all want to produce the highest quality products using the most cost-efficient methods available. To accomplish this, numerous manufacturers have incorporated bar codes into many of their production tasks using in-house bar code labeling systems with thermal-transfer label printers, data capture equipment, custom software and pressure-sensitive bar code labels.
Advancements in on-site thermal-transfer labeling system technologies are highlighting opportunities for bar coding to be used to complement existing manufacturing capabilities in today's more progressive label converting operations.
While there are several printing technologies available for pressure-sensitive bar code labeling, thermal-transfer printers are extremely versatile and offer consistently reliable results for higher-volume industrial applications.
Industrial thermal-transfer printer models range from economical to high-performance, at a cost of $1,000 to $9,000. Wide- or narrow-web capacities accommodate a variety of label sizes, with widths from .79˝ to 7.2˝ and lengths from 1Ú4˝ to 20˝. Standard models usually offer 203 dot-per-inch (dpi) resolution, with 300 dpi resolution available for higher-density applications. In both cases, thermal-transfer technology, when used with the appropriate printer ribbon and thermal-transfer label material (see Moving Beyond Black in this issue), produces crisp, smudge-resistant text, graphics and logos, along with in-spec, single- and two-dimensional bar codes.