A guide to barcodes and printing Part1

We are quite used to seeing the familiar bar codes on products which are parallel, adjacent bars and are found on many products. The ones with which we are most familiar with are on the products found in the retail environment, particularly supermarkets.

Barcodes have been used for many decades now and initially were used in transport and warehousing, as well as manufacturing. Today with the rise in technology and computing, barcoding has become an indispensable tool for business operations, used for many purposes including provide immediate and accurate data collection.

Over the years many industries have development standards to ensure product identification that meets their particular industry standard and compliance within their respective industry. The main advantages that barcoding offers over the manual input of price or other data is accuracy of the information. The data which is stored on the barcode is directly and immediately transferred to the computer or checkout.

Using barcodes on products ensures that customers get a better service; management has the benefit of capital and stock control, which keeps labour costs down. A wide variety of materials can be used on products to ensure that they can withstand the rigours of warehousing, as well as being readable after the product may have been subjected to high or low temperatures and other environmental factors.

Why do I need high quality barcode labels?

The answer would probably be, it all depends upon what the barcode is to be used on and the purpose of the barcode. If it is simply to price a product, then paper labels will usually satisfy most environments, but if it is for asset tagging or for industrial applications, something more robust may be required.

For example, high quality, durable barcodes can resist corrosion, heat, cold, UV light and solvents. They might be listed as warehouse barcode labels, industrial use barcode labels and polyester barcode labels. Of course the durability of the barcode label is not restricted to the kind of material it is printed on. Printing is also paramount so we can use the correct printing for the purpose. For example, thermally printed labels are scratch-resistant and more durable than some ordinary labels.

We have been supplying long lasting barcode labels with a wide range of adhesive backings; these can be supplied as ceramic, aluminium and polyester. Another material used for high quality long lasting barcode labels is aluminium. These will resist moderate wear and tear and corrosive chemicals.

With our wide selection of “pre-sized” dies for printing your barcode labels, this means that costs can be kept down and we also have very modern and sophisticated digital label press and finishing equipment. This has resulted in reduced production costs, a saving which we have passed onto our customers.

The value of choosing the right label material

Here at Data Label we readily understand that choosing the label material can play a big role in helping draw customers to your product and for many reasons it is important that the correct label material is used.

The label is not just something that your customer, or potential customer looks at, no they pick products up in their hands, they may feel the label and in the same way that the shelf stacker does, it would if it was the wrong material, show signs of distress or wear. Your product will not look particularly striking if it is grubby and turning up at the corners, because a sub-standard material or adhesive was used.

As a product manufacturer you will have gone to a great amount of trouble creating your item, and maybe the design team has come up with a striking design, but label material is just as important as all of the other design factors.

At Data Label we have for over 25 years helped numerous businesses’ make the right choices to enhance their products, by using the right label material and an adhesive that is suitable for the sales environment.

We will be happy to help by both sending us an email, or telephoning and speaking to one of our advisors; the right label is waiting with us, just right for you.

Tamper Evident Asset Tags

Companies have assets, these assets need to be protected and also they have to be tracked to ensure that they are safe, secure and doing the job for which they are intended. A very efficient way to keep your assets intact, secure and prevented from being tampered with is to use tamper evident asset tags.

We are able to supply a range of asset tags that will clearly show if any item of property has been interfered with. These tags can for example read “void” others will be completely destroyed if removal is attempted. We are sure that your company along with other organisations face a significant challenge to track the location, quantity, condition and status of their property, equipment and fixed assets. Asset tags will and tamper evident tags will discourage the potential thief or person wanting to tamper with your items.

We can supply asset tags and tamper evident tags in a wide range of materials, sizes and designs, with a permanent adhesive making them extremely difficult to remove, or visibly tampered with. Our asset tags offer real value for money, you will not have to “buy twice” by using Data Label assets tags, quality pays!

Three distinct types of barcode label

The pricing and selling of goods has been made much simpler since the introduction of barcode labels just a few decades ago. Generally the barcode is printed onto the product at the time when this is in its final stages and a label is attached, but there are also barcode labels available which can be affixed to any product at any point in the product’s life-cycle.

The most common barcode label used after a product has been completed is the standard stick on label which is an adhesive backed paper one. These can be supplied on rolls or A4 sheets and it is possible to use the barcode for pricing, stock taking or keeping track of an item.

If you need a more durable barcode for an item such as an appliance or machine, we would recommend that a polyester label is used. This material will withstand moderate amounts of wear and tear, perfect for using on items that can be subject to moisture and moderate handling. The barcode on a polyester barcode label is embedded under a layer of plastic and the label bonded to the surface using a semi-permanent adhesive.

For a completely durable barcode label aluminium is the best medium for factory and warehousing use as the aluminium will withstand frequent abrasion, some types of chemicals and many years of use without the image being affected.

Whatever condition an item is likely to be subjected to, we will have the material, adhesive and printing technique to cope with it. Contact us and we will be happy to discuss your special barcoding label needs.

Durable warehouse labels in the UK

We understand the importance of running an efficient warehousing operation, and we can put at your disposal our experience of producing and printing warehouse labels. Here at Data Label we can find a solution to any warehouse labelling requirement that you want. We apply stringent quality checks on all our products and we realise the importance of having a warehouse label that will withstand all the rigours of products being moved around on pallets.

We fully understand that a ware house label is likely to be a small run, but we are geared up to cater for this and we also have a range of sizes that we are sure will accommodate your exact needs. The labels that we produce for you can be customised to include barcodes, logos if needed, text or other information.

Whatever type of warehouse labels you need, in any size, shape or colour, Data Label will have an answer. With our digital printing operation we are ideally suited for the manufacture of small to large sized runs of custom printed warehouse labels. These can be supplied to you on rolls or separately whichever you prefer. With our extensive experience of producing and printing warehouse labels Data Label can provide a solution for all your warehouse labelling requirements.

Food labelling Requirements

The labelling of food items has changed over a number of years now and there are some regulations which are mandatory. In 2011 the EU drew up a set of new requirements which has been designed to bring food and nutritional labelling the same for all member countries.

It has been law in this country for a number of things to be printed on a label and these are; the manufacturers name and contact details, name of the product, description of the product, except in the case of bread for example, the ingredients must be displayed in descending order of weight, cooking or heating instructions, storage and shelf life, place of origin, and allergy information.

The new regulations set out by the EU in 2011 are broadly similar, but they did not apply until 2014 and with nutrition labelling becoming mandatory in 2016, most UK manufacturers had already complied with this. Also agreed the minimum font size has been set for all mandatory information on most food labels. Simplified information may be provided voluntarily on front of pack. The types of vegetable oil used in food, for example such as palm oil, must be stated.

Drinks with high caffeine content will have to be additionally labelled as not recommended for children or pregnant and breastfeeding women, with the actual caffeine content quoted.

Portable Appliance Testing Labels

Health and Safety regulations require that electrical appliances are safe and maintained to prevent harm to workers. This is normally required to be done on a yearly basis to ensure that the item continues to be safe to use.

Companies carrying out these test have to fix a label to the item so that the product can be found and identified easily in the future, normally showing the date when the next test is due. Although many companies use an outside contractor, the cost can be quite expensive particularly if a lot of items are involved; a care home is one example where hundreds of residents’ televisions, radios lamps etc., have to be tested to ensure that they are safe.

Many care home providers and commercial and industrial work places now have an “in house” person to undertake this task checking on items such as computers, desk lamps and in factories things such as portable drills and floor cleaning machines.

However more often than not an electrical appliance company is involved and they will fix asset tags with barcodes on them to identify and when they return, they will have a previous record of the device.

We offer bespoke PAT inspection labels which can be bar-coded and also have the name of the test company for reference to call when needed again.

From simple beginnings to digital printing

Labels have been around for a very long time, it is believed that they were first used about 400 years ago and then of course the label would have been written by hand, or images cut into wood and the image pressed into the paper, using a press of some description. Gradually though the years and as a result of the industrial revolution, cylinder style printing was developed.

By the late 1970’s in Europe, the self-adhesive label began to appear and it was soon to gain around 7% of the market, today the figure is more than 40% and growing. Barcodes were beginning to be seen and it was the now defunct Fine Fare supermarket that put them onto the supermarket’s own label products.

As the demand for labels that would withstand rough handling, chemicals and water grew, so we saw the rise in the use of materials such as polypropylene. Manufacturers of high end products such as shampoos and toiletries wanted high quality printing for their items and the printing industry were quick to rise to the challenge and now digital printing is the way forward.

At Data Label we have kept in the forefront of label production and we are equipped with the very best digital printing technology, ready to meet today’s demand for high quality labels.

Get the most by using a QR code on your product

The QR code can be a great advantage to your company and to work for you it needs to be displayed prominently on the product. We have seen that the QR code can be printed in a variety of shapes, colour and sizes, have a picture embedded into and it is there always on display when your product is used.

The QR code can be printed any size, although obviously the larger the code the more likely it is to catch the attention of the consumer. However it can be printed in a discreet manner and we have noted some QR codes placed on a very familiar product that had been sited at the corner of the label and just 5mm square.

Similarly the QR code can be placed on both the back and the front of the product, for example a familiar household we have seen had the QR code discreetly placed on the front of the product and also on the back where the instructions and barcode had been sited. Now this can be the same QR code, or an entirely different one giving out a separate message.

We are now being asked to add QR codes to more product labels and it is easy to understand why. This code can carry far more information than the barcode being two dimensional; this allows QR codes to carry much more information in a smaller space.

If you have not used a QR code previously and would like more information, talk to us and we will be happy to explain the tremendous advantages that can be gained by using a QR code on your product label.

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