Barcode label printing today
If you want excellent quality printed barcodes it is necessary to have a dedicated Zebra barcode label printer. Any printer that can print labels will print barcode labels with the right software, but the quality will vary from Dot Matrix to Ink Jet and from Laser to Zebra thermal transfer label printers. But, in almost every serious business situation having a dedicated Zebra barcode label printer makes sense.
Dedicated Zebra barcode label printers are designed to work with barcode software applications and with many types of barcode symbologies. They do an excellent job of printing accurate labels which at first glance may not seem like much. But, consider that the barcode is an intricate pattern that must meet exacting specifications in order for barcode readers to understand the code. Most shared document printers are not designed to meet these specifications. Yes, you can make a document printer work, but the time and cost in all but the simplest business situations is prohibitive.
Scotland in particular has been using Zebra barcode label printers for some time; this has been mainly due to the large number of electronics companies that have settles in Scotland. The most advanced barcode label printer at from a company called Zebra technologies. Zebra barcode printers have been installed in various Scottish companies from over 15 years. Zebra has pioneered the barcode printer and has made many advances over the years from the early Zebra barcode printers.
Zebra Barcode label printers can be segmented into three main categories based on their intended environment. They include:
1. Small offices where cost effectiveness is important and speed is not an essential requirement. These are the least costly if you are not printing labels often. Zebra have a desktop label printing solution for this sector.
2. Industrial applications such as hospitals and industry where reliability and durability are critical. These printers have the most flexibility when it comes to speed, label quantity, and type of media. They are constructed to work in harsher environments than the average office. Zebra have a industrial printing solutions for this sector.
3. Portable barcode printers where your needs are to print receipts at a customer site, prescriptions, or other types of forms. These portable printers sometimes use wireless connectivity, especially when used for credit card processing applications. A few of the more popular models work with portable Palm devices. Zebra have a portable printing solution for this sector.
Most Zebra barcode label printers use thermal direct or thermal transfer. In most cases, you want to use thermal transfer because direct thermal paper is sensitive to light and heat and will deteriorate over time. It is used mainly for mail labels. The thermal transfer process uses a ribbon that is run over a printhead to transfer the ink to the label, making a very reliable label.
Many dedicated Zebra barcode label printers come with WYSIWYG label design and printing software. For some, this is the best way to start. But you need to do a full evaluation of your needs to make sure you are getting what you need.
If you have a bigger organization you will probably need a professional label design software solution that works with many types of zebra barcode label printers and computers, and integrates well with your other applications.
You also need to consider if you want to print barcode fonts, or bitmaps. Which you decide upon will determine what kind of software you buy; the interfacing requirements would follow. The decision as to font or graphic is based on quality and flexibility. Good quality barcode fonts give you the best print quality, flexibility and control. They are easy to use, faster to print, and produce higher quality printed images. They also give you flexibility in heterogeneous computing environments. But, they may not be suitable for your situation if you are designing or printing barcode labels using a web application or browser. This is because the fonts have to be located on the local computer. However, solutions to this problem do exist.
In the end, putting together a bar coding system is relatively easy, but it does require careful planning. We recommend having a barcode coordinator and process in place to document all your barcode processes so others can step in. The coordinator will determine the requirements, analyze, design, and implement the barcode system. This is a fulltime effort that obviously requires a dedicated person or small team, depending on the complexity of the transition.
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