Barcodes are not just for use at the check-out counter when you’re buying groceries: This simple, decades-old technology has become more popular in recent years and is now one of the most widely used organizational building blocks across all businesses and industries.
Barcodes are used in all industries, from small retailers to manufacturers who sell and manufactured Retail products, Consumables products, also Warehousing, Shipping, etc.
Thermal barcode printers use a fixed-width print head that presses onto the label via a rubber roller called a platen. Between the print head and the label is a think thermal transfer ribbon, which is basically a polyester film that has been coated with a wax, wax-resin or pure resin “ink.”
The different types of resin are made to print on different labels for different applications, such as harsh environments. Wax ribbons are primarily for printing onto paper labels, but it is important to note that they must be kept in a dry environment, not subjected to chemicals or oil that would dissolve the wax image.
Wax-resin ribbons produce a finer image when paired with smooth paper or coated paper labels. Wax-resin is much more durable than wax, but should still avoid contact with water.
Pure resin ribbons are formulated to print onto plastic labels such as polyester and vinyl. Resin is designed to slightly dissolve into plastic surfaces, thus allowing it to become durable.
A barcode printer is a printer designed to produce barcode labels that can be attached to other objects. Barcode printers use either direct thermal or thermal transfer techniques to apply ink to labels. Thermal transfer printers use ink ribbons to apply the barcode directly to the label, while thermal transfer printers use heat to blacken the barcode onto the label.
While both are effective, barcodes produced from direct thermal printers are more likely to become unreadable if exposed to elements such as heat, sunlight, and chemicals, and therefore don’t have the longevity of barcodes made with thermal transfer. Because of the longevity of the barcodes produced thermal transfer printers, as well as their overall printing quality and higher expense of production materials, they tend to be more costly than direct thermal printers. Barcode printers can be used for small business to industrial use, and are most commonly used for shipping products.