Barcode Printing Machines
General Purpose Printers
General purpose printers, especially laser printers, are excellent for
producing bar code labels on sheets of pre-cut labels or on continuous feed
labels. Obviously, for anyone needing extremely high quantities of bar codes
on a daily basis thermal transfer printers with their high speed would be
better, but for many users general purpose printers, especially laser
printers, are preferably.
Laser printers are also perfect for creating bar codes on documents, such
as medical and legal records, coded "mail-merge" letters, etc.
Imagesetters, such as Linotronic printers, are used to create high quality,
2540+ dpi, film positives and negatives for commercial printing. With
general purpose printers, including laser, desk top, ink jet, ion
deposition, dot matrix and imagesetter, the software used is critical to
ensuring readable symbols.
There is a wide variety of software packages for creating symbols using
general purpose printers. Unfortunately, many of these packages are capable
of producing symbols with totally unacceptable quality.
Thermal Transfer Bar Code Label Printers
The most widely used technologies for dedicated bar coding systems are
direct thermal and thermal transfer printing. Both technologies use a heated
print-head to create the image on the label, however, they are suited to
It is most important with this type of printer to make sure that you follow
the manufacturer's recommendations for setting up the printer and testing
the bar codes. Direct thermal and thermal transfer printers require specific
settings for best results depending on the combination of label and ribbon
materials. The manufacturer will supply the directions for the correct
adjustment for your printer type.
It is also very important to verify bar codes using an ANSI based verifier.
This should be done after any change in the label material or any change in
the printer or it settings. It should also be done or a regular basis to
ensure quality is maintained and when printing a long run.
To maintain the quality of printed bar codes the manufacturer's directions
for cleaning the print head and guide surfaces should be followed. It will
also be necessary to replace the thermal print head eventually as these wear
out. When this happens the bar codes will no longer be readable as one or
more of the dot elements will not heat properly.
It is so important to verify printed symbols on a regular basis that some
thermal printers can be equipped with on-line verifiers. With thermal
printers the quality of the label design software you use will not effect
the quality of the printed bar codes. This is because the software is just
sending a command to print a bar code - a command that triggers the
printer's internal software to actually generate and print the correct bar