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Home » Graphics & Label Printing » Barcode Printing » Barcode Printing Machines

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 different applications.

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.
Laser Printer

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 code.

Bar Code Print Technology Matrix

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