Barcode Printer Technology & Designs

By: Peter Bishop

A barcode is compiled of machine-readable information, which is commonly used on retail merchandise and other tangible products. Standard barcodes feature a series of printed parallel lines with numbers located just below. Barcodes are read by barcode scanners, which are also known as barcode readers.

A barcode printer is a computer device that is used for printing barcode labels or tags. Once a barcode label is printed, it can be affixed to physical objects, such as retail or shipping products. When browsing through a retail store, everything that you see will have a barcode. This set of numbers is used to identify the product, along with it?s price. A cashier will generally scan the barcode, which automatically rings up the price of the item and allows them to quickly move on to the next item.

Generally lightweight and portable in their design, barcode printers are a convenient office tool for any business needing barcode labels. Direct thermal printers, which is one of the technologies used among the barcode printing industry, require special thermal paper for printing. The thermal printing process begins when a printhead generates heat and causes a reaction in the thermal paper. From this reaction, the paper turns black in special areas to create a barcode.

Thermal transfer printers, which is another commonly used barcode printing product, uses heat differently. Instead of causing a reaction on the paper, the heat melts a special substance onto a ribbon, which glides over the label. The heat, in thermal transfer printers, transfers the ink onto paper.

Barcode printers are designed differently depending upon the market they are intended for. Large, industrial barcode printers are used in manufacturing and/or warehouse facilities. These printers are capable of producing a large quantity of barcodes in a short amount of time, which is why they are so prominently used in large businesses. They have a large paper capacity, which provides for more labels, operate much quicker than standard barcode printers and perform better over a longer period of time. For smaller environments, such as offices or retail centers, desktop barcode printers are commonly used to save space.

Barcode printers are available at most office supply stores, specialty business centers and at business liquidation sales. Prices vary depending on the model, performance and warranty that you select. Barcode printers are a good investment if you need to have an efficient way to distribute, manage or keep track of sales, revenue and reorders. Larger units are much more expensive, but work best in large warehouse settings. If you are in need of volume, a desktop barcode printer may not work well for you. On the other hand, if you need a solid and dependable, yet portable and lightweight unit, a desktop printer will work fine. Before choosing a printer, be sure to realistically assess your business needs, a reasonable budget and performance requirements. As with all business equipment, always select a reputable dealer and inquire about product warranties. Retain all warranty information, along with the owner?s manual, in case of future technical problems.

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