Bar code labels are everywhere today. These labels, including shipping labels and also thermal transfer labels, are a big reason that most of our packages get from one place to another. But the fact is that few people really understand the science of bar code labels and how they are manufactured. Read on to learn how these essential parts of the manufacturing and shipping process are made.
There are two basic kinds of labels used for these products: thermal transfer labels and direct thermal labels. They direct thermal type work with the use of paper that is heat sensitive. Your thermal printer will put heat onto the blank label. Then the label turns black. The paper is sensitive to heat, and as such, the label will have a reaction to sunlight, and also chemicals and heat. This is why direct thermal products are used for barcode labeling in short term situations. This would be the case with something like shipping labels. Thermal transfer labels must use a thermal transfer printer. The printer will apply ribbon ink onto the blank label. These sorts of labels are thought to be much more durable and will be able to take tougher environmental conditions.
Another aspect of bar code labels that must be understood is the concept of pressure sensitive adhesives, or PSA. Basically, this means that if you apply any pressure to the label, it will stick on a surface. There are all sorts of stickiness that will change based upon the environmental conditions, such as temperature, and also on such factors as whether or not you want the label to be able to be peeled off. Many labels have a high degree of stickiness. That is, they are intended to be left permanently on the surface and cannot be taken off.
The stickiness of bar code labels is done by treating them with a solution that is acrylic based. Companies should remember that many adhesives used with these labels will begin to lose their stickiness at about -10 C.
Also an important concept with bar code labels is that of auto ID data capture, or AIDC. AIDC is the process that happens when the label is scanned and information is then captured from it. With no AIDC, much of modern commerce would be thrown back 40 years. We would still have to enter information into ledgers by hand. This sort of manual entry is enormously expensive and wastes time. It also is very much subject to human error. The fact is that the advent of bar code label technology has allowed international commerce to occur much more quickly and efficiently. This means that more products are available to more consumers at a lower price.
The last part of bar code labels to know about is the back of the label - the smooth, adhesive-free piece of wax paper that the label sticks to before use. This is called the release liner. The liner needs to be sticky enough so that the label will stay there, but not so sticky that the label cannot be peeled off.
Written by Lawrence Reaves for Maverick Label - http://www.mavericklabel.com - providing quality labels and quality customer service since 1994!
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