Integrated Barcode Printing
BCC Distribution delivers complete integrated barcode printing solutions as a stand-alone system or part of larger solution that utilizes RF scanning and SAP® integration. BCCD develops and delivers barcode label and forms solutions utilizing SAP’s native, SAP Script and Smart Forms tools. For companies that require a more flexible, user friendly (WYSIWYG) software product, with additional functionality that integrates with SAP® ERP; BCCD implements, programs and supports BarTender design and printing software.
Printers & Supplies
– Documents, Labels, Barcode, Compliance, RFID, and more.
– Stationary, Mobile/Portable, and Automatic Printing Systems
– Location & Warehouse Labeling – Magnets, Long Range Placards, Removable Labels, and more.
Barcode Labels, Forms, and Document Design and Printing Software including SAP integration.
SAP® Smart Forms, SAP Script, & Adobe® Forms
SAP software tools to design and print barcodes labels, documents and forms.
Thinking about Barcode Printing
When businesses start planning their barcode labeling applications, they often try to modify their existing office printing systems to do the job. Existing office technologies such as laser, ink jet, and dot matrix printers can be made to address barcode printing needs, there are other factors to consider in designing and implementing a printing system that achieves and maximizes productivity gains, quality improvements, reliability, and material savings.
Vertical Markets & Printing Technologies
Manufacturing, Warehousing, Distribution Centers, Life Science, Pharmaceutical and Healthcare, Food and Beverage, Consumer Goods, Retail, Government, Legal, Non-Profit, Automotive, and Logistics.
– Printer Technologies
– Thermal Label Printers: Thermal Transfer (permanent, ribbon) | Direct Thermal (short term, no ribbon)
– Mobile Printers: Direct and Thermal Transfer
– RFID (Radio Frequency Identification): UHF Encoding often supplemented with Printing
– Laser: Document, and Form Printers
– Inkjet: Document, Form and Label Printers
– Dot Matrix (Impact) and Line Matrix Printers
– Color Printing: Inkjet, Laser, Thermal, and Custom Color-Infused Media
– Printer Applicator: Automatic Print and Apply Label Applicator
– Printed Materials (Supplies)
– Receipts, Labels, Barcodes, Tags, RFID Inlay (print and encoded), Documents, Forms and Multi-Part Form,
Product Identification Label, Work Orders, Bill of Lading, Purchase Orders, Barcode Labels, Rack and Storage Location Labels, Hang-Tags, Floor Tags, Retroreflective Labels, Inventory Lists, Packing Slips, 2-Sided Documents, Color Labels, Serial Number Plates, Shipping Labels, Compliance Labels, and Laboratory, Blood Bank, and Pharmacy labeling.
When leveraging industry leading barcode label software, you gain access to ready-to-use barcodes based on approximately 100 barcode symbologies, over 400 predefined formats, and many barcode standards.
|Linear (1D) Barcode Symbologies|
Code 128 Codabar Code 39Code 93
EAN-8 & EAN-13
GS1-128, DataBar, & Interleaved 2-of-5
JAN-8 & JAN-13
2D, Matrix, & Stacked Symbologies
GS1 Composite, DataBar, Data Matrix, QR, MaxiCode, & Micro QR Code
Compliance & Regulatory Labeling
GHS – The Globally Harmonized System for Hazard Communication and Labeling of Chemicals developed by Occupational Safety & Health Administration (United States Department of Labor & OSHA)
UDI – FDA established unique device identification system to adequately identify medical devices through their distribution and use.
PTI – Produce Traceability Initiative sponsored by Canadian Produce Marketing Association, GS1 US, Produce Marketing Association and United Fresh Produce Association, is designed to help the industry maximize the effectiveness of current traceback procedures, while developing a standardized industry approach to enhance the speed and efficiency of traceability systems for the future.
UID – Unique identification: A system of establishing globally unique and unambiguous identifiers within the Department of Defense
GS1- barcoding standardization to identify, capture and share supply chain data- ensuring important information is accessible, accurate and easy to understand.
RFID- radio-frequency identification uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects individually or numerous items simultaneously.
Communication & Interface Capabilities
Even though a barcode printer can be a specialized tool, it does not need to represent a special burden to IT support or operations. Barcode printers have available parallel, serial (RS-232), twinax, coax, Ethernet, USB, Bluetooth, and 802.11 interfaces for connection to any enterprise IT environment.
Speed / Throughput
Barcoding is a sophisticated print operation that requires a specialty printer. While there are many printer models available to satisfy different user requirements for volume, speed, symbologies, materials, interfaces, and other features, not all printing technologies are created equal. A critical and often overlooked component of print speed is the time to print the first label. This is the amount of time that the print job will have to process, or buffer, to enable the printer to receive and generate the document, form or label. A good example of this first document print speed is at any retail operation where you make a purchase: fuel, groceries, restaurant, etc. When you complete your purchase, how long does it take the person or machine to generate your printed receipt? An inferior technology or improper printing process will easily demonstrate wasted time.
Thermal technology is typically measured in IPS – inches per second. Laser technology is measured in PPM- pages per minute. Laser printing can average rates in excess of 30 PPM. Thermal printing is capable of printing from 2 IPS up to 14 or even 16 IPS. A common thermal print speed on traditional label media, using 200 or 300 dpi resolution is from 6 to 8 IPS. Unless the operational process uses an automatic label applicator or has a label rewinder, the printing technology will generally be capable of printing faster than an operator can handle the printed labels.
Print resolution is driven by the requirements of the application. The leading considerations for finding the right print resolution can motivated by factors such as print speed requirements (or throughput), font size and graphics/images, buffering capabilities of the printer used, and the physical media used by the printer. One of the largest factors is the total cost of ownership. Typically, the higher the print resolution, the higher the printing cost; in equipment investment, cost of maintenance and upkeep, and the price of the media used in that printing technology.
– Monochrome thermal label printers offer print resolutions of 200, 300, and up to 600 dpi (dots per inch.)
– Laser and inkjet printer technology has the capability to print from as about 300 dpi up to 4800 dpi (2400 x 600 dpi).
Document, Form, and Label Life Cycle Requirement
Used for the day, 30-days, 1-year, or permanent use. The longevity of a form is driven by the materials selected to printing that form. Receipt printing, for example, is used as a short-term record that is a chemically treated paper material that is activated by heat during printing (direct thermal printing). Thus, sun and heat exposure will cause images and text to blur and fade. On the other end of the spectrum, synthetic materials printed via a thermal transfer process (with high resin thermal ribbon) will have a very long lifecycle and will withstand environmental conditions such as abrasion, sun, rain, heat, and cold.
Temperature, Moisture/Humidity, UV (sun) Exposure, Particulates, and Chemicals
Integration & Automation
Integrated printing, aka an enterprise printing system:
Many printing applications are “hard coded” (or embedded) into a software system using templates and/or printer code. While this configuration is common and printing execution is fast and direct, this architecture is not very flexible and requires programming expertise to troubleshoot and/or make any modifications.
A more ideal enterprise printing system includes the use of middleware (commonly called label or barcode software) specifically designed for document label design and printing. This configuration is agnostic to the host system software, as well as the printing technology used. It is easy to use and has tools that allow for simple integration plus efficient licensing structures.
Design and Printing Software
Barcode printers are designed to print labels and typically have printer drivers for integration into applicable operating system applications, so they don’t require specialized programming knowledge to create the desired output. Labeling software packages make it simple to enable barcode printing and can automatically encode data, size and generate barcode symbols, simplify label layout and design, perform data integrity checks, and interface with a variety of database and ERP applications (such as SAP) to gather the data necessary to generate barcode labels. These features eliminate hours of unnecessary and expensive programming time to develop special graphics and data handling applications, which other print technologies may require for barcode output.
Drivers for Investment (see image below)
Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC) industry research conducted by VDC Research Group identified:
- Enterprises invest in barcode technologies to satisfy the requirements of their trading partners, industry or government regulatory agencies.
- Enterprises increasingly viewing barcoding as the key to process improvement and cost savings.
- Barcode technologies are a relatively low cost, viable source of competitive differentiation.
- Barcoding will continue to exist alongside disruptive technologies for generations to come, and will continue to be the AIDC technology of choice for a growing list of core process applications.
Printing Technology – Laser, Cut Sheet
Laser printers work much like a photocopier; it projects controlled streams of ions onto the surface of a print drum, resulting in a charged image. The charged image then selectively attracts toner particles, transferring the image onto the paper substrate by means of pressure. The pressure from the print head and drum then fuse the image to the paper, creating the image.
Laser printers are good at producing plain-paper documents that require barcodes with a high density and resolution. They can also print high-quality text and graphics on paper documents and can double as a document printer when not being used to print barcodes.
However, laser printers can be wasteful because they cannot produce single or small labels. A minimum of half a page of media is typically required for the printer to maintain control of the sheet. Additionally laser printers are not well suited for handling labels with adhesives because of the stability under the heat and pressure of the fuser, often resulting in adhesive seeping into the printer mechanism.
Important considerations with laser printers are toner, drum, and supply costs when printing barcodes in addition to typical text. While text printing requires only about five percent black toner, barcodes can exceed 30 percent to ensure proper contrast between dark and light elements.
Printing Technology – Thermal Printers
Thermal printing quality provides total cost of ownership (TCO) advantages over other print technologies. Because printheads and other components are designed for printing bar code labels rather than documents, labeling operations will not add excessive wear to the equipment or require premature repair and replacement. Using non-thermal printers results in more time being spent replacing parts, setting up new printers, clearing label jams, and swapping plain paper and label media, which reduces productivity and adds to the cost of the printing system. Additionally, industrial thermal printers are built to withstand dirt, dust, moisture, and vibration, so exposure to these conditions will not shorten the printer’s life span.
Thermal printers run reliably and can produce bar codes and labels without special handling, which provides numerous ongoing costs-saving and efficiency advantages. The advantages begin for the IT staff that installs and supports hardware or develops applications, and extend to the operators who use the printer on a regular basis.
Thermal printing is classified as either direct thermal or thermal transfer. The two technologies are suited to different applications. Direct thermal printing utilizes chemically coated paper. The print head heats an area directly on chemically coated paper. This produces a reaction that causes a black dot/image to form. Thermal transfer printers use the same basic technology as direct thermal printers, but replace the chemically coated label material with a non-chemical label stock and instead use an inked ribbon which transfers onto the label surface from the same heated element in the print head.
Direct thermal printers are simple to operate compared to most other print technologies, with no ink, toner, or ribbon to monitor or replenish. However, direct thermal printing is sensitive to environmental conditions such as heat and light.
Thermal transfer delivers crisp, high-definition text, graphic, and bar code print quality for maximum readability and scannability, in addition to long life image stability. Thermal transfer printers are typically built more durably than dot matrix or laser printers, allowing reliable operation in industrial as well as office applications.
Examples of Thermal Printers
|Zebra ZT series printer are designed for ease of use, is offered in both 4” and 6” print widths, and is constructed using an all-metal frame and bi-fold door. This printer integrates well, is a reliable label printer and is ideal for Manufacturing, Transportation & Logistics, Retail, and Healthcare.|
|Zebra mobile printers are designed to optimize business processes through easy operation and mobility — reducing training requirements and increasing worker productivity. These 2’, 3” and 4” thermal mobile label and receipt printers have a proven drop-resistant durability, are user-friendly, have productivity-boosting features and enable straightforward network integration.|