DRIVING FACTORS FOR GOOD GRADES:
MATERIALS, PRINT TECHNOLOGY AND SIZING
Scanning Data Matrix Barcode Labels
As supply chain transparency and part traceability continue to gain traction, barcode scannability becomes vital to the process. Throughout the evolution of variable print, Tailored Label Products has maintained our focus on innovation by combining engineering, design, quality and development in analyzing available options and new trends, ultimately positioning ourselves and our customers for success.
CHALLENGE: Small Data Matrix Barcode, Several Laboratory Barcode Labels
A global life sciences customer looked to TLP for testing expertise as they reworked their labeling infrastructure to account for their traceability initiatives. The customer planned to be able to print a variety of bottle and packaging labels in full color on-site using an Epson brand ink jet printer.
Three specific challenges arose.
- First, the labels must adhere to many different size bottles, buckets and containers.
- Second, the labels must adhere to a variety of different surfaces, including glass, HDPE, polypropylene, polyethylene, flexible packages and plastic bags.
- Lastly, the customer was currently printing a 0.25” x 0.25” data matrix code on each label and needed the code to scan at a high grade.
SOLUTION: Testing Confirms Standardized Size & Material
TLP’s Life Science Application Engineer got to work specifying and testing a new ink-jet printable material that would adhere in all application options. While the original tests passed all adhesion requirements, the scan grade of the small Data Matrix code continued to persist. A second round in testing, this time checking a variety of sizing of codes revealed that in this case, in order to maintain a higher grade, the code size would need to increase. Lab samples successfully scanned an A grade for both 0.5” x 0.5” and 0.75” x 0.75”.
Tailored Label Products’ in-house test lab and third-party partner labs have the ability and know-how to recreate application samples to test a variety of options. In this case, the exact issue was defined and a solution was presented to the customer’s engineering and design team for review.
Extensive, qualitative testing is a prime way that Tailored Label Products works with customers to ensure a smooth transition to new material.
SINGLE SOLUTION, SIMPLIFIED PROCESS
Through research and testing, TLP was able to suggest a single new material option that could be used across a variety of application sizes and surfaces.
SCAN GRADE – A
Scan grades continued to improve as the size of the barcode increased. While not always a quick fix, in this case, code size was the determining factor.