Image Credit: A Bar Code Business, Inc.
Bar code printers are used to output bar codes in printed form.
Types of Bar Code Printers
Bar code printers include several types of equipment.
Flexographic printers are often used to print on plastic, paper or cardboard. Flexography is a rotary-press printing technology that uses water-based inks.
Hot stamping machines use heat and pressure to apply an image onto a surface from a film that carries a thin leaf of color.
Line printers contain a chain of characters or pins that print an entire line at one time. They are very fast, but produce low-quality print.
Offset printers use a rubber cylinder to transfer an inked image from a printing plate to paper or other media.
Pad printers use silicone pads to print on contoured or difficult plastic surfaces. They are used for relatively small images, text and graphics.
Plotters are bar code printers that use a pen to produce line art and images on paper or other media.
Printing width, printing rate, and resolution are important performance specifications to consider when selecting bar code printers.
Bar Code Symbologies
Bar code symbologies are machine-readable representations of information stored in bars and lines. Choices include:
- Bookland EAN
- Code 1
- Code 11
- Code 128
- Code 16K
- Code 39
- Code 49
- Code 93
- European article numbering (EAN)
- Japanese article numbering (JAN)
- Industrial 2 of 5
- Matrix 2 of 5
- Standard 2 of 5
- Interleaved 2 of 5
Bar code printers that print composite symbologies are also available.
Bar code printers use various technologies.
- Daisy-wheel printers use a small wheel with a single pin for each character.
- Screen printers transfers an image onto a mesh screen by blocking out the surrounding area.
- Direct thermal printers use heat to set images on non-curling, smudge-proof, heavy-stock thermal paper.
- Thermal transfer printers use heat and pressure to transfer resin-based ink from tiny ribbons directly onto the paper.
- Ink jet printers spray ink droplets through a nozzle onto the page.
- Laser printers use a laser beam to produce an image on a drum.
- LED bar code printers and LCD bar code printers are similar to a laser printers, but uses light-emitting diodes (LED) or liquid crystal displays (LCD) to produce an image on the drum.
- Letterpress printers are simple printing presses that use a die with raised type to press text onto the page.
- Rotary presses are similar to letterpresses, but place the raised type on a roller instead of a flat die.
- Rotogravure printers use photographic techniques to produce the plate used for printing.
Media type - Some bar code printers are designed to handle single-sheet, fan-fold, or corrugated paper. Others can print on glass, metals, plastics, electronics, semiconductors, wood, or fabrics.
Interface - Bar code printers with a serial, parallel, Ethernet, or other digital interface can be integrated with front-end office equipment and personal computers (PCs).
Output signal - Printers that output signals according to industrial fieldbus protocols are commonly available.
Memory - Many printers have integral memory for data storage
Cutters for continuous forms, rolls, or webs
- Additional capabilities - Some bar code printers may provide color printing, copying or scanning capabilities
Bar code printers that are sold in Europe should meet the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) and Waste Electrical and Electronics Equipment (WEEE) directives from the European Union.
ANSI INCITS 182 - INFORMATION SYSTEMS - BAR CODE PRINT QUALITY - GUIDELINE
BS DD ENV 12648 - BAR CODING - TEST SPECIFICATIONS FOR BAR CODE PRINTERS
Related Products & Services
Computer Printers and Plotters
Computer printers and plotters are used to output industrial data in printed form.
Industrial Printing Equipment
Industrial printing equipment includes screen printers, pad printers and offset printers. These devices are used for applying inks and colors to packaging cartons, web or sheet material and other packaging supplies.
Ink Jet Printers
Ink jet printers project electrically charged droplets of ink onto a page. Types of ink jet printers include thermal and piezo.
Kiosk and POS Printers
Kiosk and POS printers are used with kiosks and point-of-sale (POS) systems such as electronic cash registers (ECR) and electronic funds transfer (EFT) devices.
Label printers are used to print a variety of labels or adhesive stamps. Most label printers are capable of printing bar codes.
Laser printers use a laser beam to produce an image on a drum that is rolled through a reservoir of toner. The beam is picked up by the charged portions of the drum to fuse the image onto paper.
Marking and Engraving Equipment
Marking and engraving equipment marks or engraves products and packages with bar codes, lot codes, date stamps, graphics, labels, and other information. Marks are applied during the manufacturing process, eliminating the need to generate labels or papers for subsequent application.