TECHNOLOGIES USED BY BARCODE PRINTERS
Most home users know very well ink jet, laser and maybe even the old dot matrix printers. Unfortunately, to adequately print barcode labels at industrial and professional levels a special type of barcode printers is needed, specifically designed for this kind of task. Common limitations for the technologies mentioned before include lack of flexibility and not enough quality of the barcodes printed. Also, durability is an issue to consider at industrial levels.
Let us explore the first technology used by barcode printers: dot matrix printing. This technology uses a pin to transfer pigment from a ribbon onto the paper or printing surface. Unfortunately, this technology is very inaccurate to print barcodes so it is rarely used for this purpose.
Another technology is ink jet printing. It functions by spraying ink onto the label surface at very high speeds. Although more advanced than dot matrix printing, barcode printers that use this technology are not reliable for industrial use.
Laser printing is a more advanced technology. It is more accurate but at the same time more expensive than dot matrix and ink jet technologies. This kind of system is used to print papers that need barcodes on them, unfortunately, for heavy industrial use this technology is very expensive because it causes a large waste of material, because laser barcode printers have limitations to print small labels.
Finally we arrive to the technology of choice for barcode printers, the thermal technology. There are two types of thermal technologies, direct thermal and thermal transfer printing, both have advantages and limitations, but both are commonly selected before any of the technologies mentioned above for industrial applications. Direct thermal uses heat sensitive labels that turn black upon contact with heat, thermal transfer uses heat to transfer ink onto the media to produce the barcodes. The former is less expensive but not as durable as the later. So for choosing which one is better for you, other several factors need to be considered.