Phil Deller, Business Development Manager at GSM Graphic Arts discusses the importance of rugged barcode labels within the warehousing and logistics industry, placing particular focus on how continued investment within the technology could see companies around the world reap the benefits for years to come.
What is a Rugged Barcode Label?
In simple terms, a rugged barcode label is used as an extremely durable way of uniquely identifying an item for recording and traceability purposes. This type of barcode works in exactly the same way that a standard barcode does but boasts a vastly improved level of durability. Where a standard barcode may be perfectly suitable for most types of packaging, there are some cases when a more robust form of barcode is required, especially when transporting goods which may come into contact with particularly harsh environments or transporting goods over long distances.
Investment in Rugged Barcode Labels
There has been a heavy emphasis from companies around the globe on ensuring that rugged barcode labels are used to the maximum potential in recent years. The industry as a whole has continually invested in labelling innovation, with frequent testing and experimentation taking place to ensure the final product is able to stand the test of day to day operational pressures within the warehousing and logistics sector.
Barcode technology is integral to modern warehousing, but while many warehouses utilise the technology, many could upgrade the quality of their labels to ensure that their product can still be read and included in their databases.
Benefits of Rugged Barcode Labels
There are a whole host of benefits that rugged barcode labels can bring to your business. In this section, we will discuss some of the most prominent.
Optimising your warehouse with durable barcodes is one of the easiest ways to save time by reducing any scanning issues, improving stock visibility in databases, and improving the tracking of items undergoing transportation. Gone are the days of your staff struggling to scan an item with a damaged barcode, wasting precious time.
Many products need labels that are built for rugged environments, which means creating the technology needed to produce sturdy, hard-wearing labels for a range of products. With such emphasis being placed on ensuring all barcodes maintain a high level of quality for a long period of time, the technology has been developed with longevity in mind.
A rugged barcode may be required to display two-dimensional data matrixes, interleaved codes, QR codes or universal product codes. Therefore, labels must be able to display a variety of information, which requires strong design work in the planning phases.
How Do You Create A Rugged Barcode Label?
Creating the perfect rugged barcode requires the label to be created from a suitable base material, though this will change depending on the application so it is vital that there is good communication about product intent.
An anodised aluminium barcode is perfect for environments in which a scruff resistant barcode is required or where a rigid tag is preferable. Alternatively, a stainless-steel base may be recommended if the barcode needs to withstand high-temperature applications or for applications where harsh solvents, fuel or oils may be present.
There are also a variety of solutions for displaying the information on the label, which can be recommended dependent on the label’s anticipated environment. Etched stainless-steel rugged barcodes may greatly benefit your product’s longevity.
In many cases, under-surface digitally printed plastic labels will be more cost efficient and perfectly suitable for your intentions. Combined with a durable finish and a clear substrate, plastic barcodes can be very visually pleasing.
Finally, you will decide on the adhesive of the rugged barcode. For an aluminium or stainless-steel plate, holes for a mechanical fixing may be incorporated at the design phase. Alternatively, a high-quality self-adhesive tape may be enough.
GSM Graphic Arts is one of Europe’s largest manufacturers of high-quality labelling products and manufactures a range of specialist labels, nameplates, graphic overlays and rugged barcode labels using many different processes and substrates, including most metals and plastics.