Barcode Label Problems

Occasionally barcodes are unable to be scanned due to poor quality barcode labels, which is related to the quality and resolution of the label printer (which should be at least 200dpi), the formatting of the label and the direction which it is printed. Such formatting and print direction is the cause of a lot of barcode reading problems that usually aren’t suspected by most.

When using thermal barcode printers, barcodes are created via hundreds of tiny heating elements in the print head that cause label stock to turn black when heated. Thermal transfer printers heat up and cool off quickly, but not uniformly, causing irregularities in the leading and trailing edges of characters, images or lines on the label.

When the lines of the barcodes are parallel to the movement of the label through the barcode printer, the edges of like bars are straight and crisp, allowing for maximum read capability. This way of printing barcodes is sometimes referred to as a picket fence.

When the lines of a barcode are perpendicular to the direction of the label through the barcode printer, the lines tend to become slightly fuzzy and irregular, making it more difficult to read. This type of less-preferred printing is sometimes referred to ladder printing.

By controlling the format and printing of the label, you can easily improve the readability of your barcode.

This post was based of a Socket Communications, Inc. White paper.