Tips for Barcode Printing on Wristbands

barcode wristbandSince wristbands are often curved in nature and there is limited space for printing, printing on wristbands can be challenging. The following are some basic guidelines on barcode printing on wristbands:

1) Manage the Symbol Size
Often times, information that Hospital administrators would like to include in the barcode is far too much in relation to the wristband space. While 1-D barcodes cannot always fit all of the information, they can be scanned by all types of barcode readers, unlike 2-D barcodes which can fit more information, but require a 2-D capable scanner. In addition, when the end of the barcode curve around patients wrists, it is difficult to scan, thus, it is necessary to choose a barcode symbology that will fit on the flat part of the wristband, but also hold all of the necessary information.

Rather that choosing a UPC code, which is commonly used in retail applications, it would be wise to choose a dense barcode symbology, such as Code 128, which can hold a lot of information in a small amount of space.

2) Optimize Scanning Performance and Image Durability
Since patients’ wristbands go through a lot of wear and tear, barcode durability is crucial. In addition, exposure to alcohol or other solvents can cause the barcode to become unreadable. By printing on a direct thermal printer with the proper settings recommended by the manufacturer, fading can be decreased, increasing durability and scanning performance.

3) Calibrate to Avoid Waste
Since the wristband is a delicate media, it’s important to properly calibrate your barcode printer to accommodate the dimensions of the band, making sure they print properly aligned. Printing labels requires a different setting than wristbands, so be sure to consult your printers manual in order to get the proper settings and configurations for optimum printing.

Source: Zebra Technologies White Paper