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Is Your Label Failing Compliance Testing? Here’s What to Do.

Posted by in Barcode Labeling Systems | May 04, 2018
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No one wants to deal with the headaches and potentially costly penalties of your product label being non-compliant with government, industry, or customer requirements.

Labels can be non-compliant for a number of reasons, including failures in label adhesion or failed resistance to conditions ranging from extreme temperatures or moisture to chemical exposure and abrasion.

Thankfully, there three easy ways to resolve label compliance testing failures.

Three Ways to Address Label Compliance Failure

  1. Work with your label vendor to find a solution, and make sure you’re working with a true expert in barcode labeling systems, supplies, and label compliance.

Many businesses make the mistake of buying generic labels from low-cost vendors who are merely resellers. These vendors carry basic labels and supplies for office use or for applications that don’t involve compliance requirements. They don’t have knowledge or experience in recommending and selling labels for other applications where compliance is critical.

Start by consulting with a label vendor that has extensive experience in label compliance. For example, our team at Tri-State Business Systems has over 20 years of experience in delivering barcode labels, supplies, and solutions to Fortune 500 companies and high-compliance industries such as pharmaceuticals, food production, and chemical manufacturing.

  1. Make sure you’re using the right label and materials for the job.

To ensure compliance, many labeling applications require specialized materials. When determining the right combination of materials and supplies, there are many options to consider, including thermal printers, ribbons, and label components such as the topcoat, facestock, adhesive, silicone lining, and release liner.

For example, direct thermal printing is fine for simple and shorter-term labeling and scanning applications, but direct thermal materials don’t offer much resistance to heat, light, abrasion, or chemicals. To address these challenges and ensure compliance when it comes to adhesion and durability, you may need to switch to thermal transfer printing and labels.

Thermal transfer uses ribbons to melt ink onto print media and produce durable, long-lasting images. Specialized thermal transfer labels also provide added protection against extremely high or low temperatures, UV and water exposure, chemicals, abrasion, scratching, and other types of damage.

You may also need different label materials and adhesives to deal with a variety of surface types or shapes, applicator uses, and print settings, such as different print speeds, darkness, and dots per inch (DPI).

  1. Make sure your vendor can deliver pre-tested and high-quality supplies with reliable quality controls to ensure labeling compliance.

At Tri-State, we recommend using Zebra labels and supplies exclusively. Zebra pre-tests all of its labels and supplies and uses consistent materials with absolutely no substitutions.

As an ISO 9001:2008 certified manufacturer, Zebra also has outstanding quality processes in place and puts all materials through stringent tests and analysis for verification of adhesive strength, assessment of printhead wear, and resistance to extreme environmental factors.

Zebra offers more than 1,000 combinations of labels, tags, receipts, wristbands, and ribbons, including more than 500 stock products. Its supplies include solutions designed specifically to meet a wide range of compliance requirements, including FDA, UL, IEC, CSA, automotive, military, and custom OEM specifications.

Zebra also offers guaranteed printhead protection. If you use Zebra printers and agree to use Zebra supplies exclusively, your printhead will be replaced at no cost if it ever needs to be replaced prematurely.

Taking the First Step with Tri-State Business Systems

To start solving your label compliance issues, contact our team at Tri-State. As a leading barcoding and labeling expert and a certified Zebra partner, we can help you quickly address label compliance failure and avoid costly penalties.

Call Tri-State Business Systems at 908-359-8001 or email us now.

How to Get Started with Barcoding

Posted by in Barcode Labeling Systems | April 27, 2018
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When you’re looking to get started with barcoding, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the many available options.

In this article, we provide simple and easy advice to avoid the confusion and help you quickly determine the right barcoding approach for your business.

On-Demand vs. Pre-Printed Labels

The first critical decision for barcoding is whether to invest in a barcoding system or purchase pre-printed barcode labels.

Pre-printed labels are useful in operations that require only a low volume of identical labels with fixed, non-variable data.

However, if you need to include variable information or data on each label, or you need to combine both text and barcodes, you’ll probably need to invest in a barcoding system. This system will include a printer, labels, and supplies so you can produce customized labels on demand.

Barcode Printing Technologies

If you need to invest in a barcoding system and print your own custom labels, you’ll need to determine the right printing technology to use.

Companies new to barcoding often gravitate toward familiar printing technologies such as laser, dot matrix, or ink jet printers. But these offer limited print speed and flexibility and usually don’t print labels durable enough for anything other than the most basic barcoding applications.

This is why direct thermal and thermal transfer printing are the most widely used print technologies for barcoding. Both methods use a heated printhead to create an image on a label, and they’re designed to meet enterprise-grade barcoding requirements.

Typically, direct thermal or thermal transfer will be used when labels need to be printed on demand with high-definition barcodes and when applications require variable data, durability, varying label sizes, or graphics and scalable text font sizes.

Direct thermal printing is ideal for applications where a label doesn’t need to last very long. Shipping labels and receipts are two common uses.

Direct thermal printers don’t use ink, toner, or ribbon, so they’re simpler to operate and don’t require supplies other than the material to be printed. Consequently, costs are lower as well.

However, direct thermal labels are extremely sensitive to environmental conditions such as temperature, light, chemicals, and abrasion. Because direct thermal paper remains chemically active after printing, thermal labels, tags, or other media are often top-coated to resist UV light exposure, chemicals, and abrasion. The top-coat helps make labels more resistant to heat and cold conditions as well.

Thermal transfer printing is matched with suitable media to create crisp, high-definition text, graphics, and barcodes for maximum readability, scannability, and resistance to heat, moisture, abrasion, rubbing, and chemicals.

Thermal transfer printers require a ribbon, so there’s a higher supplies cost. But thermal transfer printheads last longer than direct thermal printheads, which adds up to significant savings.

When using thermal transfer, the ribbon and label media must be compatible and carefully selected to avoid causing internal printer problems.

Choosing the Right Printer & Supplies

There are a number of major brands of barcode printers and supplies, but our barcoding experts at Tri-State Business Systems always recommend Zebra printing solutions.

Zebra is the barcoding industry’s undisputed leader in reliable, high-performance barcode printers and pre-tested, high quality supplies. From small, compact desktop or mobile printers to ultra-rugged industrial printers, Zebra’s devices offer the best quality at the lowest long-term cost.

Zebra is also unrivaled in its supplies selection and quality, with over 500 stock options and over 1,000 combinations of labels, ribbons, tags, and more.

Getting Expert Recommendations

If you’d like to make sure you make the right choices for your business, contact our team for a free consultation. Call Tri-State Business Systems at 908-359-8001 or email us now.

Answers to Your Barcoding Questions: Tri-State Business Systems

Posted by in Barcode Labeling Systems | April 27, 2018
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When you’re building a barcode labeling system or choosing barcode labels and supplies, the sheer number of options and choices can be overwhelming.

  • Are direct thermal printers and labels the right fit for your application, or will you need a thermal transfer solution?
  • Are paper labels good enough for the job, or will you need synthetic labels for more durability and resistance to liquids, chemicals, abrasion, or outdoor exposure?
  • Will you need a wax, resin, or mixed-ink ribbon to accommodate your print requirements?
  • How can you be sure your labels are compliant?

To get qualified answers to these questions, it pays to work with barcoding and labeling experts like our specialists at Tri-State Business Systems. We’ve been answering barcoding and labeling questions and providing expert advice for over 25 years.

Backed by experience serving the needs of Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies such as IBM and Bristol-Meyers-Squibb, we analyze labeling requirements and deliver the right solutions to meet business-critical needs.

Whether you’re tracking products and materials through your supply chain or labeling and scanning shipments or work in process, we deliver the barcode printers, scanners, labels, ribbons, and supplies to match your exact requirements.

Our specialists take a comprehensive approach that considers your business goals and examines how you’ll be using a barcode printing, scanning, and labeling system to achieve them.

This includes analysis of your specific printing and scanning requirements, so we can identify the right combination of label materials and supplies. Getting these right ensures that your labels will be readable, scannable, and will adhere to your assets and withstand your application and use conditions.

To deliver the best results at the lowest long-term cost, we recommend solutions and build systems using Zebra thermal printers and supplies. As the industry’s most trusted brand of printers, labels, ribbons, and supplies, Zebra consistently helps our clients maximize labeling and scanning performance while reducing downtime and total cost of ownership.

Combining Zebra printers and genuine Zebra supplies allows our clients to get exceptional labeling results while extending the life of their hardware investment and minimizing printhead replacement costs. As a certified Zebra partner, we also bring you Zebra solutions at the best available prices with verified technical expertise.

Our barcoding analysis and recommendations are thorough, but they’re also quick and timely for your business. Our extensive knowledge and experience allows us to recommend and install a complete Zebra barcoding solution in as little as 5 days.

We can also train your employees on your Zebra barcode printing software, so they can make correct and effective use of your system from the day it’s installed.

Once your system is in place, you’ll receive your future orders of standard barcoding supplies within 3 days. To help support your system, our maintenance and repair services deliver rapid response times and 24/7 availability if there is ever an issue.

It’s all part of our commitment to putting your business first and delivering the best possible service.

If you’d like to schedule a free analysis and assessment of your barcoding and labeling needs, or if you simply need a quote on high quality supplies that are right for your application, contact us today.

Contact Tri-State Business Systems at 908-359-8001 or email us now.

Tri-State Business Systems, LLC
P.O. Box 5615 Hillsborough, NJ 08844

Call Today! 908.359.8001

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