Successful data collection technology is highly dependent on the quality of its software and hardware. However, there are essential consumable products such as labels and ribbons that are critical to data capture. RMS Omega has more than 17 years of experience in helping organizations choose the best products for their particular operations.
To be functional, barcode and RFID labels need to be legible, scannable and able to stay attached to the item. Although the quality of the printer and scanner can impact the functionality of the label, compliant readability usually begins with the characteristics of the label or tag itself. It pays to take the time to consult with experts such as the specialists at RMS Omega for help in choosing the right product for each situation.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Barcode and RFID Labels
No matter what the business, there are always challenges to the performance of the label. RMS Omega understands how important it is to go through a checklist for each kind of operation to identify possible risks. Such detailed up front work means that the decisions made will prevent problems and protect the labels.
Whether it is a hospital lab processing specimens or a warehouse receiving, storing and shipping items, the environment itself can compromise the integrity of the labels:
- Direct sunlight
- Extreme temperatures
- Exposure to chemicals
Some processes are particularly hard on labels, including:
- X-rays and other imaging
3. Unique Specifications
Particular operations might have special requirements such as:
- Speed requirements for processing
- Volume of preprinted labels
- Size of items to be labeled
- Kinds of surface that resist adhesion
- Format such as wristbands for patient identification
- Storage space difficult to access for scanning
- Safety and security issues
No one wants inaccurate test results, lost shipments, inefficient production, or non-compliance due to degrading barcode or RFID labels. In order to prevent or eliminate such a risk, there must be a thorough discussion of the typical environments and the handling, storage and transportation processes. The more information considered the more effective is the decision about the kind of label and printing process.
Barcode Labeling Options
There is a wide range of barcode and RFID product options for the actual labels. RMS Omega can arrange to meet any and every need with a cost effective, high quality labeling solution. After a thorough review of the environment, the following products might be suggested:
- Cold storage labels with cold-temp permanent acrylic adhesive which will adhere to plastic and can resist moisture if going through freeze and thaw cycles
- FDA compliant labels for direct and indirect contact with food
- Reflective labels for long range laser scanning of upper level racks
- Labels with adhesive that works on oil, greasy or dirty surfaces
- Labels for healthcare facilities and laboratories to withstand sterilization, autoclaves, centrifuges, UV light, X-rays and MRI
- Labels with permanent acrylic adhesive that can adhere to the small curved surface of a specimen vial
- Wristband labels for accurate patient identification and safety
- Pre-printed labels with variable data and barcodes
- Digital artwork to make the product stand out
- Cover-up labels for misprints, price reductions or any other changes to data
RFID Labeling Options
For some operations, it is more efficient to use RFID labels that provide information through radio waves at various frequencies. The RFID technology can be passive, waiting to be read, or can be actively transmitting data. Unlike barcode labels, the RFID labels can be read without being in the sight line of the reader. An RFID solution is particularly useful in these situations:
- Use of UHF tags for capturing data from a distance or behind other items
- Very rapid data collection and aggregation on stock levels, location and any other information requested
- Harsh environments with excessive dirt, dust, moisture, and extremes of temperatures
- Security for high mobile items such as library books or retail inventory
Thermal Transfer Ribbon Options
Both barcode and RFID data can be printed on direct thermal labels or thermal transfer labels. With the direct thermal solution heat is applied directly to the surface of the chemically coated surface of the label, producing the image. In the thermal transfer process, a durable polyester ribbon coated with dry thermal transfer ink is placed between the printer head and the label. The ink is then melted onto the surface of the label when it adheres as it cools. The ribbon is peeled away, leaving a stable, passive image.
It might appear that the possibilities are endless and overwhelming. However, the team at RMS Omega knows how to navigate the options. They first develop a profile of the operational processes, volume of items needing labels, actual data to be captured, type of ribbon needed for printer, layout of the facility, any environmental concerns and any safety and security issues.
Then, they consider the costs of these consumable products. All options are analyzed for cost effectiveness calculated according to the volume of labels needed, special features that are requested and various degrees of quality. Also, the labels and thermal transfer ribbons should be compatible with existing printers and scanners so there are not unnecessary hardware costs for startup.
Only at that point are the RMS Omega specialists prepared to scan the products provided by their trusted manufacturer partners and recommend a labeling solution. They can also set up an auto-ship or on-demand system to keep the customer supplied with labels and ribbons so they never run out of these essential consumable supplies.
RMS Omega recommends premium printing supplies and labels from Zebra Technologies. Genuine Zebra supplies provide the largest selection of pre-tested, high-quality labels, tags, receipt paper, wristbands, cards and ribbons designed for virtually any application. Contact RMS Omega for assistance selecting the right supplies for your business.