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How to Add an Extra Layer of Mobility to Your RFID Tracking System

Posted February 9, 2021

Given today’s changing customer demands, new safety regulations, and the e-commerce boost, managing inventory continues to be a struggle for most warehouses and distribution centers. As a result, RFID has remained popular across industries since it accelerates throughput while increasing accuracy rates in both the receiving and loading docks. To take RFID efficiency a step farther, we recommend integrating it into your mobile printers with the ZQ630 and ZQ630 RFID:

Why combine mobility and visibility?

Inventory management has been cited as one the top struggles warehouses face today, which means solutions simplifying inventory management can help sharpen your competitive edge. A few issues that further complicate efficient management are:

  • Sudden demand increases
  • Lagging stock updated that leads to stockouts
  • Increasing labor turnover rates that lead to high adoption rates for new technologies
  • Lack of real-time visibility

By empowering your workforce with mobile RFID devices, you are able to streamline crucial tasks such as data capture, data sharing, and even label printing, ultimately delivering real-time updates across every avenue your workforce uses. For example, RFID mobile printing allows you to:

  • Print updated RFID tags anywhere in your workflow in the event of sudden demand spikes
  • Decrease processing time by eliminating unnecessary travel paths
  • Deploy an end-to-end tracking system with easy-to-use devices for faster onboarding
  • Label incoming inventory immediately with RFID tags to start tracking stock in real-time
  • Lower employee density in printing stations
  • Increase mobility with lightweight enterprise-grade devices

Working alongside your team, Barcodes, Inc. assists with design, deployment and support services to maximize printer uptime, so your workforce can confidently manage inventory with tools that move with them. Contact us today for a free consultation to see where can implement RFID mobility in your operations.

Where to Place an RFID Inlay

Posted December 17, 2020

Printing and encoding RFID “smart labels” with an RFID-enabled printer has traditionally been difficult; a classic case of “the Devil is in the details.”  One difficulty users have wrestled with has been “inlay placement.”  Inlay placement refers to the location of the RFID inlay under the label’s face stock.  Although inlays are generally oriented horizontally under the face stock, the inlays can be located towards the bottom of the label, towards the top, or anywhere in between.  In the picture to the right, for example, the inlay is relatively close to the bottom of the label, the “leading edge” as it is often called, because this edge comes out of the printer first. 

Almost every printer brand – and even model – has traditionally had detailed, complex specifications regarding inlay placement, with different specifications for each and every inlay on the market.  The location of the inlay has to be a particular distance from the leading edge of the label in order to maximize the printer’s throughput (speed).  Just a millimeter or two either way, and the performance of the printer can suffer dramatically.  What a mess.  Given that printing and encoding RFID labels is already slower than printing traditional barcode labels, any further loss in performance has often been catastrophic for the end-user.  Waiting for your RFID labels to print and encode can hold up an entire production line.  This all meant that for your printer brand and model, you needed to make sure to order labels with an optimal inlay placement. 

Precise inlay placement also causes some additional problems: 

  • It makes selecting labels more difficult. Users need to order their labels very carefully to ensure correct inlay placement.  Does your purchasing department understand inlay placement?  
  • It can cause delays in sourcing labels.  Often, a convertor (label manufacturer) will have exactly the label size you need – but with incorrect inlay placement for your printer.  To get labels with optimal inlay placement, the convertor needs to configure their entire production line and run a new batch of labels for you.  This can take several days to several weeks. 
  • Finally, requiring a specific inlay placement can mean that users may pay more for their labels.  A quick Google search of classic paper thermal transfer 4×6 RFID shipping labels will show some surprising results.  The very same labels from the very same vendor can have dramatically different prices depending solely on inlay placement.  It all boils down to supply and demand, but if you are on the wrong side of the equation, you may have to pay significantly more for your labels. 

With Printronix Auto ID’s current line-up of RFID printers, these headaches associated with inlay placement are now a thing of the past.  Printronix RFID printers have a unique firmware (the software brains in the printer), which does what they call “Encode During Print.”  In clearer language, this means that the printer will first print some of the label, then switch over to encoding, then switch back to printing and finish up the label.  The printer will automatically either print or encode at any given moment depending on where the label is relative to the printer’s printhead and RFID encoder.  The traditional approaches for RFID printers were to either first print the entire label, then encode the RFID portion (“Print then Encode”) – or to first encode the RFID, then print the label (“Encode then Print”).  But with these traditional approaches, if the inlay is not optimally placed, then the printer needs to back- or forward-feed the label to align it for an operation (printing or encoding) at any given moment.  With Printronix’s Encode During Print functionality, back- and forward-feed are eliminated (other than to overstrike bad labels, which is another blog topic for another day), regardless of inlay placement. 

So far, we have been talking about labels like 4×6 shipping labels that allow different inlay placements.  But what about all of the RFID labels, “tags,” on the market that have predetermined inlay placement?  For example, on-metal tags, plant stakes, small pharmaceutical labels for cold-chain applications, “RTI” tags (Returnable Transport Items), etc., etc.  There are many such tags on the market, and more are being developed and released all the time.  These tags generally have a fixed inlay placement based on their physical design and on simple commercial considerations – they are meant to be “Off-the-Shelf” (OTS) products.  This is another area Printronix’s Encode During Print functionality shines even more.  Because the Printronix printers do not care where the inlay is located, you can use any of these tags and still achieve maximum throughput. 

And these unusual tags often pose physical feed challenges for RFID printers.  For example, on-metal and RTI tags are often thicker than normal smart labels, and they can have abrupt edges between labels, large gaps, etc.  Both Printronix’s T6000e and T4000 series printers were designed from the ground up to work with these more difficult constructions.  The printers are spec’ed for labels up to 1.2mm thick and are available in 4” and 6” print-widths, allowing you to print and encode a wide variety of tags from a single printer – all without sacrificing performance.  

Finding the right RFID solution is always a challenge and having the right resources and help are critical. If RFID sounds like a suitable solution for your business or you have additional questions, feel free to contact us at Barcodes, Inc. We’re always happy to help you find the right solution for your needs. 

The Next Generation 4-inch Desktop Thermal Printer

Posted November 27, 2020

Setting the bar for desktop barcode label printing, SATO’s CT4-LX is a 4-inch thermal printer offering features and functionality typically only found in industrial printer models but in a compact size. Designed with a full-color touchscreen display, the latest wireless connectivity options and patented label waste prevention feature, the CT4LX Label Printer is easy to operate and maintain with user-replaceable printheads and platen rollers to quickly keep your business up and running.

Key Features
– 4.3″ Full Color Touchscreen Display
– 203 or 305 dpi print resolution
– Thermal Transfer and Direct Thermal
– Label Waste Prevention – eliminates first label loss
– Apple iOS Connectivity
– Quick pairing with NFC-enabled devices
– Auto Switching competitive emulation languages (SBPL, SEPL, SZPL, SDPL, SIPL, or STCL)
– Auto RFID positioning with SATO RF Analyze (SRA)
– Remote management with SATO Online Services (SOS)

Connectivity Options: USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, RS-232C
Optional Features: UHF RFID encoder (pre-installed), Auto-Cutter, Linerless Cutter, Dispenser, Real-Time Clock

Shop the Sato CT4-LX online or Contact your Barcodes, Inc. Account Manager for more information.

ICYMI: Taking the Complexity out of Implementing RFID Solutions

Posted November 19, 2020

In the manufacturing and distribution process, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) solutions improve production times, increase inventory accuracy, reduce errors, better route information, and provide round-the-clock asset management.

Uncover how RFID can benefit your organization and review a proven approach for implementation.  Whether you are new to the technology or looking to advance your RFID strategy, the presentation will give you a simplified view of what other companies in the industry are doing and how to get there.

In this webinar, you will learn the following:

  • Why you should be considering RFID solutions
  • See how other companies are implementing RFID to improve accuracy, visibility, and accountability within Manufacturing and Distribution
  • Review a proven “Start Simple” approach for implementing RFID
  • Introduction to RAPID RFID, a mobile and web-based fixed reader software product that takes the complexity out of implementing RFID solutions
  • How Barcodes, Inc. and Vertical Systems can assist you in this process.

If you have any questions, please contact us here.

Taking the Complexity out of Implementing RFID Solutions

Posted November 3, 2020

November 18th at 11:30am (Central Time U.S. and Canada)

In the manufacturing and distribution process, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) solutions improve production times, increase inventory accuracy, reduce errors, better route information, and provide round-the-clock asset management.

Join us November 18th and uncover how RFID can benefit your organization and review a proven approach for implementation.  Whether you are new to the technology or looking to advance your RFID strategy, the presentation will give you a simplified view of what other companies in the industry are doing and how to get there.

In this webinar, you will learn the following:

  • Why you should be considering RFID solutions
  • See how other companies are implementing RFID to improve accuracy, visibility, and accountability within Manufacturing and Distribution
  • Review a proven “Start Simple” approach for implementing RFID
  • Introduction to RAPID RFID, a mobile and web-based fixed reader software product that takes the complexity out of implementing RFID solutions
  • How Barcodes, Inc. and Vertical Systems can assist you in this process.

Presented By:

Raul Cepeda – VP Product Management & Strategic Alliances – Barcodes Group

Greg Heilman – Practice Lead – Vertical Systems

If you have any questions, please contact us here. If you can’t make the live webinar be sure to register anyways and we’ll send you the recording afterward. We hope to see you there!

How to Measure Your Industrial Printer’s Durability

Posted August 20, 2020

Today’s operations face unprecedented demands for faster order fulfillment and greater order accuracy. To meet customer demands without breaking your budget, Barcodes, Inc. recommends reevaluating your printing system since it lies at the core of successful order fulfillment.

See how Zebra’s rugged industrial printers meet these demands in our video:

Linking rugged consumables and intuitive software, your industrial printer holds the potential to streamline operations, which is why it should display:

  • Physical durability – Does your printer remain functional in a variety of different environments such as low temperatures, humidity, dust-prone, and high-altitude locations?
  • Intelligent adaptability – Just like any other piece of technology, your printer’s OS must be updated. Are updates still feasible, and will they be disruptive?
  • User flexibility – Before entering a brand-new peak season, can your printer adapt to new unexperienced employees without increasing training times?
  • Trustworthy security – Past studies indicated that over half of businesses’ data breaches occurred through networked printers. Is your printer protected against unauthorized access?

Developed by the leaders in rugged adaptability, Zebra’s industrial printers, like the ZT230 and ZT411, equip workforces with reliable durability that extends beyond printing processes. By combining it with Zebra’s Certified Consumables (Labels, Ribbon and Printheads) and Print DNA, Barcodes, Inc. works with you to design a complete printing solution that integrates:

  • Customizable labels that adapt to extreme environments
  • On-demand RFID printing
  • Future-proof OS updates and security measures
  • Dependable data breach protection
  • Assisted printer configuration
  • TrueSupport
  • On-site support and repair services
  • Simplified printer decommissioning

Get a closer look into what efficient printing looks like in our infographic.

From procurement to maintenance, refine your competitive edge with Barcodes, Inc. Speak to our printing specialists today for an in-depth consultation of your current printing system, and redefine durability your way.

If your labels do this, it’s time for change

Posted August 20, 2020

It’s a fact: Not all labels are made the same. While most labels serve the same identification purposes, different application environments may call for different-structured labels, which is why there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all labeling application. To help you evaluate your label’s performance, Barcodes, Inc. suggests searching for the following tell-tale signs of poor label performance: 

  • Fading/smeared barcodes
  • Peeling adhesives
  • Scraped printheads
  • Frequent printer jams caused by adhesive build-up
  • Pre-printed color build-up

Choose the better option

Crafted from consistent pre-tested materials, Zebra’s Certified Consumables are designed to eliminate the effects of inferior labels such as the ones listed above while also delivering:

  • Temperature-resistant labels that can take the heat of thermal printing
  • High-performing RFID labels that secure 99.99% visibility
  • Smooth coating to avoid printhead scraping
  • Up to 18 months of undisturbed label performance
  • UL, cUL, and RoHS-compliant labels
  • Fast label replenishment that saves nearly $400 per 10 label cases
  • Slashed processing times that accelerate markdowns by 35%
  • Customizable labels that fit your color, inlay, size, and various other requirements
  • Sustainable RFID options adaptable to curved and metal surfaces

See how you can get more than just a label in our infographic.

Simply put, today’s operations require more visibility, adaptability, and efficiency. Deliver all that and more when you contact Barcodes, Inc. to start creating a labeling solution fit for change.

Lost assets, missed deadlines, and rising costs? Looks like it’s time for a new locationing solution.

Posted July 22, 2020

As supply chains grow more dynamic, your business’ success depends on reliable connectivity and sustained visibility from production to point-of sale. Without the proper tools, poor visibility can drain your budget, resulting in:

  • Misplaced and broken assets
  • Smaller device spare pool
  • Spoiled or devalued inventory
  • Costly downtime and bottlenecks

If you’re already experiencing any of these, it may be time to strengthen your visibility solution with a new locationing system, such as Barcodes, Inc.’s Locationing Solutions.

Experience the Barcodes EDGE Difference

Built with tested expertise, Barcodes EDGE’s Locationing Solutions provide you with on-site surveys, in-depth procurement and development, device configurations, implementation and True Support. Seamlessly integrate next-generation visibility powered by Zebra’s real-time tracking hardware to gain actionable insight into your crucial assets and on-demand inventory. Pair continuous service with next-generation technology such as:

  • Rugged RFID tags that fit your specific application requirements
  • Long-range scanners
  • High-precision readers that captures accurate location within 2ft
  • Visibility software and applications that expand connectivity throughout the supply chain.

See how we’re redefining supply chain efficiency in our webinar

Contact us today to start creating your tailored locationing solution with Barcodes, Inc..

Webinar- State of Manufacturing: The Trends & Drivers

Posted September 6, 2019
Join Barcodes and Zebra for our upcoming webinar on State of Manufacturing, the trends and the drivers to learn about proven solutions that enhance manufacturing operations.

Join Barcodes and Zebra for our upcoming webinar, “State of Manufacturing: The Trends & Drivers” to learn about
proven solutions that enhance manufacturing operations.

Key Takeaways Include:

  • Understand the OS Migration and how to reduce downtime and assure compliance with Android
  • Learn how to properly utilize RFID to effectively increase productivity and efficiency
  • Discover what others are doing in the manufacturing space to meet customer demand and stay
  • ahead of the competition

Increase Speed and Accuracy with Impinj RAIN RFID

Posted July 31, 2019

Impinj’s RAIN RFID collects accurate, real time data, so businesses can gain critical insight to make intelligent decisions whenever and anytime they need.

Manual data can cause inventory errors, mis-shipments, and low visibility in your supply chain. Deploy Impinj’s RAIN RFID the future of supply chains begins at the dock door, configurations to suit any operation environment. Up to 100% pallet level accuracy, and automated proof of shipment compliance and up to 30% increased in dock door output.

Increase efficiency in your supply chain with RFID and drive immediate result to your operations. Ideal for applications in retail, healthcare, supply chain, logistics, industrial manufacturing, hospitality, and air transportation, and more.

Benefits:

  • Can achieve up to 99% accurate inventory data
  • Always know where items are located at
  • Reducing out of stock and unnecessary markdowns
  • Make critial business decisions with confidence

Contact Barcodes if you need an RFID solutions, we can help with product solution that fits your budget and installation.

Improve efficiency with Impinj RAIN RFID to speed up inventory collection and automated proof of shipment compliance.
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