Unique Materials for a Barcode Label


We keep bringing up the “label” when talking about barcode systems (see “It’s All About the Label” posted previously“).  That’s because the backbone of any good barcode tracking system is the barcode itself.  In fact, without a barcode there is no automated tracking system!

So it’s important to understand your options when choosing how to label your item(s).  Here we will discuss specific unique applications we’ve developed for barcode tracking that presented particular challenges.

Removable Barcode Label on Newsprint:  Newspapers are struggling to survive in the new age of internet publications.  One place they save money is the quality of the paper itself.  When a large regional newspaper installed a barcode-based sorting system, they needed a label that would work in the label applicator/printer, take the rough handling that newspaper bundles face, and would be removable without tearing the paper.

Solution:  A Direct Thermal label with Ultra-removable adhesive.

Barcoded Tag on Restoration Equipment (Compressors, Dryers):  Restoration companies arrive after disasters such as fire, flood and hurricane.  Their job is to clean up the “mess” and bring back livable spaces.  The large pieces of equipment used by these companies must withstand water, mud, chemicals, ashes – so finding a barcode label that will continue to be scanned successfully was a challenge.

Solution:  A Metal Tag with Etched barcode that is Riveted On.

Label that Sticks to the Rough Edge of Plywood in a Hot Environment:  Another challenging application was in a wood manufacturing plant.  The company makes their own plywood to form into trusses and large beams for homes and other buildings.  The plywood is manufactured from multiple pieces of thin wood that are glued together and fused in a large microwave oven.  The label needed to adhere to the small (1”) side of the newly made plywood, which was very rough and warm.

Solution:  A Polyester Label with Ultra-High Tack Adhesive (sometimes called “Tire Adhesive”)

Label for Cyrogenic Testing Lab:  A company that does tests for pharmaceutical and medical companies in extreme heat/cold conditions needs to label their samples.  The labels were to be easily identifiable by customer, stay on vials in cryogenic freezer conditions, and handle wet environments.

Solution:  A Cryoflex™ Label with a clear laminate that was a colored flood-coat.

Barcode Label for Police Car Keys:  For may police departments, keeping track of the small items that are allocated to an office or shared by many is a challenge.  One such department wanted to label their car keys, that are shared among shifts.  The label needed to be very durable and small.

Solution:  3/8” round label made of a thick synthetic material with a High Tack Adhesive, preprinted with an Etched 2-Dimensional Barcode.


When it seems that your environment precludes the use of barcode tracking because it’s harsh, small, rough, thin, cold, hot or any other challenge, don’t give up.  We can probably find a solution.

Read next week about what to do when you need Color on a barcode label.