In terms of barcodes, there is no organization more important than GS1. Formed in the early 1970s under the name European Article Numbering (EAN) Association, GS1 was instrumental in developing early barcode systems and international standards. They were even involved in creating the modern barcode itself, which is why standard barcodes still go by the name “GS1 barcode.”
Although the standard GS1 barcode is still in use today, it is by no means the only barcode in use or the only barcode used by GS1 systems. There are a number of different linear barcodes and 2D data matrices used for specific applications and governed by different GS1 identification standards. Some of the most common GS1 barcodes include:
- The Universal Product Code (UPC)
- GS1 DataBar (formerly called Reduced Space Symbology or RSS for short)
- GS1 DataMatrix
Of course, for these codes to work as intended, they must be applied properly and printed at a high enough contrast level to guarantee machine readability. This requires the use of a well-made industrial printer.
If you’re searching for a new GS1 barcode printer for your operation, here are the elements that you should be looking for.
Equipped With the Appropriate Software
When beginning your printer search, this is the natural place to start. If you want to print GS1 barcodes, you must use a printer that contains a driver compatible with the specific code formats you want to use.
Barcodes—GS1 and beyond—come in a variety of forms, ranging from simple linear structures to more complex 2-dimensional formats. With these different structures come differences in graphic patterns, required resolutions, and color gradients. To ensure that codes are flaw-free and created as intended, it’s essential to:
- Design the codes using a software solution that is compatible with the desired format.
- Use a printer that is supported by the software solution of choice.
If you are unsure about which formats and software may be right for you, speak with an expert before investing in a specific solution.
Compatible With Your Packaging Material
Beyond code compatibility, the other important feature to consider in a GS1 barcode printer is substrate compatibility. After all, there’s no point in considering a printer that can’t mark your materials.
For direct marking, many modern inkjet printers are capable of marking a wide variety of porous and non-porous materials. However, it’s important to note that not all of them are capable of printing at GS1 required DPI resolutions. Many GS1 barcodes require resolutions of 200 DPI or higher to function, so some popular high-speed printers won’t be viable options. If you are looking for a fast production line printer for GS1 codes, choose a model like the Anser X1 that can print codes at resolutions up to 600 x 600 DPI.
Complies With Your Operational Efficiency Standards
After you’ve verified that a printer is both capable of creating the necessary codes and compatible with your packaging materials, it’s time to look at operational specifications.
If you’re working with a heavy duty product cycle, you must use a high-speed printer. With the combination of a fast-moving production line and an industrial GS1 barcode printer, you can maximize efficiency and meet production demands. For these high-speed applications, we recommend a printer model like the DuraCode continuous inkjet printer or Anser X1 thermal inkjet printer, as these printers can reach printing speeds up to 300 m/min.
When speed is less of a necessity, one can also explore the use of slower thermal inkjet printer models like the Anser U2 Pro-S and Anser U2 Smart as well as print-and-apply label systems such as the Evolabel print and apply labeler.
Have More Questions on GS1 Barcode Printers? InkJet, Inc. Has Answers
Although barcodes are seemingly everywhere today, they aren’t always easy to work with. For those unfamiliar with GS1 codes and protocols, finding the right printer and software combination to create them can be difficult. Fortunately, help isn’t hard to find.
At InkJet, Inc., we have been helping companies complete coding applications for over 30 years. Offering a variety of high-speed industrial printers, ink formulas, label software, and years of industry experience, our team can help you find the best printing solution to meet your needs. Contact us today to learn more.
For more information on GS1 barcode printers, contact InkJet, Inc. online today or call 1(800) 280-3245.