Guest Column | February 14, 2014

The Most Overlooked Bar Code Printing/Scanning Features

By Brian Sutter, Director of Marketing, Wasp Barcode Technologies

Things a new solutions provider should consider when evaluating a printer or scanner

When searching for a barcode printer or scanner, a new solutions provider’s main concerns are that the equipment works and how much it’s going to cost. However, it’s prudent to take a more in-depth look at the hardware before making a purchase decision. Below are four features that solutions providers often overlook when assessing a barcode printer or scanner.  

1. Communication Interfaces. Barcode printers have to be connected to a database (usually in a computer or tablet) to receive print jobs. The most common connection is USB. Any PC or laptop will have USB connections. Additional connectivity options gaining popularity are Ethernet and Wi-Fi. Other options include serial or parallel connectivity. When it comes to barcode scanners, some include wireless connectivity for flexibility to transmit data from longer distances. Others are compatible for Android and iOS devices. Multiple communication interfaces allow easy and quick integration into any environment. Be sure to know what options work best for the organization.

2. Design. If working in the manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, retail, or healthcare industries, a barcode printer with an industrial design is ideal. A barcode printer with an all-metal exterior housing and die-cast aluminum print mechanism can withstand even the harshest of conditions. For a barcode scanner, a lightweight, ergonomic form makes it comfortable for prolonged daily use and a durable construction allows for multiple drops — easily eliminating downtime due to breakage.

3. Scanner Range. Different barcode scanners have the ability to scan from a variety of distances. Typically, pen style barcode scanners will only scan a barcode on contact. While barcode scanners that feature laser scan engines allow for easy scanning at farther distances from the barcode.

4.  Speed. A good business is determined to operate quickly and efficiently. Digital imaging technology in barcode scanners gives the ability to read all common 1D and 2D barcodes rapidly and accurately. For the retail industry, the omnidirectional scan pattern of some barcode scanners is ideal for rapid checkout. Print speeds for barcode printers are detailed in inches per second — typically between 5 and 12. Depending on how quickly an organization needs to complete a printing job will determine which printer speed is most fitting.

Understanding barcode printer and scanner needs is the first step in finding the best option for your customer — that will inevitably give you a return on investment.

Brian Sutter is the director of marketing at Wasp Barcode Technologies, responsible for the development and execution of the company’s marketing strategy. His role encompasses brand management, direct and channel marketing, public relations, advertising, and social media. Sutter joined Wasp as the marketing manager in 2006, with a focus on web presence, product promotions, and brand awareness.