Printronix has just announced the introduction of the T6000 thermal printer.
Printronix has just announced the introduction of the T6000 thermal printer.
The UPC Bar Code:
In the late 60’s IBM researchers were working on encoding bits of data that could be read by a scanner. In 1972 IBM submitted a sample to a supermarket trade organization of a barcode system that could identify the product and the manufacturer of that product. They called this the Universal Product Code (UPC).
Today, UPC barcodes are also categorized as Global Trade Identification Numbers (GTIN). There are some slight differences in the data structure that is encoded in the barcode. Also the actual barcode symbology is different as well. A UPC barcode for products sold in retail outlets in the USA use the UPC-A symbology; GTIN data is usually encoded using the Interleaved 2 of 5 symbology. All of the current standards created and governed by one body, the GS1. Formerly known as the Uniform Code Council you can visit their website at www.gs1us.org. The UPC-A symbology is what we use in the United States, other countries use different symbologies to represent their UPC’s. The 12 digits found in a UPC-A barcode represent three key sets of information. At the beginning is the Manufacturer ID (MID), next is the Product Code and the last digit is always the Check Digit. The Length of your Manufacturer ID depends on how many unique products you need to identify. The smallest number of digits for a MID are 6 digits. That allows for up to 100,000 unique product codes (From 00000-99999). A 7 digit MID will allow a 4 digit product code. An 8 digit MID will allow for a 3 digit product code. The largest MID is 9 digits long and only allows for a 2 digit product code.
Who needs to Register for a UPC MID?:
Any manufacturer that sells products in retail stores like grocery stores, department stores, or work with stores that utilize Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) for placing/ confirming orders, invoicing, and inventory replenishment.
How do I assign product codes to my items?
Once you have your Manufacturer ID from the GS1 you as the manufacturer are responsible to assign product codes to the items that you produce.
Usually a manufacturing software system will have a way to assign Product Codes to your Items. In the case of Apparel Manufacturing, AIMS360 is a very popular choice as an Apparel Information Management System. You can order raw materials, manage production, customer relations, warehousing/ inventory management, and even invoicing. Visit their website at www.aims360.com.
If you don’t have a software system to manage the product codes you can simply use and excel spreadsheet to manage the UPC product codes. Remember you cannot repeat a product code within 5 years after it has been last produced.
What if I run out of Product Codes?
If you run out of product codes to use for unique items then you will need to purchase another Manufacturer ID. It is common for Apparel manufacturers to own different MIDs for each brand line they own.
I need UPC Labels/ tags, what do I do?
You have two options, you can get a system to print yourself or you can use a printing service from a label company to print the labels/ tags for you. To determine which way is best for you, you can use the contact us page at: http://www.pliprinttech.com/contact/. If you would like information on other kinds of labels and tags you can visit our main page at www.progressivelabel.com.
Having grown up in the Los Angeles apparel industry, I have seen many changes happen in the industry. In the early 90’s, with the implementation of NAFTA, Los Angeles apparel manufacturing moved south in to Mexico and Central America. In the mid to late 90’s large scale apparel manufacturing found a stable environment in up and coming economies in Asia. The massive and cheap labor pool in China made it attractive for garment manufacturers around the world to get their goods made in China as well as other Asian countries. Fast forward to today’s apparel retail environment, the Chinese labor pool is entering the “Middle Class” and demanding middle class wages. Retailers are changing the selling experience. Omni-Channel retailing is becoming the new model by which retailers serve the consumer. What this means is that it doesn’t matter if the shopper is in store, online or via software app, the customer can see the product, purchase it, and pick it up in store or have it delivered to home or office; try it on if you don’t like it return to store or ship back to warehouse. Take the rising labor cost in Asia and the demand for faster turnaround and you have a recipe for apparel production returning to the Americas; witness the rise of “Fast Fashion”. In an online world, fast fashion take in to account how quickly a garment makes it to market. The runway shows are not the exclusive place where sellers and buyers meet to place orders for apparel anymore. Retailers don’t need expensive retail stores to hold inventory for the growing market of online shoppers. In the manufacturing trinity of price, delivery time and quality, delivery time is gaining importance and price is loosing importance. The business environment where time is money, the 3-4 weeks it takes to ship a container from Asia to the USA is becoming too costly. The problem is that in the current trend, middle class Asia will no longer provide a cheap enough labor pool to offset the long delivery times. The solution is bring manufacturing closer to home; this validates companies like Karen Kane which kept quality and turn around time as priorities over cheap labor. This has been evident in the custom screen printing industry over the last 5 years. Large industrial screen printers have been opening up in Baja California to large extent to serve the U.S. marketplace. Unfortunately for Progressive Label, they started offering labels and tags as a value add, to provide more of a full package option. Unfortunately for our customers, the license holders and shirt manufacturers, these large scale screen printers know very little about printing quality bar coded labels and tags.
Since the turn of the century we opened a wholly owned subsidiary called Progressive Label de Mexico. Originally opened in Tlaxcala Mexico and is now headquartered in Puebla Mexico. Centrally located in the country of Mexico, this location has allowed us to serve the apparel manufacturing industry reliably for well over a decade. The current problem is that being in Central Mexico does not allow us to serve Baja California easily. Our response is to open an office in Tijuana Mexico. By opening an office near the location where the contractors for our customers are, we have a builtin customer base that will let us establish the new office. Combined with our well established quality control for our label production we can offer customers the same quality product in Tijuana that we can here in Los Angeles. We are now operational and we will have a grand opening some time in May. Now that we are printing our first orders we are getting inventory in place, and figuring out where production and quality control will be setup. Employees are being hired and trained to the standards that we expect out of our office
Being responsive to the demands of the marketplace is how we have earned the name Progressive Label. We look forward to serving our customer out of Tijuana Mexico.
Progressive Label, Inc.
Print Tech Division.
For years I have discouraged people from printing barcoded labels from .pdf files. The encoding of a barcode is a very precise measurement of lines and spaces. If the person doing the creating of the label doesn’t do it correctly the barcode will be a pretty picture of a barcode, but completely unscannable or scan at a very poor quality. With all this being said, customer after customer is constantly asking for my help in printing bar coded labels from .pdf files, here are some suggestions:
Creating a pdf label file correctly is very important. First the page size must be 100%. If it is intended to be printed as a 4×6 label then you must create a 4×6 page size (May require creating a custom form in the printer server properties on windows machines) http://windowsitpro.com/windows-7/q-how-do-i-create-custom-paper-size-printing-windows-7. Also, it might be beneficial in creating the label in either 300 or 600 DPI resolution. On the printing side I am recommending a thermal label printer of at least 300 DPI, this will allow the printer to print the image without much interpolation.
In November 2015 Printronix announced to it’s partner resellers that it had made a strategic decision. It was selling the Thermal/ AIDC division to TSC Auto ID, a Taiwanese company that sold primarily mobile and desktop type thermal printers. The new company is known as Printronix Auto ID and will add the table top thermal printer lines of printers to TSC’s existing product line. The original Printronix corporation will now be known as Printronix, LLC and will continue to sell its line matrix/ dot matrix printers.
I am very excited to be working with Printronix Auto ID, as they are now focused and highly motivated to close individual printer deals. The team that came over from Printronix in to the new Printronix Auto ID corporation have years of experience and will make a great starting point in moving the new corporation forward. That being said the transition hasn’t been smooth. The transfer of the manufacturing from Nogales Mexico to Taiwan was fraught with delays; delays on parts and whole printers have been ongoing since the middle of January. Little by little things are starting to normalize and the team is finding their groove with the new corporation. The new headquarters is located in Brea California, but I can envision a time in the not too distant future when they outgrow the space that they are currently in.
In a conversation with the product manager and the engineering team, they assure me that TSC is committed to continue to support the development of the new thermal and AIDC products that were in development before the transition. I look forward to testing out the new generation RFID printer/ encoders and the ODV (Online Data Validator). We can look forward to more efficient and faster equipment that will meet the demands manufacturing industry across many sectors.
I asked the marketing manager about the new message Printronix Auto ID would be putting forward. He let me know that they are currently in discussions on that very topic and are developing new marketing and sales tools. For now they will continue to use the current marketing materials developed at Printronix but a huge effort is being put in to develop new materials and will be working hand and hand with its partners for some grass roots ideas about how to market the company going forward.
As an integrator of Printronix Auto ID products, I am excited by the energy surrounding the new company. As a partner we are offering trade in on upgrades of older thermal printer with the purchase of new Printronix Auto ID printers. You can use the contact page to send me a specific request for thermal printer upgrade projects.
Progressive Label, Inc.
Print Tech Division