In: Business17 Aug 2013
Product identification is a wide category of labeling which includes functions such as brand protection, variable information tags and item traceability. Product identification labels are crucial in the face of a changing business environment. There’s also the threat posed by counterfeit programs and theft.
Traceability enables the tracking of items through the whole manufacturing procedure right to the consumer. In a perfect scenario, a product at the end of the supply chain should be traceable backwards through various processes. This way, the constituent raw materials can also be traced right back to their sources. This helps improve the quality by identifying the source of defects, especially if there’s a recall. For this to be possible, tags have to incorporate bar codes and batch numbers.
Currently, there are various bar code types in use. These are aluminum, ceramic and polyester markers. These come with various adhesive markings as well as customizable sizes and shapes. Barcodes offer several advantages. They help people in the identification of various goods. Item prices as well as other sale details can be integrated into these codes to save time and simplify the sale procedure. Additional benefits include accuracy, economy, speed and consistency.
Polyester and vinyl tags are normally made using special printers and are perfect for tracking products if security isn’t a big issue. In some cases, distinct markers are used in certain industries in order to meet specific needs. For example, detectable markers are normally used in the food processing industry where contamination sources have to be identified quickly. Should small parts of the sticker get into the item or if the label gets damaged/misapplied, it can be discovered easily.
In some industrial procedures, provisional tags are used. Most of them are usually magnetic and repositionable as well. This makes it easy to remove and placed when there’s need to do so.
However, such types of markers can easily be counterfeited or removed. Different types of tags are therefore used where brand reputation needs to be maintained. They are also used for high-value items which can be counterfeited or stolen. There are some custom stickers which include a watermark that’s only visible under UV light. This makes the tags harder to duplicate.
Other kinds of markers are used to deter removal and re-use. Where some handwritten information needs to be secured on a tag, there are special tapes for this. Alterations and erasing is made impossible by specially embossing the data.
Variable information tags are used to provide additional details such as information on manufacture and expiry dates, lot numbers, batch ID codes and manufacturing location. This information could be in the form of numbers and text, bar codes or both. These tags may also act as traceability labels.
If there’s need to withstand severe conditions, there are special markers that are specifically used for durable items. Metallized poly tapes are usually used as they are easy to make and offer a brushed metallic look. You can find these in aluminum, silver and gold. Others are designed to withstand corrosive chemicals. These can be found in equipment that’s frequently cleaned using strong detergents. To secure such product identification labels, special adhesives which stick to various surfaces such as fabric and wood are used.
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