Archives for posts with tag: barcodes

The history of barcode printing goes back in 1948 and features Bernard Silver, a graduate student and his friend Norman Woodland. The demand for a system that would automatically read product information during checkout came from the president of Food Fair, the local food chain in Philadelphia.

Using Morse code as inspiration, Woodland and Silver proceeded with their ideas, and in 1949 filed a patent application for a new system of printing patterns and reading system. Two years later, Woodland moved to IBM and tried to interest the company in developing the system.

Despite the interest, the conclusion was that it would take patience for more adequate technology to be developed in the future.

The next person to work on what we nowadays know as barcode was David Collins. As he was working at Pennsylvania Railroad, he became aware of the need to automatically identify railroad cars. He developed an interesting method using blue and yellow reflective stripes attached to the side of the cars, encoding a six digit company identifier and a four-digit car number. Light reflected off the stripes was fed into one of two photomultipliers, filtered for blue or yellow. This system had its faults, but was another step that contributed to the universal adoption of the barcodes.

In 1971 IBM remembered they still employed Woodland, so a new facility in North Carolina was established. Gradually, after failures and improvements, the barcode started to be adopted by more and more commercial chains, especially after exact data regarding the return on investment for a barcode scanner became available.

As expected, extremists and supports of the conspiracy theory did not greet the barcodes very friendly. But their advantages eventually neutralized extreme opinions.

Resource: Wikipedia

Barcode labels are extremely useful. They can be used to keep track of patients (medical history, allergies), rental cars, airline luggage and you name it. Recent advanced technology makes it possible for barcodes to be printed and labelled, respecting a very high level of accuracy.

Labelling is a very important process that has come a long way from a mere piece of paper stating the product name, to a precise label that must contain detailed and real information. Knowing that there is advanced technology you can rely on is very important. ALS, Advanced Labelling Systems offers a range of fast, reliable and economic label printers that answer today’s needs of being informed.

ALS Fast Labeller


Pen has become a universal word. We no longer say fountain pen or ballpoint pen. But could we imagine a ballpoint pen without the spherical point?

Not quite. What is nowadays a simple thing we take for granted, was born after years of experimentation and analysis.

The first patent on a ballpoint pen was issued on 30 October 1888, to John Loud, a leather tanner, who needed a writing instrument that could write on his leather products. Obviously, fountain pens couldn’t do that. But because the instrument could not be used for writing letters, (they were way too coarse) it did not gain commercial usage.

László Bíró, was a frustrated Hungarian newspaper editor. Frustrated because he had to spend too much time filling up fountain pens. So something had to be done. Receiving help from his brother, a chemist , Bíró fitted his pen with a tiny ball in its tip that was free to turn in a socket. As the pen moved along the paper, the ball rotated, picking up ink from the ink cartridge Bíró filed a British patent on 15 June 1938.

What do ballpoint pens have in common with print heads?

A lot. Imagine thermal printers without thermal print heads. The truth is the entire functionality of a thermal printer lies in its print head. Their precision is responsible for the quality of their output. That is, the better the quality of a thermal print head, the better the quality of the printed text.

Thermal print heads are mainly used in the industrial labelling sector.  Bar codes and price tags also use the thermal transfer printing system and implicitly the thermal print heads.

As the barcode is now universal and used beyond its initial commercial purpose, barcode printing is an everyday process that needs to rely on quality thermal print heads. The very first scanning of the famous barcode was of a Wrigley chewing gum in June 1974.

Barcode printing can either use the direct thermal printing method or the thermal transfer printing one. Although a bit less expensive, direct thermal printers produce labels that can become illegible if exposed to heat, direct sunlight, or chemical vapors. Needles to say, the print heads used in the thermal transfer printing type produce a more accurate, long lasting image.

For those interested in the latter option,, as approved partners, is able to supply various thermal print heads like Avery Dennison and Zebra. Other consumables, thermal transfer labels and ribbons can also be found here.

Barcodes are one of the most utilised items in the retail business word where most products will hold a label that has a printed barcode on it. We won’t talk about what barcode does as everybody already know.

Though, being one of the most used items in the retail world, it also stands a close chance as being the most boring things too. Typically, black strips on a white background for scanning purposes, printed on paper or cardboard by inkjet or thermal ribbons. Boring!

But, who says barcodes cannot be fun? We will share some images today of a collection of fun barcodes that has creative and innovative designs, which in terms of practicality, can be used perfectly well within the business world.