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Labeling 101

What is a label?


A tag meant for identifying the item it is attached to.

Every label consists of:
Base: the piece on which the label is printed. E.g. Paper, Foil, vinyl film Adhesive: Used to stick the label to the item Colored Ink: To print the text on the label

Purpose of a label
A label conveys the most important information about the part in the easiest way possible It helps identify the contents of the package or specific Information (eg. Weight, name of the part, precautions etc) about the contents.

Labels also provide traceability information about the parts.

Types of labels
Hand written tags

These labels or tags are used for temporary information about the contents. Hand written labels or tags are commonly seen in retail stores where they may indicate price of products, or in manufacturing where they indicate parts in process.
Printed labels
These labels are seen everywhere in daily life. Printed labels indicate the contents of the package in specific terms. For example, the labels on food products that give nutrition facts.

Bar code labels
A Bar Code is a coded set of numbers represented by a set of separated bars. Each bar on the code represents a number. And the set together represents a number. Bar codes are read by scanners that can detect the number represented by the bar code. There are two types of bar code: 2D - commonly seen in retail industry where these labels are used to tag products 3D - commonly seen in package delivery services like UPS, FEDEX where these labels are used to identify shipping information and can be used for tracking packages.

RFID tags
RFID or Radio Frequency Identification tags are the most recent development in the field of labeling and traceability. This tag has a microchip and an antenna that allows the tag to exchange information/data with a reader. The antenna picks up the signal and the reader sends the information to a computer. The biggest use of RFID tags is providing tracking and traceability. RFID is the most expensive type of label. Some of the problems of RFID are the interference of the signal frequency with other equipment used in the same area. Such interference can cause communication errors.Today RFID is being actively used in the retail, healthcare, life sciences, transportation and manufacturing industry.