In a lab setting, correct sample identification improves the accuracy of your research results. Convenient barcode solutions are also critical to support a streamlined workflow in all healthcare fields.
Depending on your application, environment and processes, your ideal method of affixing barcodes will vary. Non-permanent barcode solutions such as pressure sensitive labels offer unique benefits, as do permanent solutions like ceramic identifiers and direct mark identifiers.
All of these three marking technologies can boost efficiency and are suitable for accurate sample identification. Learn what differentiates the technologies and how to choose the best option for your needs.
Pressure Sensitive Labels
Traditional adhesive labels are still the most widely used option today. They are most often used to track plastic and glass tubes and vials. A pressure sensitive label that is well engineered will withstand harsh environments.
Pressure sensitive labels are not permanent solutions, but they offer the following benefits:
- Can be applied to plastic or glass containers
- Survive temperatures between 121 degrees C and -196 degrees C
- Withstand water as well as lab chemicals such as DMSO, methanol, acetone, and isopropyl alcohol
- Often times offer the fastest lead times and are the lowest-cost option
- Can be applied to both the side and bottom of a container
As a drawback, pressure sensitive labels are not guaranteed to maintain a set weight over extended periods of time due to changing environmental conditions, although they can be tare weighed.
Glass containers that require a long-term barcode are usually marked with ceramic identifiers. A barcode is fired onto the container using high heat and becomes part of the component.
Ceramic identifiers survive throughout the entire life of a container. They can be tare weighed, and the weight of the container will remain consistent even if environmental conditions change.
This is a reliable barcode solution for temperatures between 500 degrees C and -196 degrees C, whether your container needs to withstand processes in extreme heat or cold.
Just like pressure sensitive labels, ceramic identifiers withstand common lab chemicals and can be applied to both the side and the bottom of a container.
This option is somewhat more expensive than adhesive labels and typically has longer lead times.
Direct Mark Identifiers
Direct mark identifiers are printed right onto your containers using specialized inks and curing processes. The barcodes may be marked on to either glass or plastic containers.
In terms of pricing, this option falls somewhere between pressure sensitive labels and ceramic identifiers. In most cases, your label supplier will recommend direct mark identifiers for long-term storage of plastic containers.
Offering heat resistance to temperatures between 121 degrees C and -196 degrees C, direct mark identifiers withstand extreme temperatures and common lab chemicals. This barcode solution also has fast lead times and can be precisely tare weighed.
An industry expert is able to help you choose the marking technology that fits your application and environment best.
Your label supplier should learn about the processes your barcode solutions need to accommodate and what specifically you need your barcode and labware to do.
The right supplier will also consider factors such as automation, chemical exposure, temperatures, length of product life and the material construction of your container. Then, your supplier will issue a recommendation based on its experience and expertise.
Healthcare is a fast-paced and rapidly growing field. One thing that will remain constant is the need for efficient, accurate identification. Today’s marking technologies are designed with your challenges in mind to help you achieve the right solution.