Products & Solutions
- Services & Support
- Contact Us
- Learning Center
This week's post is a quick tip related to operating systems and ID badge printers. Many organizations are moving over to a Microsoft Windows 7 Operating System.
This transition may directly affect your ID card printing system. Before your organization makes the switch check to see if your ID badge printer will work with Windows 7. If your printer is not on this list, please e-mail me your printer model and we can check the compatibility.
If you are changing your operating system to Windows 7, please keep this in mind:
Why Should I Tune-Up my Printer?
Your ID printer needs to be able to print on a consistent basis, day in and out. We have all had scenarios where an unforeseen amount of cardholders come at the same exact time needing a card, only to have the printer stop working and have to deal with the frustration of not being able to offer the service we would like. Finding time to have your printer tuned-up can be difficult; however the benefits far outweigh the risks of not getting regular maintenance.
Here are just a few of the key steps that should be included in an ID Printer Tune-up:
Request a tune-up today
How do barcodes work?
Barcodes work by having combinations of black bars or dots and spaces. Each barcode type has its own unique language or format. The most common bar code type is one-dimensional bar codes (1-D) which are a series of black bars. When a barcode is swiped or scanned the reader directs some kind of light toward the black bars and spaces and then measures the reflection of light back to the reader. When light is directed at white spaces it reflects the light while light is absorbed by black bars. In this way the reader can determine if it is passing over a black bar (no reflection) or a white space (reflection). The reader can also sense the width of the bars or the spaces.
With the basic concept of being able to read bars and spaces and their respective widths, formats have been constructed that assign a character (example 1-9, A-Z, etc) to a unique combination of bars and spaces.
The following are two examples of how a common 1-D format type, called Code 39 uses this basic principal of unique sequences of bars and spaces to present a single character:
By stringing these unique sequences together you can form multiple characters or numbers. For example "A0" would be as follows:
This simple set of concepts is used to create dozens of different bar codes types for multiple applications.
What types of barcodes are there?
Barcodes are broken down into two groups: 1-D and 2-D barcodes. 1-D barcodes have a limit of information they can encrypt (usually up to 14 alpha-numerical characters). The 1-D barcodes generally cannot store as much information but can be scanned with less expensive scanners. The 2-D barcodes have the ability to hold thousands of times more information depending on which 2-D you choose. With the increased information storage of 2-D barcodes, they can be used to store biometrics, images and more. There are a wide variety of 1-D and 2-D barcodes to choose from. Some are open standards and formats and some are closed and proprietary. The following are some examples of different barcode types:
1. Code 39 - Code 39 is one of the most common 1-D barcodes and is sometimes referred to as the "3 of 9 code". "USS Code 39", "Code 3/9", "Type 39". The 3 of 9 barcode is capable of storing characters 0-9, A-Z, and some special characters and can store from 8 to 11 characters. The barcodes gets its name because each characters is stored using 3 wide and 6 narrow bars (for a total of 9).
2. Universal Product Code (UPC) BarCode - The Universal Product Code (UPC) is very recognizable in the United States and Canada because it is the standard barcode used on almost all products and allows products to be checked out and tracked by the point-of-sale systems. The code only stores numeric digits.
3. Maxicode - Maxicode is a 2-D barcode that can store up to 100 characters. This code was developed by United Parcel Service (UPS) and is printed on their shipping labels to help track packages. The barcode is distinctive because of the bull's-eye in the center of the code, which allows the reader to find the code quickly and read it even if moving rapidly and in any position.
4. PDF 417 - PDF 417 is a 2-D barcode that allows up to 1,800 characters to be stored. This code also allows linking of more than one PDF 417 barcode to have even more storage.
ColorID provides ID badging software that can print a variety of types of barcodes for your ID badges. Our software packages allow you to choose from over 20 different types of 1D and 2D barcodes. We can also supply you with a number of barcode readers and ID printer's capability of printing barcodes on your badges.
In this week's blog, ColorID weighs in on the new Datacard SD260 printer. If you'd like to learn more about this new line of printers, contact ColorID today toll free at (888) 682-6567 or visit us online at www.colorid.com/.
Datacard's new SD260 printer will replace the SP35 series printer. This unit comes in a compact size with some advanced standard features. This printer is a simplex (single sided unit) printer with the capability to do manual duplex (dual sided) printing. There are several upgrades available including: magnetic stripe encoder, smart card personalization, 100 output hopper and option security lock.
The SD260 prints incredibly fast, high quality direct to card images without card jams. Datacard prints speeds for full color simplex printing are around 18 seconds a card. When we tested this unit we came up with very similar print speeds. This makes the SD260 considerably faster than any other full color, simplex printer on the market. Datacard has also included a new technology on its input hopper called "TruePick". With this technology it can pick cards (standard and thin) every time with no adjustments.
The SD260 also comes with several eco-friendly features including: Energy Star qualifications, biodegradable supply cores, recyclable supply materials and a separate power-down button. To our knowledge this is the only Energy Star rated ID badge printer on the market.
The new LCD Screen has soft touch controls (similar to an iPod glass screen). The unit also comes standard with USB & Ethernet. This printer has the capability to be a high volume printer; however its main drawback is its inability to print dual sided cards or apply lamination. The new system worked successfully through all of ColorID's trials and we believe this will be a great improvement from the SP35.
Throughout the card printing process, the SD260 printer showed outstanding print speed, no temperature operating issues, and it maintained error free operation through 250 card prints. Datacard includes a 30 month depot warranty with the printer. This is 6 months better than the previous SP35 printer.
Below are some of the SD260's specifications and options available:
Today, anyone under the age of 25 would likely have no idea that it was not that many years ago that the checkout clerk punched information into a big machine for every item that was purchased at their local grocery store. Today we quickly move through the checkout line with our products being scanned and product prices jumping up on a screen in front of us. How did we move from the old cash register to the modern scanner systems we use today?
In 1948 a graduate student named Bernard Silver overheard someone ask if there was a way to identify and track grocery products. Silver told his friend Norman Woodland about this challenge and the two of them began to investigate methods and systems to identify products at check out. They tried several ideas before coming on the idea of a barcode type system that could be printed on products and read by a scanner. They came up with two barcode patterns: one with vertical bars and one that used a circular pattern. They were issued patent 2,612,994 for their invention in 1952. Later this patent was sold to RCA. Woodland was hired by IBM were he encouraged IBM to further develop his ideas.
In 1959 David Collins, who worked at Sylvania, developed a barcode like system to identify rail cars. His system used reflective material that were arranged in stripes and were affixed to the side of rail cars. This system was tested by different railways during the 60's and was ultimately made a standard by the Association of American Railroads. However, due to technical problems and a lack of enthusiasm by the railways, the idea was abandoned.
In 1966 the National Association of Food Chains held a meeting to discuss if there was any way to automatically identify grocery items at checkout. Representatives from RCA attended the meeting and since they had purchased the Silver and Woodland patent they proposed a system based on patents circular barcode. RCA pushed their circular barcode idea over the following years as many other companies got involved. At another meeting in 1971 RCA demonstrated their circular barcode. Also attending this meeting were representatives from IBM. After the meeting one of the IBM marketing people realized that one of the two original inventors of the RCA patent, Woodland, worked for IBM in North Carolina. They quickly started a project headed up by Woodland to create their own barcode system. The circular RCA barcode had serious problems with smearing when applied being products. The IBM barcode was just vertical bars and did not suffer from the same problems.
At 8:01 AM on June 26, 1974 at Marsh's Supermarket in Troy, Ohio a pack of Juicy Fruit gum was scanned using the newly created IBM barcode standard. This barcode became what we know today as the Universal Product Code (UPC Code) that can be found on almost every product in the stores today. The receipt for this first barcode scanned package of gum is in the Smithsonian Museum.
It took many more years for this new barcode system to be widely adopted by the grocery industry, because the grocery stores did not want to invest in scanners until the products were all labeled with the new barcodes and the manufactures did not want to invest in the labeling equipment until there was a significant number of stores that had scanners. Because of this "chicken or the egg" dilemma the new barcode grocery idea almost died. However by the early 80;s the adoption of the new barcode system had a foothold and became an industry standard.
Today barcodes are on everything from our ID Cards to our toothpaste packaging.
ColorID can supply you with a number of barcode readers and ID printer's that are capable of printing barcodes on your badges.
This year ColorID's employees choose to give back by giving of their time and resources in several ways, including:
The following tech tip is a quick overview on how proximity cards and readers work together.
The proximity card reader is wired to an access control system panel. The wires carry power to the reader, and data from the reader to the panel. The Reader emits an electromagnetic field called the "excite field". This field has an elliptical shape as shown in Figure # 1 below.
As Figure 1 shows, the field extends behind the reader almost as much as in front.
When a proximity card is brought within the field, the card absorbs some of the energy from the field. The card converts this field energy to electricity, which allows the electronic circuits in the card to "turn on" and transmit its number to the reader. The reader then sends the card number to the access control system panel, which then looks up in its database to see if the card number is valid and if it has rights to open that door at this time. If the card is approved, then the control panel sends a signal to the door lock to unlock for a period of time.
The card data transmission distance varies with card type and reader type. Larger, more powerful readers do exist; which can energize some cards at a much farther distance. The distance at which a card will successfully transmit data to the reader is called the "Read Range". The read range is approximate and can vary depending on the details of the installation. Maximum range is achieved when the reader is mounted away from metal and cards are presented parallel to the reader face. This allows the reader field to power up the card transponder at a farther distance.
ColorID is offering the new Zebra HC100 wristband printer system that allows admissions staff to produce wristbands on demand with antimicrobial-coated, long-lasting material so patients can be accurately identified.
Developed specifically to meet the unique needs of healthcare providers, the reliable HC100 patient I.D. solution makes wristband printing easier and more cost effective than any available laser solution. The HC100's direct thermal printer uses easy-to-load cartridges containing the only antimicrobial coated wristbands on the market, Zebra's Z-Band wristbands.
The HC100 printer detects the wristband size (adult, pediatric or infant) and automatically calibrates its settings for optimal print quality that remain scan-able for longer than the average patient stay. The HC100 is competitively priced with an MSRP around $999.
ColorID Expands Support for Higher Education Market
CORNELIUS, NC - October 22, 2010 - ColorID, LLC announced today they have hired a Higher Education Account Manager: Matt Genovese. Danny Smith, Executive Vice President of ColorID stated, "We have recently expanded our product line into the higher education market, including these new product offerings: biometric readers, logical access solutions, mobile identification kits and time and attendance solutions. The addition of Matt positions ColorID to service and support our Higher Education customers."
20480-F Chartwell Center Dr.
Cornelius, NC 28031
CONVENIENT PAYMENT OPTIONS
ColorID provides the highest quality products with superb service at an exceptional value. We want your experience with ColorID to be a positive one - from the ease of ordering products - to the quality of our products - to our follow up and our attention to detail.