3 Proven Techniques for Barcoding Tools and Equipment

Selecting the correct barcode labels is vital for an efficient tool tracking system. Ensuring that the labels and barcodes can withstand harsh conditions is crucial for the success of the implementation.

  • Preprinted Labels
  • In-House Barcode Printing
  • Laser Etching Barcodes

1. Preprinted Barcode Labels

When it comes to pre-printed barcode labels, BarcodeShack recommends two types:

  • Polycarbonate labels are ideal for tool identification using barcodes. Printing the barcode subsurface is best, as this protects them from abrasion and chemicals.
    • Polycarbonate labels are also flexible and can be adhered to curved surfaces.
    • Polycarbonate labels can withstand water, brake fluid, alcohol, oil, gasoline, acetone, and hydrochloric acid.
    • Use a permanent adhesive to ensure that the label stays in place once applied.
  • Foil Anodized Aluminum Barcode Labels are great for tools as well. Make sure the printing process uses an anodizing process. The anodizing process protects the barcode from abrasion, chemicals, and high temperatures. Foil labels are also flexible and will adhere to curved surfaces.
    • Temperature Resistance of 650˚F is achieved, and foil anodized labels can withstand
    • Salt Spray, MII-S-3136 111 Hydrocarbon, Turbine and jet, JP-4 Fuel, Kerosene,
    • Hydraulic Fluid, Methyl Ethyl Ketone, Ethyl Acetate, Xylol, Heptane, Ethyl Alcohol, Ferric Chloride, Ammonium Hydroxide, MIL-P-21563 soap solution, MIL-C-25179, Sulfuric Acid, Phosphoric Acid, Nitric Acid, TSP (Trisodium Phosphate),  and Sodium Hydroxide.
    • Ensure the labels use a permanent adhesive to ensure proper adhesion to the tool.
Foil Anodized Aluminum Barcode Labels

2. In-House Barcode Printing

A thermal transfer printer is a fantastic technology that allows you to print tool tracking barcode labels in-house. The labels printed from a thermal printer are nearly as durable as their pre-printed counterparts.

Choose a polyester label matched with a resin ribbon and permanent adhesive to achieve success.

Polyester labels can withstand water, salt water, window cleaner, alcohol, ammonia, bleach, gasoline, grease, and oil.

Ensure the label has a 2 mil thick permanent adhesive to ensure adhesion to rumpled surfaces.

3. Laser Etching

Laser etching is a process that melts a tool’s surface to create barcodes or other markings directly on the tool itself.

Laser etching is superb for small tools or tools that otherwise may be impossible to barcode with a label. Laser etching method is ideal for hand tools like wrenches, pliers, and other hand tools.

You can outsource the laser etching or invest in a laser etching machine.

About BarcodeShack

BarcodeShack provides businesses with industry-leading hardware and software products and one-on-one assistance to help you select and implement a software solution that will meet your business requirements and overcome your current inventory management challenges. Our barcode-based systems specialists provide the knowledge and resources you need to choose, deploy and integrate the right solution that will scale with your small business as it grows. Consult with a BarcodeShack professional today to discuss your requirements and challenges, so you can be sure you reap the benefits of using the best solution for your inventory control and tracking needs.


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