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Losing Ink On Your UL Approved Labels?

Feb 29, 2008
Have you ever printed UL approved labels with your standard barcode printer and noticed that the ink was rubbing off? Did your Information Technology Staff think something was wrong with your printer because of this? The printer was actually doing its job just fine. The real problem was that the ribbon you were using wasn't a UL approved resin ribbon. Certain Ribbon, just like certain labels, must be UL recognized because of their different applications.

OK, so you are not sure what UL is and if you need UL product? Well, UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories and their mission is to be the trusted source across the globe for product compliance, and that is exactly what they are. UL has developed more than 1000 Standards for Safety. Their Standards for Safety are essential to helping ensure public safety and confidence, reduce costs, improve quality and market products and services. Millions of products and their components are tested to UL's rigorous safety standards with the result that consumers live in a safer environment than they would have otherwise. To see if your product fits into this category for testing, visit the ul web site.

Most electrical products fit into this category and the manufacturer of these products will print the labels that go onto the product with thermal transfer printers. Well, if the product is UL approved, then the labels going on the product must be UL approved as well. These labels are made up of a synthetic nature. Any synthetic label will require a much more rugged ribbon for printing. Also, that ribbon must be UL approved as well.

The question has come up asking if the barcode printer has to be UL approved. There really is no such thing as a UL barcode printer. All barcode printers can print UL labels as long as it is a thermal transfer barcode printer. The key is to load the printer with the proper UL approved labels and ribbon, because that is what actually goes onto the product you are manufacturing.

Now the key is to remember to turn up your heat settings if you have been using a wax ribbon in the past. This is because a resin ribbon requires more heat from the print-head to print properly. The wax ribbon transfers very easily to the label with little heat, but resin, because it is much more durable, requires much more heat to transfer it from the ribbon to the synthetic material. This also makes the image it prints much more durable and is why UL has approved it for use on UL approved products.

UL approved product can be found by using the UL web site for approved product. UL requires backup documentation to prove the materials used on your product are UL approved. This backup material can be provided by your label and ribbon source, if they are supplying you with properly approved material. Beware of suppliers that just state the material is approved. Always get the backup documentation. This will prevent any risk of shutdown in the event UL inspects or audits your processes.
About the Author
John Barth founded Adazon Barcode Labels and Barcode Equipment www.adazonusa.com in 2003 and has a wealth of information in the barcode arena from over 20 years of experience in distribution. John's experience allows companies to cut costs on barcode scanners, custom labels and total barcode solutions. For more information call 847-235-2700.
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