All methods of collecting digital information depend on the proper coding of data and representing it via physical media. Attaching data to material media is realized by printing (in case of graphic codes) or by inducing it (in case of radio frequency coding). There are two major ways of printing labels, no matter what kind of graphical code will be used.
Thermal-transfer printing: it uses waxed ribbon to fix the image (text, graphic code or both) onto paper or plastic labels. This type of fixing is rather durable and reliable, and also long lasting, compared to the thermal direct printing. Of course it is more expensive, because of the wax tape used as mediator. It is used for labeling storage locations, permanent ID marking, transport labels, SSCC labels, etc.
Thermal-direct printing: it is cheaper than the thermal-transfer one because of the lack of mediator. It utilizes paper labels only. The images printed in this method are relatively not solid – they are fading for few weeks, especially where they are exposed on direct sunlight or rubbing. Usually it is used for temporary marking and labeling goods with short shelf life.
RFID enabled printers
RFID enabled printers: it is combo devices. They could prints graphic content on RFID enabled labels, but also are able to induct data in the same tags and labels.