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NFC Tag ID Printing

29 April 2020   |   Buying Advice

In many cases where your NFC Tags have been encoded with unique data or UID scanned, you may want to be able to visually identify each NFC tag with an ID number/sequence and/or QR code.  

This is called ID Printing. ID printing varies from product to product. Some of our larger labels and disc tags can easily handle an ID and QR code. Our smaller labels will only fit a short ID. 

How we print the ID/QR will depend on the product. For our stock white labels, we would typically use a high quality resin ribbon for weather resistance. For ABS disc tags, for example, we might laser etch. In all cases we use the most durable, most readable option and can always discuss options with you. 

The cost of ID printing varies by product and can be found on the drop down selector for ID print on each product page. 

ID Print Options

Numeric/Text Printing
The most common type of ID print is a unique numeric or alphanumeric (text and numbers) sequence designed to match the encoding. In these instances, you would supply a spreadsheet (as detailed below) with two columns. The first is the ID to be printed on the surface and the second is the data to be encoded to the tag. We take care of the rest.

Numeric/Text ID Print

UID Printing
This is where the 14 digit alphanumeric UID (unique ID) of the chip is scanned from the NFC tag and then printed on the surface. While perfectly possible, in reality, we don't usually recommend this because the UID can be visually difficult to read. A typically better way is that we scan the UID from the tags and create a spreadsheet with two columns, the first is a simple sequence of ID's and the second is the UID's. We then ID print the simple sequence onto the tags and provide the spreadsheet to you. Essentially, '12345' is a lot easier to read from the surface of the tag than '049C64D2452B80' !

QR Code Printing
Most of our white labels and PVC disc tags can easily be printed with QR Codes (or datamatrix) to create multi-function NFC/QR labels. The QR Code can either be the same on every tag - for example if you are doing a marketing project - or we can print a unique QR Code onto every tag. The QR Code data can either be the same as the NFC encoding or different to the NFC encoding. In addition, a unique alphanumeric or numeric sequence can be printed as well.

QR Code with ID Print

Logo/Artwork Printing
For white stock labels, in some cases we can also 'ID Print' simple artwork or logos. Note that the print is a simple black (not greyscale) so things need to kept very simple. However a simple call to action or NFC logo can usually be printed alongside. Logo/artwork printing can usually be combined with a UID print or even a unique (or single) QR Code print. We do charge extra for this but we try an keep costs to minimum. Send us your basic artwork or logo before you order and we can have a look to see what we can do.

For custom printed products, such as Sheet Express or Custom Print disc tags, full colour logos are no problem and part of the print process. 

Artwork with ID Print

Ordering ID Printing

If you aren't sure, then just contact us. The first time you order a complex encoding, QR Code and ID print batch it can be confusing and we understand that !

Example 1. A variable encode + ID print order
In this first example, the spreadsheet shows a simple order with variable encoding (all the tags are encoded with different data). Each tag is unique as indicated by a quantity of 1. The tags are printed with a sequential ID of 'A1234', 'A1235' which matches the encoding on the tags of A1234, etc. Note that there's no requirement for the ID print to mirror the encoding in any way - we print whatever you put in the ID column and encode the Data column.

This example would be ordered online with 'Variable Encoding', 'No UID Scan', and 'ID Print' . Remember to indicate clearly on the spreadsheet whether the tags are to be locked or unlocked.

Example 1 Variable encoding with a variable ID print.

Example 2. A complex encoding, QR Code, ID print order with batches
In this second example, we have a more complex order where there's an ID print on the tags combined with a QR code. The QR Code data doesn't match the NFC tag. Each encoding line is replicated either 10 or 20 times and the order is divided into two labelled batches of 'North A' and 'North B'. A total of 70 tags are ordered here.

This example would be ordered online with 'Variable Encoding', 'No UID Scan' and 'ID Print and/or QR Print' . Remember to indicate clearly on the spreadsheet whether the tags are to be locked or unlocked.

Example 2 Encoding with ID print, QR print, variable encoding and batches.

How Seritag ID print

How we print the ID and/or QR code will depend on the product.

For white labels, we thermal transfer printing directly onto the surface of the tag. We use a carefully selected resin based ink to ensure that the print is fade, scratch, heat and chemical resistant. While other print methods are cheaper and wax based inks might be faster, we are confident that our ID print process is the best available.

For ABS/PPS disc tags, we would usually laser etch the ID as it's durable and clear. If the ID print is static (like a logo or similar) we can screen/pad print in single or two colours in most instances. 

For PVC cards/hang tags/PVC disc tags, then you can have almost anything you want. The ID print can usually be in your own font and colour and the QR code position and size is completely flexible. In some cases, we will print the unique ID/QR along with any colour artwork. In other cases, we will print the artwork first and then QR code/ID print over the top. If you have a specific preference, then discuss with us in advance. 

Tags that can be QR Printed

We can QR Code print on the majority of our products that have the space to do so. The smaller the product or more importantly, the smaller the flat area, the more difficult it becomes. 

We always recommend as well to keep your QR code URL/data short. The number of dots in a QR Code is directly related to the amount of data or length or URL. The more dots, the smaller we have print each dot and the more difficult it can become to read the QR code if it's too small. 

Printing other barcodes

We have the ability to print datamatrix barcodes and other types (ie, not QR codes - the ones with the vertical lines) on the tags but this is a non-standard procedure and requires a different setup. Please contact us if you require barcode printing and we can run you through the options.

ID Print layout / design

For colour printed products such as PVC cards, keyfobs, etc, you can include the positioning of your ID sequence and/or QR code into your artwork. If it's dynamic (changes on each card), we will dynamically remove the QR code and replace with unique per card. 

For white labels, if you have a preferred layout then send us a pdf/image of how you want the QR/ID placed. We will generate a pdf proof of how it will look before we run a print. If you aren't sure, then leave it with us and we'll design it the best way and then send you a pdf proof to confirm before we proceed. 

NFC & QR Code Management
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