The Epson LabelWorks PX400 is a compact, wireless 24mm label printer commonly used for a wide range of industrial labeling applications. With support for 15 types of barcode formats, one common application involves printing data matrix codes.
What are Data Matrix Codes?
Data matrix codes look similar to QR codes in that they are both square 2D codes with a series of black and white modules. QR codes are commonly used in mobile marketing, entertainment, and consumer applications while data matrix codes, which can store up to 2,335 alphanumeric characters, are most often used to mark small items.
The Department of Defense and Military Standard 130 mandates the use of data matrix codes for Unique Item Identification (UID) of certain items. The aerospace and automotive industries also use data matrix codes extensively to mark individual components. Because data matrix codes can store a large amount of data in a small space, they are an excellent choice for asset tracking and identification as well as data-driven applications.
But how small is too small? One of our customers recently asked if the Epson LW-PX400 could print readable data matrix codes on a 4mm label. As you can imagine, 4mm labels are quite thin, which would require a very small data matrix code.
We checked with Epson and found out that indeed, 4mm is too small to produce a readable data matrix code. On the Epson LW-PX400, you can produce a readable data matrix code on a 9mm label, but if you go any smaller, the code becomes unreadable.
That said, other Epson LabelWorks printers can print smaller, readable data matrix codes. For example, if you used either the Epson LW-PX800 or Epson LW-PX900 at a higher resolution (360dpi), you could print data matrix codes on 6mm labels. Epson’s product and training specialist says that the data matrix code would be a tight fit, but it would be readable thanks to the higher DPI print resolution of these two Epson LabelWorks printers (360 dpi versus 180 dpi on the PX400).
Our customer also wondered if the Epson LW-PX400 could be set up to print multiple barcodes in a sequential order without having to manually change the data for every print.
Yes, the software allows you to add sequencing to the data matrix code. In addition, you can import a spreadsheet containing the information to print a series of multiple barcodes in sequential order.
In short, the smallest label size you could use for printing data matrix codes on the Epson LW-PX400 is 9mm. If you need an even smaller data matrix code, you’ll need a printer with a higher resolution such as the Epson LW-PX800 or Epson LW-PX900, both of which will produce a readable data matrix code on 6mm labels.