Conference Badges Hold More Information Thanks to SATO's CL4 printer

End user: Austin Travel, business conference organizer
System: Efficient, on-demand conference badge printing including Code 128 and PDF417 barcodes, text and graphics

Austin Travel is a corporate travel agency that organises large business conferences. That's simple enough. But when its client is Symbol Technologies, a major producer of barcode scanners, print quality on ID badges is critical. Symbol Technologies use the barcodes on ID badges, which contain the registrant’s name, to find out who attends which conference sessions.

Issues: Real-Time Conference Badges
During previous conferences, a laser printer produced the ID badges with the person's name, Symbol's logo and a barcode. Print quality of the laser printer was however not up to the standards Austin Travel required.

Originally, Austin Travel had also produced a manual macro for every attendee using Word, to print the barcode on the label. This was very time-consuming resulting in on-site registrants sometimes waiting 30 minutes for a new badge. The laser printer also used sheet feed labels with 6 labels per sheet. Obviously Austin Travel could not ask registrants to wait for another 5 people to come along, so this led to a lot of costly wastage.

Adding to the dilemma, Austin Travel also wanted to put more information on the badges and planned to print a 2D barcode for increased data storage. The laser printer however does not have the memory capacity to handle this complex symbology. Austin Travel realised they needed more control over the printing process and an improved real-time badge printing capability.

Solution: 2D Barcode Badges in 30 Seconds
SSE Technologies assessed Austin Travel's needs and recommended the SATO CL 412, a 305 dpi thermal transfer printer, merging Symbol's attendee database with SATO software.

They chose the heavy-duty SATO CL 412 thermal printer because it made printing the badges easier and achieved a readable barcode. “We printed close to 2,000 badges at the last meeting; did all printing ahead of time; then shipped the printer on-site, at the registration area, for those last-minute changes," said Stuart Austin, Senior Vice President. With the new printer on-site changes, usually requested by 5% to 10% of attendees, are now easily and proudly accomplished. Rather than placed in a backroom, the SATO printer is now located at the front table and it takes just 30 seconds to produce a new badge. "We feel comfortable (producing the label before an attendee) because we know you are going to get a clear label, on the first try" says Austin.

The SATO printer has streamlined the job, printing each badge independently; avoiding wasted paper and time constraints. By adding a memory card, Austin can now also print a Code 128 and a 2-D PDF417 barcode on every badge. This simply had not been possible with the laser printer.

Printing barcode conference badges is now far more efficient. The CL 412 meets the customer’s demands, printing complicated 2-D barcodes as well as texts and graphics. It prints badges individually rather than using a sheet feed method, saving on material costs and together with SATO software, merging a label design with a database is now an easy process - registering a new visitor takes just 30 seconds. The quality print resolution also means that there is a high first time scanning rate of the barcodes. Data of those attending a particular conference can be quickly and accurately collected.

Based on this success, the travel agency now uses the system for other corporate events as well as their own internal use.