Colorado Engineering Experiment Station, Inc. (CEESI) is an industrial test facility that calibrates flow meters which are used to measure fluid through a variety of types of equipment. They calibrate a wide array of flow meters including large meters for energy companies and small tubing for the medical industry.
Looking to improve efficiency in inventory and testing processes, CEESI began to research bar coding. With a wide variety of pipes and materials moving throughout the facility at any given time, it was important to know what pipes were available, as well as which pipes were in a specific order during testing.
Bar codes would also allow CEESI to automate their quality control data entry process, moving away from manual entry, which was slower and more susceptible to errors. Furthermore, this would help technicians document a test set up quickly, so the same criteria could be easily repeated in additional tests.
In searching for bar codes, CEESI knew they needed a durable label that would resist the materials inside the testing facility, as well as stand up to the varying weather conditions outdoors where pipes are frequently stored. CEESI soon found a variety of durable bar code label options through Camcode.
After receiving bar code label samples from Camcode, James Beeson, Manager of Information Technology for CEESI, actually performed his own durability testing at home. He applied a Camcode label to a steel piece called an angle iron. He then froze it, thawed it, and moved it outdoors for a few days before refreezing it. He wanted to see how the label reacted when moved from one environment to another. The metal angle iron rusted slightly, but the bar code label stayed in place and remained readable throughout his testing.
Though they realized Camcode bar code labels were the labels of choice, the road to finding the exact label configuration for their application was more of a challenge. Because they had a variety of pipe sizes and each pipe surface is curved, they had to find the right combination of material thicknesses and adhesives that would work universally. A Camcode salesperson visited Beeson and the team on-site and worked with them to develop the best solution for their applications.
“There was a lot that I didn’t understand about the implications of bar code symbologies,” said Beeson. “Our salesperson was very helpful in explaining how bar codes work, and helped us select a different product than we had envisioned.”
Together with Camcode, CEESI developed a bar code solution that would meet their needs. They selected Camcode’s Metalphoto® Foil label for its flexibility and durability. To allow for smaller sized pipes and the need for durability, CEESI selected a 2-D symbology that included human readable characters to identify the type of pipe. The labels were then attached to each side of a V-shaped piece of angle iron, which was welded to each pipe. This would permit scanning from either side. Pipes three feet in length or longer would have two angle iron pieces welded to the pipe – one at the top and one at the bottom – creating greater scanning flexibility.
“Camcode took the time to really understand our applications and our needs,” Beeson said. “I am confident the labels we selected from Camcode will improve efficiency throughout our processes and will stand up in any test area in our facility.”