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What is Bar Width Reduction?

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When original barcode artwork is produced, then converted into an image onto a printing plate and finally printed, the printed bars usually end up slightly wider than the bars on the original. The amount by which a printed bar is wider than the same amount on the original is called ‘print gain’ or 'ink spread'. Factors that cause print gain include the plate-making process, print pressure, absorbency of the base material and ink coverage. To compensate for this, a ‘bar width reduction’ (BWR) is applied when making the original barcode.

Your printer will be able to advise you of the required BWR. It may be specified in inches (e.g. 0.000787”), millimetres (e.g. 0.02mm), microns (e.g. 5 microns) or as a printability range (e.g. H-K). See the table below.

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Printability Range

Minimum Magnification Factor

Bar Width Reduction

(mm)

Tolerance

(mm)

E-F

1.25

0.28

+ 0 - 0.08

E-G

1.20

0.25

+ 0.02 - 0.05

E-H

1.20

0.23

+ 0.05 - 0.02

E-I

1.30

0.20

+ 0.05

E-J

1.40

0.18

+ 0.02

E-K

1.50

0.16

+ 0.05 - 0.02

F-G

0.90

0.23

+ 0.01 - 0.05

F-H

1.00

0.20

+ 0.05

F-I

1.20

0.18

+ 0.05 - 0.02

F-J

1.25

0.15

+ 0.02

F-K

1.30

0.14

+ 0.02

G-H

1.05

0.18

+ 0.02 - 0.05

G-I

1.00

0.15

+ 0.05

G-J

1.10

0.13

+ 0.02 - 0.05

G-K

1.20

0.11

+ 0.05 - 0.02

H-I

0.90

0.13

+ 0.02 - 0.05

H-J

0.95

0.10

+ 0.02

H-K

1.00

0.09

+ 0.02

I-J

0.90

0.08

+ 0.02

I-K

0.90

0.06

+ 0.02

I-L

0.85

0.05

+ 0.02

J-K

0.80

0.04

+ 0.02

J-L

0.80

0.03

+ 0.03

K-L

0.80

0.02

+ 0.02

L-M

0.80

0.00

+ 0.00
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