Product identification – Can you survive without any?

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The need for product identification is not new. Since the early days of civilization, due to a lack of technological advancements, products traded and sold were identified in different ways. Clay jars, crates and sacks were distinguished through the shape of the vessels or unique markings made on them for identification purposes.

Dating back to 6000 BC, barter trading was the main system for the exchange of goods and services; this was before the invention of money.

By F.S. Church, published in Harper’s Weekly, January 17, 1874, p. 61. [Public domain]

The Need for Product Identification

Over time, the situation then transitioned into exchanging money for goods. With the evolution of business into mass production, previous methods of identification were not sustainable as  products now needed to be identified through category, name and description.

Similar to the evolution of street names, housing numbers, or even zip/postal codes, the invention of such identification allowed people to easily identify where they were going. Consequently, with ever-increasing inventories of parts and products, manufacturers and stores required new control mechanisms to track their status. Product identification became important in business in terms of logistics and data analysis.

After knowing the brief history for production identifications, we have seen these requirements for marking and identification evolve tremendously and can be found in almost every aspect of our modern day life or business.

What is tagging and marking like these days?

Today, our tagging & marking typically need to serve 5 key purposes

  • Product Identity
    The most basic and important purpose of labels is that it has to convey information on its identity mainly for tracking and tracing purposes. This can be in the form of descriptions, revisions, serial numbers or lot numbers. Another key identification purpose, especially in the Food & Beverage Industry, is to state the Manufacturing Start/Expiry date. Some labels would also need to include specific types of information as required by government legislation.
  • Security Risks
    Labels play a crucial role to reduce security risks due to the proper identification written on it. When there is a need to prevent any unauthorized opening of the packaging, there can also be tamper resistance labels to avoid such happenings.Labels could also have authentication seals such as serial number, barcodes, RFID, to reduce the risk of forgery or tampering.
    Product Identification - Tamperproof EMLS Label
  • Marketing
    The use of labels can also be for persuasion to encourage potential buyers to purchase a product. This is usually done with the use of graphic designs, attractive words and titles to entice the buyers. Most commonly, designed to reflect the brand’s message and speciality.
    Product identification - Stainless Steel self-adhesive label
  • User-Convenience
    Labels can contain information that could help the user/buyer by conveying instructions on handling, usage, display or sale.
  • Quantity Information
    Quantity is another important piece of information that would typically be required on labels. It tells the buyer or user the number of item in a covered packaging without the need to open up the package.

An ideal label concept would allow a product to be able traceable from the hands of an end user all the way backwards through delivery, manufacturing, raw material processes and to the point where supplies of raw material are identified.

With these said, if you require such a labeling system, Phoenix Contact has the perfect solution to provide you such printing mechanics. Our range of printers can provide the optimal labels that you require. “Clip Project Marking”, our labeling software, allows you to create your own product identifications by adding letters, numbers, barcodes, symbols, logos and pictures!

From there, you can print with the range of printers and over 3000 different materials catered for different uses and surfaces! Leave us your contact details at to learn more about Phoenix Contact Printing system.



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