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Raising the Barcode

Published Monday May 26, 2014

The ubiquitous barcode—it’s everywhere in our daily lives and yet we give little thought to it. What more is there to say really? You scan it and move on. Electronic Imaging Materials (EIM) in Keene, though, gives it substantial thought. The company's barcode labels must stand up to extreme cold (as low as 196 degrees below zero) and extended chemical exposure with no damage.

“The main reason people come to us is for durable labels and barcodes,” Alex Henkel, owner of EIM, says. “And because they want innovative design when they’re not sure if something can be labeled.”

EIM makes custom data labels, and sells the hardware and software for others to make their own labels. They regularly use more than 100 materials for label sticks, topcoats, adhesives and liners to meet their customers’ needs, and they bring in different materials if needed. EIM also developed labels called EverPeel that can stick to many surfaces but also be removed and reused without damaging surfaces like paper, metal, Teflon, plastic or PVC piping.

One key market is laboratory, health care and scientific research. Custom software and portable labeling machines let EcoHealth Alliance, a New York-based conservation organization, print labels in the field for oral swabs, urine, feces and blood samples from animals so they can document the animal’s health status.

EIM also makes labels for genetic samples, organisms and diseases using its patented CryoLabels. These are unique cold-temperature labels for vials, test tubes and other surfaces that will be exposed to freezing temperatures and liquid nitrogen, which boils at -196 degrees Celsius. The Federal Bureau of Investigation uses CryoLabels.

The labels and equipment have been shipped to 75 countries in the past seven years. That diversity in markets contributed to the company’s 12 percent revenue growth between 2012 and 2013.

EIM currently has 27 full-time employees. In 2010, the company invested in a digital ultraviolet inkjet printer that allows it to print labels in thousands of colors in house. “Now we know whatever the customer specifically wants, we can definitely do,” Henkel says.

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