A barcode is an optical machine-readable representation of data, which shows data about the object to which it attaches.

Originally, barcodes represented data by varying the widths and spacings of parallel lines, and may be referred to as linear or 1 dimensional (1D). Later they evolved into rectangles, dots, hexagons and other geometric patterns in 2 dimensions (2D). Although 2D systems use a variety of symbols, they are generally referred to as barcodes as well. Barcodes originally were scanned by special±optical scanners called barcode readers, scanners and interpretive software are available on devices including desktop printers and smartphones. The first use of barcodes was to label railroad cars, but they were not commercially successful until they were used to automate supermarket checkout systems, a task for which they have become almost universal. Their use has spread to many other tasks that are generically referred to as Auto ID Data Capture (AIDC). The very first scanning of the now ubiquitous Universal Product Code (UPC) barcode was on a pack of Wrigley Company chewing gum in June 1974.


Barcodes such as the UPC have become a ubiquitous element of modern civilization. Some modern applications of barcodes include: 

Almost every item other than fresh produce from a grocery store, department store, and mass merchandiser has a UPC barcode on it. This helps track items and also reduces instances of shoplifting involving price tag swapping, although shoplifters can now print their own barcodes. 

Barcodes are widely used in shop floor control applications software where employees can scan work orders and track the time spent on a job.

Retail chain membership cards (issued mostly by grocery stores and specialty "big box" retail stores such as sporting equipment, office supply, or pet stores) use bar codes to uniquely identify a consumer. Retailers can offer customized marketing and greater understanding of individual consumer shopping patterns. At the point of sale, shoppers can get product discounts or special marketing offers through the address or e-mail address provided at registration.

Example of barcode on a patient identification wristband 

When used on patient identification, barcodes permit clinical staff to instantly access patient data, including medical history, drug allergies, etc. 

Document Management tools often allow for barcoded sheets to facilitate the separation and indexing of documents that have been imaged in batch scanning applications.

Barcoded parcel sent from Ukraine 

The tracking of item movement, including rental cars, airline luggage, nuclear waste, mail,express mail and parcels.

Tracking the organization of species in biology. The barcode assigned is based on the CO1 gene. 

Since 2005, airlines use an IATA-standard 2D barcode on boarding passes (BCBP), and since 2008 2D barcodes sent to mobile phones enable electronic boarding passes. 

Recently, researchers placed tiny barcodes on individual bees to track the insects' mating habits. Barcoded entertainment event tickets allow the holder to enter sports arenas, cinemas, theatres, fairgrounds, transportation, etc. This can allow the proprietor to identify duplicate or fraudulent tickets more easily.  

They can track the arrival and departure of vehicles from rental facilities. Barcodes can integrate with in-motion checkweighers to identify the item being weighed in aconveyor line for data collection 

Some 2D barcodes embed a hyperlink to a web page. A capable cellphone might be used to read the barcode and browse the linked website, which can help a shopper find the best price for an item in the vicinity. 

In the 1970s and 1980s, software source code was occasionally encoded in a barcode and printed on paper. Cauzin Softstrip and Paperbyte[14] are barcode symbologies specifically designed for this application. 

The 1991 Barcode Battler computer game system, used any standard barcode to generate combat statistics. 

In 1992 the Veterans Health Administration developed Bar Code Medication Administration system (BCMA). 

In the 21st century many artists started using barcodes in art, such as Scott Blake's Barcode Jesus, as part of the post-modernism movement. 

Today, barcodes are issued by GS1, the most widely used supply chain standards system in the world.

Linear symbologies are optimized for laser scanners. most such codes use four widths of 1. Linear symbologies can be classified mainly by two properties:  Continuous vs. The specification of a symbology includes the encoding of the single digits/characters of the message as well as the start and stop markers into bars and space. The second character is then encoded. many-width: Bars and spaces in two-width symbologies are wide or narrow.Symbologies The mapping between messages and barcodes is called a symbology. the intercharacter space is ignored. with one character ending with a space and the next beginning with a bar.Interleaved 2 of 5 is an example of this. The most common among the many 2D symbologies are matrix codes. . which feature square or dot-shaped modules arranged on a grid pattern. Stacked symbologies are also optimized for laser scanning. Stacked symbologies repeat a given linear symbology vertically. 2. Characters in discrete symbologies begin and end with bars. the size of the quiet zone required to be before and after the barcode as well as the computation of a checksum. The first character is encoded using black bars of varying width. 3 and 4 modules. 2-D symbologies also come in circular and other patterns and may employ steganography. which sweep a light beam across the barcode in a straight line. Bars and spaces in many-width symbologies are all multiples of a basic width called the module.  Two-width vs. reading a slice of the barcode light-dark patterns. by varying the width of the white spaces between these bars. as long as it is not wide enough to look like the code ends. hiding modules within an image (for example. Some symbologies use interleaving. or vice versa. Thus characters are encoded in pairs over the same section of the barcode. discrete: Characters in continuous symbologies usually abut. how wide a wide bar is exactly has no significance as long as the symbology requirements for wide bars are adhered to (usually two to three times wider than a narrow bar). with the laser making multiple passes across the barcode. DataGlyphs).

5 (C) is the minimum acceptable grade. Any trading partner in the supply chain can test barcode quality.0 (F to A). illumination angle. but instead of simply decoding a barcode. Doing so requires constant conditions such as distance. For most applications a 2. The measurement must be repeatable and consistent.In the 1990s development of charge coupled device (CCD) imagers to read barcodes was pioneered by Welch Allyn. a verifier performs a series of eight tests. sensor angle and verifier aperture. linear imaging had begun to supplant laser scanning as the preferred scan engine for its performance and durability. Barcode verifier standards  Barcode verifiers should comply with the ISO/IEC 15426-1 (linear) or ISO/IEC 15426-2 (2D). 2-D symbologies cannot be read by a laser as there is typically no sweep pattern that can encompass the entire symbol. In 2007. It is important to "grade" a barcode to ensure that any reader in the supply chain can successfully interpret a bar code with a low error rate. Barcode verifiers work like a readers. The lowest of the 8 grades is the scan grade.0 to 4. . like a laser scanner does. Compared with a reader. a verifier measures a barcode. Each test is graded from 0. This standard defines the measuring accuracy of a bar code verifier. In comparison. Retailers levy large penalties for non-compliant barcodes. Quality Control And Verification Barcode verifiers are primarily used by businesses that print and use barcodes. Imaging does not require moving parts. They must be scanned by an image-based scanner employing a CCD or other digital camera sensor technology. a reader must interpret a barcode as reliably as possible over a wide range of conditions.

182. barcode systems can provide detailed up-to-date information on the business. typically through a voluntary registration of discount cards. such as ANSI.S. The European Standard EN 1635 has been withdrawn and replaced by ISO/IEC 15416. This standard defines the quality requirements for barcodes and Matrix Codes (also called Optical Codes). While pitched as a benefit to the consumer. These standards are also available from local/national standardisation organisations. BSI. Besides sales and inventory tracking. Slow-selling items can be identified.    Historical data can be used to predict seasonal fluctuations very accurately. more profitable items to occupy the best space. For example:    Fast-selling items can be identified quickly and automatically reordered. barcodes are very useful in logistics. preventing inventory build-up. This technology also enables the profiling of individual consumers. NEN and others. allowing fast-moving. this practice is considered to be potentially dangerous by privacy advocates. barcode quality specification was ANSI X3. Benefits In point-of-sale management. Items may be repriced on the shelf to reflect both sale prices and price increases. The current international barcode quality specification is ISO/IEC 15416 (linear) and ISO/IEC 15415 (2D). International standards are available from the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO).  As of 2011 the ISO workgroup JTC1 SC31 was developing a DPM quality standard : ISO/IEC TR 29158. The original U. (UPCs used in the US²ANSI/UCC5). . DIN. accelerating decisions and with more confidence. The effects of merchandising changes can be monitored.

P.  A database can link the UID to relevant information about the box.  The information can be transmitted through a communication system such as Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) so the retailer has the information about a shipment before it arrives. items packed. contents. a Unique Identifying Number (UID) can be assigned to the box. Continuous Many Worldwide retail.C. The exact error rate depends on the type of barcode.  Shipments that are sent to a Distribution Center (DC) are tracked before forwarding. etc. When the shipment reaches its final destination. When a manufacturer packs a box for shipment. and cost. with only about 1 substitution error in 15. Barcode scanners are relatively low cost and extremely accurate compared to key-entry.000 to 36 trillion characters entered. destination. GS1-approved International Standard ISO/IEC 15420 Codabar Discrete Two Old format used in libraries and blood banks and on airbills (out of date) . such as order number. Types of barcodes Linear barcodes Continuous Symbology or discrete Bar widths Uses U. qty packed. the UID gets scanned. so the store knows the shipment's source.

not an own symbology Code 128B Continuous Many Various . libraries (NO) International standard ISO/IEC 16390 Code 39 Discrete Two Various . not an own symbology Code 11 Discrete Two Telephones (out of date) .only a CODE 128 character set. not an own symbology Code 128C Continuous Many Various .International Standard ISO/IEC 15417 Code 128A Continuous Many Various .only a CODE 128 character set.international standard ISO/IEC 16388 Code 93 Continuous Many Various Code 128 Continuous Many Various .only a CODE 128 character set.Code 25 ± Non-interleaved 2 of 5 Continuous Two Industrial (NO) Code 25 ± Interleaved 2 of 5 Continuous Two Wholesale.

2 AI Datastructures. GS1 DataBar. GS1-approved EAN 2 Continuous Many not an own symbology . GS1-approved . EAN 13 Continuous Many Worldwide retail. Its not an own symbology.to be used only with an EAN/UPC according to ISO/IEC 15420 Addon code (books). incorrectly referenced as EAN 128and UCC 128 Continuous Many various. formerly Reduced Space Symbology Continuous Many (RSS) Various.8. GS1-approved International Standard ISO/IEC 15420 Facing Identification Mark Continuous One USPS business reply mail GS1-128 (formerly known as UCC/EAN-128). GS1-approved .CPC Binary Discrete Two DUN 14 Continuous Many Various Addon code (magazines).not EAN 5 Continuous Many an own symbology . GS1-approved -is just an application of the Code 128 (ISO/IEC 15417) using the ANS MH10.to be used only with an EAN/UPC according to ISO/IEC 15420 EAN 8.

replaces both Intelligent Mail barcode Continuous Tall/short POSTNET and PLANET symbols (previously known as OneCode) .is a datastructure to be used with Code 128. GS1-approved .HIBC (HIBCC Health Industry Bar Code) Discrete Two Healthcare [19] . Code 39 or DataMatrix Non-retail packaging levels. store shelves.is just an Interleaved 2/5 Code (ISO/IEC ITF-14 Continuous Many 16390) with a few additional specifications. inventory (no international standard available) PLANET Continuous Tall/short United States Postal Service (no international standard available) POSTNET Continuous Tall/short United States Postal Service (no international standard available) United States Postal Service. according to the GS1 General Specifications Latent image barcode Neither Tall/short Color print film Pharmacode Neither Two Pharmaceutical packaging (no international standard available) Plessey Continuous Two Catalogs.

is a two-dimensional way of representing information. also known as a 2D barcode or simply a 2D code. It is similar to a linear (1-dimensional) barcode. . Symbology Notes 3-DI Developed by Lynn Ltd.MSI Continuous Two Used for warehouse shelves and inventory PostBar Discrete Many Canadian Post office RM4SCC / KIX Continuous Tall/short Royal Mail / Royal TPG Post JAN Continuous Many Used in Japan. similar and compatible with EAN-13 (ISO/IEC 15420) Telepen Continuous Two Libraries (UK) Matrix (2D) barcodes A matrix code. but has more data representation capability. ArrayTag From ArrayTech Systems.

Chromatic Alphabet an artistic proposal by C. CP Code From CP Tron. Inc. C. Code 49 Stacked 1D barcodes from Intermec Corp. CyberCode From Sony. Inc.Aztec Code Designed by Andrew Longacre at Welch Allyn (now Honeywell Scanning and Mobility). Public domain. mainly used in Korea. Compact Matrix Code From Syscan Group. Code 1 Public domain. Elian. -. Code 16K Based on 1D Code 128.hues. . Codablock Stacked 1D barcodes. ColorCode ColorZip[21] developed colour barcodes that can be read by camera phones from TV screens. divides the visible spectrum into 26 different wavelengths .International Standard ISO/IEC 24778 Small Aztec Code Space-saving version of Aztec code.

Grid Matrix Code From Syscan Group. formerly RVSI Acuity CiMatrix/Siemens. Uses greyscale or colour.d-touch readable when printed on deformable gloves and stretched and distorted DataGlyphs From Palo Alto Research Center (also known as Xerox PARC). All 3 South Korean mobile carriers put the scanner program of this code into their . Increasingly used throughout the United States. Public Datamatrix domain. licensed by ISAN-IA. Inc. Dot Code A Designed for the unique identification of items. From Microscan Systems. High Capacity Color Barcode Developed by Microsoft. Single segment Datamatrix is also known as Semacode . InterCode From Iconlab. Inc. The standard 2D barcode in South Korea. EZcode Designed for decoding by cameraphones.Standard: ISO/IEC 16022. INTACTA. Inc.CODE From INTACTA Technologies. Inc. HueCode From Robot Design Associates. Datastrip Code From Datastrip.

PaperDisk High density code. Aims at Optar maximum data storage density. images.handsets to access mobile internet. Optimized for use with mobile device cameras. Developed and patented by Cobblestone . Designed to enable advanced cell mobile applications with standard camera phones. MaxiCode Used by United Parcel Service. Inc. MiniCode From Omniplanar. used both for data heavy applications (10K ± 1 MB) and camera phones (50+ bits). and minigames for Game Boy Advance on Pokémon trading cards. 200kB per A4 page with laser printer. as a default embedded program. JAGTAG From JAGTAG. Now Public Domain Developed by Nextcode Corporation specifically for camera phone mCode scanning applications. Developed by Twibright Labs and published as free software. for storing data on paper. Inc. without the need for network connectivity Nintendo eReader#Dot code Developed by Olympus Corporation to store songs. Designed to disseminate high capacity mobile phone content via existing MMCC colour print and electronic media. MicroPDF417 Facilitates codes too small to be used in PDF417.

ShotCode Circular barcodes for camera phones by OP3. PDF417 Originated by Symbol Technologies. These codes are also used frequently for Android OS phones. SPARQCode QR Code encoding standard from MSKYNET. Initially developed. images. Before that probably known as TRIPCode. . De facto standard for Japanese cell phones. patented and owned by Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave for car parts management. -. PDMark Developed by Ardaco. emails. Can encode Japanese Kanji QR Code and Kana characters. music. Inc. Snowflake Code From Marconi Data Systems.Software.International Standard : ISO/IEC 18004 QuickMark Code From SimpleAct Inc. SmartCode From InfoImaging Technologies. SuperCode Public domain. now public domain. Also used with BlackBerry Messenger to pickup contacts rather than using a PIN code. Public Domain. URLs. Originally from High Energy Magic Ltd in name Spotcode. Inc.

Speed A bar code label of twelve characters can be wanded in approximately the time it takes a keyboard operator to make two keystrokes. Five Advantages of Barcodes Barcode systems provide an array of benefits. Public domain. Inc.Trillcode From Lark Computers.VSCode From Veritec. including operational efficiency. . Invented by Jeffrey Kaufman and Clive Hohberger. Can encode a variety of "actions". and improved visibility of key business information to management. UnisCode also called "Beijing U Code". WaterCode High-density 2D Barcode(440 Bytes/cm2) From MarkAny Inc. UltraCode Black-and-white & colour versions. a colour 2D barcode developed by Chinese company UNIS VeriCode. Designed to work with mobile device's camera or webcam PC. better customer service.

000 300 1 Operators of bar code scanners can learn to use the equipment effectively in less than 15 minutes. Cost Effectiveness Barcode systems have a demonstrated payback period of six to eighteen months. but also by preventing costly errors. lost business and higher operating expenses.000. System costs are lower than other means of data entry because of the existence of interfacing hardware and software. Barcode systems create value not only by saving time.000 characters. Protect your organization by ensuring data accuracy and availability.000 characters typed by a keyboard operator. there are an average of ten keying errors. they approach one error in 70 million entries. With wands. What is the standard for your company's data? Information is your most valuable asset. Data Entry Method Keyboard Entry OCR Scanning Barcode scanning (Code 39) Ease of Implementation Errors 10.000 reads. Data Integrity Portable number of substitution errors per 3. there is one error in every 10. barcode systems approach one error in every 3.400. Wrong information in your supply chain or operations can create unacceptable risks. and can be printed universally. . Barcode labels can cost less than a penny apiece. and with laser technology. so you need the most reliable data management systems available for your budget. are easily read by thousands of commonly available devices.000 characters. For an Optical Character Reader (OCR).Accuracy For every 1. and they provide the highest level of reliability in a wide variety of data collection applications.

customer service. thereby providing lot traceability. Organize Shipping and Receiving Whether you receive shipments with barcodes applied by suppliers or you need to print and apply labels for internal use. barcodes provide a way to monitor the flow of inputs. barcode data collection provides direct benefits to labor productivity. supplier. Once in transit. and . production control. Labels identify the item. When shipping packages. purchase order number. efficient generation of barcode labels. lot number. barcode labels provide an effective means of tracking packages and collecting proof of delivery. Knowing what you have.Four Ways You Can Improve Operations What benefits can you expect from the application of barcoding? From the receiving dock to the shipping door. barcode labels are often mandatory. supplies and materials that you purchase. date of delivery. space requirements and inventory management. and consume. Barcode label software can integrate with your database systems to provide convenient. This information is then used to create a receiving and purchasing record which becomes part of the material's history throughout its cycle. stock. Manage Inventory Effectively The most valuable characteristic of barcodes in inventory control is keeping track of parts. and more. operational costs.

inefficiency and losses can be minimized. grow crops or harvest timber. office furniture. accurate information. Deciding which scanning technology is right for . conduct physical inventories. By attaching a label to capital equipment. files and other valuable inventory that changes hands within an organization. prevents costly disruptions. computers and other fixtures. effective management depends upon timely. and perform preventative maintenance. and increases sales revenue. Circulating assets include equipment. Whether you run a factory or a hospital. creating a leap in productivity and accuracy. calculate depreciation easily. By tracking who has custody of each asset. Two competing data capture devices: the laser scanner and the digital imager have many businesses facing a tough decision. you can keep an account of what you own. Use Automatic Data Collection Virtually any data collection process that currently runs on clipboard and paper can be managed with barcodes and mobile computers. Track Fixed and Circulating Assets The application of bar coding to fixed assets was one of this technology's first uses. saves money in purchasing. tools.where to find it. Barcode Scanning Technology Which Scanning Technology Is Right for Your Business? Scanning technology is constantly evolving and providing industries with more choices in data capture solutions.

for applications that don¶t require reading 2D barcodes. Knowing the advantages and applications in which these two technologies are used is the first step to success. scanners are less expensive than . this allows operators to achieve high productivity in high-throughput areas of business. The use of 2-dimensional (2D) symbologies is on the rise in many markets. Laser Scanners Symbol LS2208 Laser scanners provide excellent scanning productivity and accuracy. However. Symbology 2D Data Matrix Code Both laser scanners and digital imagers are programmed to decode specific symbologies. Because laser scanning technology has been refined. The symbology used in the application can help determine which scanning technology will provide the most benefit.your application can be a difficult task. making digital imagers a better choice. The key to deciding between these two technologies is determining which fits the requirements and budget of your business most accurately. Laser scanners are capable of decoding barcodes over wide ranges and can achieve 50% more range than digital imagers. laser scanners are a cost-effective option.´ of barcodes. or the ³language.

and tracking applications. PDF417. eliminating the need to accommodate the scanning device. digital imagers (also known as area imagers) can decode 2D barcodes. In addition to reading one and two-dimensional barcodes. high performance digital imagers can capture and transfer images. making digital imagers beneficial to transportation. Area imagers enable omni-directional reading of barcodes.comparable digital imagers. 2D barcodes can be encoded with significantly more information than 1D barcodes. they are capable of reading a 2D-like symbology. Laser scanners offer a number of advantages for a multitude of applications and should be considered the technology of choice for: y y y y Decoding at long distance Decoding UPC/EAN and other 1D barcodes used in retail Applications that require motion tolerance Self-Service shopping While laser scanners prove to be advantageous in certain applications. enabling signature capture and the scanning of . Although laser scanners are incapable of reading 2D symbologies. Digital Imagers Intermec CK31 with EX25 Imager In addition to 1D barcodes. logistics. other markets are better suited for digital imagers or a combination of both technologies.

When choosing a data capture technology. laser scanners or digital imagers. DPM is growing in popularity and allows a product to be tracked throughout its life. provides the most benefits for your business applications is the key. improve efficiency. and reduce operational costs. Area imagers have proven to be beneficial in the following areas: y y y y y Decoding all kinds of 1D and 2D barcodes Decoding DPM (Direct Part Marking) Decoding critical tracking information Capturing images for inventory management Combining barcode decoding. businesses must apply a careful analysis of the capabilities and advantages of each technology. linear imagers aren¶t capable of decoding entire images or 2D barcodes as an area imager can. Area imagers have the capability of reading Direct Part Marking (DPM). . Digital imagers offer many advantages in certain applications.documents. and signature capture in a single device Which one Should Your Use? When used in appropriate markets. laser scanners and digital imagers both deliver numerous benefits. the combination of the two technologies may even be the correct decision. image capture. Although data is captured in a similar way. At times. a method of permanently marking a product. Both are powerful technologies that will increase productivity. Area imagers offer significantly more benefits and are the only choice for 2D barcode applications. but area imagers are not to be confused with linear imagers. Recognizing which technology.

. even ID bracelets. Barcodes can be printed on documents. The barcode image is produced by hundreds of dots printed in a matrix to make the series of lines and spaces commonly referred to as a barcode. or more frequently.Comparison of Barcode Printers A number of different print technologies are available to print barcodes. Laser. Inkjet. Barcode Printing Technology There are four basic types of barcode printers: Dot Matrix. Summary of Different Barcode Printing Technologies Technology Print Quality Dot Matrix Ink Jet Laser Direct Thermal Excellent Thermal Transfer Excellent Excellent Excellent Moderate/High Low Low Fair Moderate Moderate Scanner Readability Low Low/Moderate Moderate Initial Installation Long Term Cost Low/Moderate High Moderate/High Moderate/High Maintenance Moderate/High Moderate/High Moderate/High Low Material Waste High High High Low Moderate/ Moderate/ Dot Matrix Dot matrix print technology is a longstanding method of producing barcodes on-site. Impact printing includes dot matrix and drum (or formed character) printers. laser etching and ink jet printers. These technologies roughly break down into two categories: impact and non-impact printing techniques. tags or other media. and Thermal. thermal transfer. adhesive labels. electrostatic (laser printers). Non-impact printing includes thermal direct.

nor can they be water or chemical resistant. Ink Jet Ink Jet printing is usually used in high production settings where production of barcodes and human readable fonts need to be reproduced at high rates of speed. Advantages: y Direct ink jet printing requires only one step to finish the carton or readable material. Ink saturation can result in bleeding on the paper resulting in image distortion Though many types of material can be printed on. y y y Printing of single labels results in a great loss of media and is inefficient No graphics capability Speed is suffered when trying to produce best ink coverage for optimal readability. where other forms may require adhesion of a label to the finished product y A favorite on high-speed production lines due to its ability to mark ³on the fly´ Limitations: y System installation is very costly as this method is designed for high-volume barcode printing ± not for individual or batch printing y Requires constant supervision to prevent inkjet clogging and maintain proper print quality .Advantages y y y Printers are easily accessible and a less expensive option of printing Various surfaces can be used to print on Multi-pass ribbons can reduce costs for ribbons and label materials Limitations y y y y Barcodes are low to medium density and may not match up to a users standard Reusable ribbons can produce illegible barcodes resulting in lower read rates. often these labels are not durable.

Direct Thermal Direct thermal printing is an older technology designed for use with copier and fax machines that utilizes chemically coated paper.y y Material use is restricted due to possible bleeding on certain materials Printing on dark backgrounds. Advantages y Print high-quality text and graphics on paper documents and can double as a document printer when not being used to print barcodes. result in hard to read barcodes. as explained below. Toner costs are generally huge with laser printers as they require five times more toner than normal text Thermal Thermal printing includes Direct Thermal and Thermal Transfer. y Density and resolution are relatively high. It has since been transformed into a highly successful . allowing the production of scanable barcodes at any wavelength when read with an infrared scanner Limitations y y y y Not well suited for industrial environments Wasteful in small operations Label adhesives must be strong enough to withstand the heat and pressure of the fuser Limited durability ± cannot produce water resistant nor chemical resistant labels. such as corrugated cardboard. These two particles are then bonded together by the heat and pressure of the drum. Scanning devices must be chosen carefully to ensure proper readability Laser A laser printer works much like a photo copier. Charging particles of the paper that then attract ions from the ink.

A durable. polyester ribbon film coated with dry thermal transfer ink is placed between the thermal printhead and label. The image is produced by rows of dots caused by chemical reactions that are formed as the media passes beneath the active edge of the printhead.technology for barcoding. Generally Thermal printers are built more durably than dot matrix or laser printers Limitations y y Sensitive to environmental conditions such as heat and light. Thermal Transfer: Thermal Transfer printers use the same basic technology as direct thermal printers. sometimes requiring a coating adhered to the paper to protect from UV light exposure.) that are arranged perpendicular to the flow of the paper. but replace chemically coated paper with a non-sensitized face stock and a special. The direct thermal printhead consists of a long. chemicals and abrasions. Paper remains chemically coated after printing. The polyester ribbon is then peeled away. inked ribbon. where it cools and anchors to the media surface. . toner or ribbon to monitor or replace y Batch or single label printing is available with minimal waste. The thermal printhead transfers the ink onto the label surface. leaving behind a stable. Advantages y y y Produces sharp print quality with great scanability Ideal for applications with a short-shelf life such as shipping labels and receipts Simple to operate and inexpensive to maintain ± no ink. passive image. Each printhead element locally heats an area directly below it on the paper. linear array of tiny resistive heating elements (roughly 100-300/in.

choosing the cheapest scanner may force you to buy another scanner in the long run. so it doesn't fail due to use or abuse. It is not as simple as picking the cheapest reader. high-definition text. Depending on your work environment. and barcodes for maximum readability and scanability y y y y y Produces long life scanability Produce batch or single print labels with minimum waste Long-term maintenance is low compared to dot-matrix. .Advantages y Crisp. Though cost savings maybe a large consideration. you'll need a scanner with an appropriate IP Rating. and laser Print on a high variety of media stock High durability Limitations y Supply costs slightly higher than Direct Thermal as Thermal transfer requires ribbon replacement. though their printhead lasts longer y y y Ribbon can be wasteful if little is printed from it Poor candidate for recycling Ribbon and Media MUST be compatible Barcode Scanner Comparison Which barcode scanner do I need? There are many options to consider when choosing a barcode scanner. inkjet. graphics.

Imaging Laser scanners are generally more expensive than CCD scanners. hard surface as CCD scanners are used in close contact situations. In addition. most come in standard. as they both will read poor quality barcodes with great accuracy. Though imaging technology may be slower out of the gate. Laser Scanners have different options for the distance you need to scan. that if you laminate or otherwise protect the label. this will affect your choice of scanner. Handheld scanners are a better fit with large. Remember. ambient light can also curtail the effectiveness of fixed beam readers. A situation for a CCD scanner may be a bright location. CCD Scanning vs. Dirt. allowing workers to scan items on the top shelf of a warehouse without having to move closer to the item. or automated assembly lines. when the quality of a barcode decreases. Imaging technology will take a picture of the barcode and then read the barcode from that image. too. Most applications use handheld scanners. typically outside. bulky items. Such examples of this are Point-of-Sale (POS) applications. oil or grease will cause bad reads unless infrared scanners are used which can detect high-carbon inks below the smears and stains that occur on factory floors. . and extra-long range capabilities. These scanners are also a better option when the barcode is not on a flat. where placing the scanner directly over the barcode will block out most outside light giving a quicker and more accurate read. but can often be more efficient in their scanning ability. or when you have to scan multiple items in different locations.Handheld vs. long range. the read rate for imagers increases as the imager will look over the entire height of the barcode to find a complete strand automatically. Hands-free Scanners Hands-free scanners are more efficient when it is easier to bring the barcode to the scanner rather than the scanner to the barcode. For these conditions you would require a high density laser scanner. What Type of Laser Scanner do I Need? Heat and light will cause thermal labels to darken. or an imager. Laser vs. They can be designed to read barcodes from a great distance.

but possibly the kind of printer! O .C.Barcode Scanner: What kind of scanning device will you be using to read your barcodes. grooved. But.R. if you remember the nine letters in B. With that said picking out the right labels can be a difficult procedure.Attach: What surface will your labels be attached to? Smooth.I. R . light. and Barcoding.D.O. A .G. If so. .com can be your supplier. or dirty surfaces can all AFFECT your label selection. curved. Labels can have different light absorbing characteristics. C .Rate: How many labels are you printing per minute? Per day? Per week? Per year? Labels have many different materials and qualities.Do-it-yourself: Did you know that you do not have to buy a printer for every label application? Some applications.Clock: How long must the label last? What is the shelf-life of the product the label is on? Is it a mailing label to be used once or an asset label that needs to be on a fixed asset for life? This factor will not only determine the kind of label.you shouldn't have a problem.Operating Environment: One of the most important considerations is the operating environment the labels will be exposed to. and make your warehouse operation more efficient. there is a label for you. so the kind of labels will be one factor in determining the final cost. Will the label be exposed to extreme heat or cold. Having the correct labels for your application can improve accuracy. which can improve the performance and efficiency of your scanner. rough. like tracking Fixed Assets with RioScan's Fixed Asset software.N. lower material handling costs.A. extreme handling. require only pre-printed labels.Nine Factor to Consider When Selecting Barcode Labels Consumable media is a critical component of your printing system. or chemicals. dryness or wetness. D . B .

ID cards. There are many different ways to barcode on item such as hanging tags. CONTINUOUS/DISCRETE Barcode symbologies are either continuous or discrete. Labels can come as small as 1/8" x ½" or as large as 11" x 17". Make sure that labels will suit your needs best. Choosing a label with a common size. and direct print. "how big is my label?" is the first consideration. Do you want your label to be permanently adhered to the surface or you do want it to be removable? Should your label leave behind a tamper-indication if is played with or is it important for the label to leave behind little to no residue when it is removed? These are all important questions and viable options for your labels program! Other Factors that Affect Barcode Labels BAR HEIGHT For hand-held readers. Continuous symbologies use the intercharacter gap as a character. .Glue: The type of glue used to adhere the label to your surface is very important.I . metal tags. bar height is at least one-quarter of an inch or 15 percent of the entire code's length. Other elements of the code are multiples of the "X" dimension.Inches: It is a matter of inches! The simple question. some barcoding applications occur on tags that hang from an item. or "stock size" can help reduce costs. "X" DIMENSION The "X" dimension is the width of the narrowest element of the barcode. N .Need: What exactly is you labeling need? For example. G . rather than stick to it. CHARACTER DENSITY Density refers to the number of characters which can be encoded in a given unit of length and is vitally important to the eventual application of a barcode. whichever is greater. whereas discrete symbologies do not.

the specifications which apply to paper also apply to laminates. Laminates should not interfere with the scanning ability of the barcode reader. LAMINATES In many ways.FIRST PASS READ RATE The first read rate is the ratio of the number of successful reads to the number of attempted reads. Some require labels to permanently affixed to an item. RIBBON FACTORS The principal rule to remember with ribbons is that the ribbon you use in the office will probably not meet the specifications or requirements of the bar coding environment. ADHESIVES Adhesives vary with each application. such as a piece of capital equipment. Barcode reader .

a lens and a light sensor translating optical impulses into electrical ones. . it consists of a light source. Additionally.A handheld barcode scanner A barcode reader (or barcode scanner) is an electronic device for reading printed barcodes. nearly all barcode readers contain decoder circuitry analyzing the barcode's image data provided by the sensor and sending the barcode's content to the scanner's output port. Like a flatbed scanner.

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