Barcode Verification

Barcode Verification

Barcode Verification is all about making sure that your bar codes meet compliance labeling standards. In a nutshell, the goal of verification is to predict or ensure the readability of a barcode. The verification of a bar code tells you everything you need to know about how that particular bar code, and any of those bar codes printed on the same printer, should perform in any environment, with a wide range of scanners.

Barcode verifiers are precision instruments that are designed to predict how well a bar code will be read by a typical scanner. These devices are necessary for any company where compliance labeling is an issue. We've all been in a line up at the check out counter and witnessed the failure of a scanner reading a particular barcode. Not only is barcode scanning failure a waste time during a point of sale transaction, it can mean significant fines, a loss of business and the inclusion of an inferior product in the production and storage process. See all our barcode verifiers here.

Automated Identification and Data Capture

Automated Identification and Data Capture or AIDC has revolutionized the way companies do business. As a method of identifying objects, collecting data about them, and entering that data directly into computer systems with any human input, AIDC is the foundation upon which all business transactions take place. When this process fails, the entire business transaction between the manufacturer and the consumer is compromised. Hence the huge fines, for example, laid against suppliers whose barcode labels are repeatedly misread. Barcode failure is no longer an option.

Barcoding

The barcode, which first appeared around 1975, is virtually everywhere. It is rare to come across a product that does not have a bar code associated with it somewhere in its life cycle. It is probably the least expensive and most reliable method of identifying products and recording that data into a computer. There are three Barcoding Phases:

1. Printed but not widely used - 1975 - 1990
2. Printed but prone to readability errors - 1990 - 1998
3. Printed, used and always readable - 1998 - 2007

The highly automated systems of today require barcodes that are not only readable, but readable every time. These systems have no manual back up data entry system and are critical in automated material handling, medical and large retail store chains just to name a few.

The Problem - Barcode Printers

Regardless of what a printer manufacturer might have you believe, there is no perfect print process. Thermal printers may have ribbon wrinkles, burned out print head elements, improper heat and speed settings or a miss-marriage of the ribbon and face stock. With that being said, printers today do produce high quality print and any printer type, if properly maintained, will print good bar codes, most of the time. However, this may even make the problem worse. Knowing that the printer is likely to print a good code means that inspection becomes less appealing. Companies cannot afford to have someone do constant visual inspection and if they could the inspector would rapidly lose interest. This means that bar codes go unchecked. Enter the need for barcode verification.

Barcode Verification

A verifier is not the same as a scanner. A scanner is typically a mass-produced item that provides machine recognition of the data encoded in a bar code symbol. Using a scanner to read a bar code only assures that the scanned bar code has some region on it that is readable, by that scanner. Therefore, the better the scanner, the less bar code quality assurance is maintained. A verifier, on the other hand, is a precision instrument that is made to predict how well the bar code will be read by the typical scanner, any scanner. It should decode, measure and check formatting of even the most inferior symbol and indicate area(s) that are deficient so that corrective action may take place.

Kinds of Barcode Verification - Traditional vs ANSI

There are two methods of bar code verification, traditional and ANSI. Traditional verification analyzes how well the code was printed. It looks at parameters such as print contrast, absolute element widths and average bar deviation. ANSI verification predicts how well a scanner incorporating a particular wavelength of light and a particular aperture size will read a symbol. ANSI looks at eight criteria: edge determination, minimum reflectance, minimum edge contrast, symbol contrast, modulation, defects, decodability and decode. It does this by taking a scan reflectance profile of the code and analyzing that profile.

Where Does Barcode Verification Belong

Where should a verification system be placed? Verification should take place right after or during the printing process and before the bar codes enter the system. If you are printing bar codes for others to scan, you should verify with the philosophy that any bad bar codes should be reprinted. If you are receiving bar codes from others, you should verify before letting bar codes into your system.

Why Barcode Verification?

1. Prevents printing defects from entering the system.
2. Eliminates Gap between Printing and Scanning
3. Minimizes Faulty Scanning
4. Prevents inferior codes from entering the system

Verification should be done to ensure that the bridge between printing and scanning is accurate, to minimize faulty scanning and to ensure that inferior codes do not enter the system. Inferior codes cost time, productivity and money. If a code does not read at all there is a return to the slow, error prone manual data entry and this causes bottlenecks or may stop enterprise critical applications. If the code reads after several attempts there is a waste of time and a chance of repetitive movement injuries. And, if a code reads with errors then there is a contamination of your database.

Do You Need Barcode Verification?

Every industry that has a high cost associated with printing bad bar codes should have a verification system in place. Let's face it, if the cost of printing a bad bar code is non-existent or minimal there is no need to check the code. However, the converse is also true. If by printing a bad bar code you might face 1. a costly fine, or 2. a potential loss of business, or 3. the price of doing work over and over again, or any other potential high cost repercussions, then you need to implement a barcode verification system.

Barcode Verification Applications - Who needs barcode verification?

1. Suppliers to Major Retail Chains - to avoid stiff fines for non-readable bar codes.
2. People printing bar codes directly onto corrugated materials need to ensure readability of the code against low contrast.
3. Printing - businesses who provide bar codes printed on press and imprint houses providing bar codes printed on printers can avoid redoing costly jobs by implementing a verification system.
4. Medical and Pharmaceutical Suppliers - need verification systems to properly mark products to avoid dispensation of incorrect materials.
5. Chemical - to identify products accurately to avoid costly fines and law suits.
6. Automotive - suppliers to the automotive industry need to ensure labels meet the AIAG specification.
7. Postal - suppliers to the USPS should check the quality of their linear codes to meet the Postal specifications.
8. Warehouses - anyone running a highly automated warehouse that uses scanners to route packages can avoid bottlenecks and stops by putting a verification system in place

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