Barcode technology

What is the benefit of barcode technology?

Barcode technology is a simple, universal and lower-cost method of recording and providing digital data for other applications. It gives greater efficiency, safety, speed and reliability along the supply chain while also enhancing profitability.

What is the barcode?

Barcodes have been widely used for item identification for more than half a century. They represent data in a machine-readable form, which allow an automatic identification of different products. It holds the relevant information of the item, it can also contain additional, portable information: e.g. what it is, where it comes from, owner of the product, etc.

It took a while until the technology became commercially successful. This happened when it started to be applied to automate the retailers’ checkout systems. Since then they have been used in plenty of areas such as tracking goods, optimizing inventory, warehouse management and many others… This technology forms one of the basis of the so-called Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC) industry.

What kind of barcode types exit?

There are two major barcode types: 1D (linear) and 2D. Each has its own barcode symbologies. EAN, Code39, Code128, UPC, etc. are the symbologies of 1D barcode, Data Matrix, Maxicode, PDF417, etc. are symbologies of 2D codes. 1D barcodes contain black and white stripes standing next to each other while 2D barcodes are basically a square fill up, typically with black and white spots. In case of 1D barcode the width of lines and line spacings define the carried data, while in case of 2D barcode, also using some similar methods, the symbology itself contains the information. Therefore, 2D barcodes can carry much bigger amount of data than 1D. The commonly used barcodes are defined by GS1 standards.

What are the elements of barcode technology?

Barcodes are usually printed on the boxes of the FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) or on labels which then sticked onto the items to be identified. There are more and more applications where the barcodes are applied directly on products (DPM – Direct Product Marking).

Along the supply chain during material handling processes the barcodes are captured by barcode scanner devices which transfer the data to the different IT systems.

Nowadays there are several barcode technology devices with different specifications (stationary, mobile, …) available on the market. Mostly the circumstances, the project goals and the requirements define the best fitting barcoding equipment for the task. The key is to have readable barcodes along the complete supply chain. Choosing the right devices and supplies needs the special knowledge of the barcode specialists. Our company has more than 30 year experience with this technology with a strong supplier base.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.