Barcode Names: What Do They Mean?

[Note to people who call all barcodes “UPC” and all photo-copiers “Xerox machines”-- don’t bother reading any further—this article will not interest you.] Not all barcode names have significance—UPC or Universal Product Code and Data Matrix, for example, are just generic names with no intrinsic meaning. Other barcode names are much more descriptive and interesting–at […]

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Five QR Code Myths Dispelled

QR Code myths abound, as do articles about them. Our concern is the mythology surrounding QR Code from a quality standpoint. For example, we recently saw—and commented on—an article about a new graphics design technique that makes QR Code less obtrusive and more “harmonious” with the graphic it accompanies. The QR Code examples that accompanied […]

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Printing Barcodes on Difficult Surfaces

Printing barcodes on difficult surfaces  can be confusing because we don’t expect some substrates to be problematic. We received a call recently from a client who was printing 1D barcodes with a thermal transfer printer on what they described as a metallic silver label. We suspect it was a silver-colored mylar, but no matter—the barcodes […]

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2014 Automatic Identification Teacher’s Institute

Just back from the 2014 Automatic Identification Teacher’s Institute which convened at the University of Memphis. This great AIDC industry event recent relocated from its previous home at Ohio University in Athens, OH. This year Barcode-Test co-presented a workshop on barcode verification to a large group of attendees including professors from engineering and technology departments […]

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Bar Code Match in Packaging

In its fullest sense, bar code quality is a broader topic than just the quality of the printed image. There are two additional considerations where the bar code plays an important role. One of them is what I call validation: making sure the encoded data in the bar code is on the right package. The […]

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The Perfect Universal Verifier

The Perfect Universal Verifier First let’s define terms:  a “universal” verifier is one that tests both 1D or linear barcodes and 2D or matrix symbols. UPC, Code 128 and ITF14 are examples of 1D barcodes; QR Code and Data Matrix Code are examples of 2D symbols.  Having been in the barcode business—and the barcode quality […]

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How Important is Barcode Quality?

It seems like a rhetorical question—we’ve made the case over a few years and more than 150 articles that barcode quality is very important. We’ve said spectacular things like “barcodes are the connective tissue that holds supply chains together” and “bad barcodes used to be just a checkout line inconvenience; now they can mean life […]

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Barcode Quality Procedures Manual: Ten Essential Steps

There is an axiom in the quality community that goes like this: “you get what you enforce.” In my 30+ years in the barcode quality business I have found this adage to be true. If you don’t tell your vendors or your employees or your business partners what you expect or if you are responsible […]

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Selecting the Right 2D Verifier: Three Critical Questions

Most people understand why a smart phone or a scanner is not the same thing as a verifier for testing a 2D symbol. Smart phones and scanners can only decode a Data Matrix or QR Code. A verifier tests and grades the symbol against international specifications and thus provides a way of predicting whether or […]

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Happy Birthday—You’re Fired: Printed Electronics Eliminates Barcodes

We just celebrated the 40th birthday of the barcode and once again its future is in question. We’ve heard it since the beginning of barcoding. As a learned friend said, any major technology changes that require barcode users to invest thousands of dollars to retool retail frontlines or supply chains will take decades to implement. […]

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