Barcodes are machine readable symbols that store identifying data about the part or product with which they are associated. These symbols, when read by a barcode scanner, are decoded, recorded, and processed to extract the data for a variety of uses (e.g., pricing, order fulfillment, traceability through production, sortation, shipping, etc.).
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A 1-D (one-dimensional) barcode is the typical style with which we are most familiar. All the information in the code is organized horizontally in bar and space widths and read left to right by a scanner.
In the 2-D matrix code type, the data is encoded as black and white ‘cells’ arranged in either a square or rectangular pattern. As well as being able to encode huge amounts of data, the matrix code improves readability and resistance to poor printing.
This type of barcode lies somewhere in between a 2-D and a 1-D linear barcode. Instead of encoding data in the black bar and white space widths, these primarily use the height of the bars. The majority of postal codes only use numbers, but a few are now starting to include letters as well.
A stacked linear barcode consists of multiple linear barcodes that are layered on top of one another, allowing a greater amount information to be encoded. However, to fully decode the data, a barcode reader must be able to simultaneously read the code both horizontally and vertically.
Direct Part Marking (DPM) is a process to permanently mark manufactured parts without labels or packaging. DPM is often used by automotive, aerospace, and electronic manufacturers to ensure reliable tracking of their parts throughout their lifecycle. The preferred codes for DPM are the Data Matrix and QR Code.
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