New Code Quality Grading Software for Barcode Readers

Standards-Based Grading Codes banner

There are several reasons why a barcode will not scan properly: low contrast, quiet zone violations, physical damage, print quality, and more. Poor barcode quality can result in downtime, chargebacks, refused shipments, and product safety concerns, costing companies thousands of dollars in rework. To ensure barcode quality, an increasing number of industries require compliance to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) or industry application guidelines. These guidelines can only be met with barcode verifiers engineered with ISO-compliant lighting. However, some applications do not require ISO-compliant verification or may have application requirements that makes verification impossible to achieve. In these cases, an alternative to verification is needed to benefit from reliable code quality. 

Introducing Standards-Based Grading

Standards-Based Grading (SBG) is a new software feature key that can be preloaded or activated on select DataMan fixed-mount barcode readers to grade the quality of 1D and 2D codes. SBG uses the same verification grading algorithms, calibration process, and software user interface as DataMan barcode verifiers but does not include the fixed angle lighting required in the ISO guidelines. SBG is ideal to use when existing barcode quality software, such as process control metrics (PCM), is not reliable enough, and ISO compliance is not required or possible.
How SBG compares to PCM and verification

SBG is the closest way to achieve reliable and repeatable barcode diagnostic results similar to verification without conforming to specific lighting angles, working distances, or mounting restrictions. With SBG, the reader can be calibrated to unify the camera’s measurement of reflectivity levels and all ISO quality parameters are reported.  

Unlike SBG, PCM does not have a calibration process, follow the ISO grading algorithm requirements, or report every quality parameter. While PCM results can provide a good idea of code quality, the results can also vary significantly between setups and hardware used. 
  Barcode reading PCM SBG Barcode verification
  Barcode Reader PCM SBG Verification
Reads codes
Validates data
Code quality feedback  
ISO parameter grades   Some
Advanced code diagnostics    
Uses ISO standard decode algorithm    
Fixed angle lighting      
Fully ISO compliant      

Ensure reliable code grading results

A key component to stable grading results is ensuring the device is calibrated and the software is using the appropriate standard reference decode algorithms for the symbology type. SBG includes these two vital features, making the results correlate closely to traditional verification results. Additionally, users have access to the same detailed diagnostic information and reporting features so any code quality issues can quickly be spotted and resolved.

Standards-Based Grading Software

Auto-generate code quality reports

The SBG software platform provides visual diagnostic information to identify one-off or trending code quality issues. Codes are assigned an overall grade based on measurements of several quality parameters using ISO grading algorithms. These parameters measure several factors that affect a barcode reader’s ability to identify and decode a code. The software provides:

  • Individual quality parameter grades
  • Code quality diagnostic information
  • Exportable reports
  • Transferrable data to FTP or cloud-based site
  • Adjustable grade threshold alerts
  • Trend analysis

SBG can be preloaded or activated on DataMan 370 and 470 series fixed-mount barcode readers. Download the Barcode Readers Product Guide for information about Cognex barcode reader and barcode verifier options.


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