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Three 2D Matrix Codes you should know about

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John Keating, 10-17-2013

There seems to be some confusion among people in the ID field about 2-D matrix codes and in which industries they are used.  Here is brief description of three important types of 2-D matrix codes and where they are likely to be used.

  1. Data Matrix. Data Matrix codes allow encoding of large amounts of data (up to 2,335 alphanumeric or 3,116 numerical characters) and use an error correction system to read codes that are as much as 40% damaged. They are made up of black and white cells in a square or rectangular pattern, a finder pattern and a timing pattern.  They are the most commonly used 2-D codes in factory automation, including automotive, aerospace, food/beverage, medical devices, electronics and more.
  2. MaxiCode. MaxiCode is a fixed-size code which holds up to 93 data characters. It is composed of a central bulls-eye locator and offset rows of hexagonal elements. It was created by United Parcel Service® (UPS) to allow quick, automated scanning of packages on high-speed conveyor lines. They are used in logistics applications.
  3. QR. QR (Quick Response) codes contain square blocks of black cells on a white background with finder patterns in the top left, top right, and bottom left corners. QR was developed with the intention of being used for tracking parts during vehicle assembly. However, it has grown in popularity since the introduction of readers on smartphones, and it is now commonly used in printed marketing materials.  You’ll also find QR codes being used on automotive parts and in commercial marketing applications.

If you want to learn more about code symbology, download Let's talk symbology: A guide to decoding barcodes.

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