How to Select the Right Barcode Verifier for Your Organization
Barcodes enable inventory management, product tracking and traceability, marketing, and workflow management. They deliver on the promise of creating more efficient work environments, improving throughput, growing sales and revenue, and more. But barcodes can cause issues in the supply chain if they can’t be properly scanned. Checking the quality of barcodes with barcode verifiers can help eliminate downtime, prevent fines and chargebacks, and ensure industry standards are met.
Here are six questions to answer before exploring barcode verifier options for your organization.
What types of codes do you need to verify?
Do you print label-based 1D barcodes, label-based 2D barcodes, 2D direct part mark (DPM) codes or all of the above? Even if you’re only printing 1D barcodes today, consider that you might use 2D barcodes in the future. The types of codes that you’re using can impact the appropriate verifier style and lighting options.
Do you need to comply with ISO standards?
Barcode verifiers and software can report on code quality parameters and validate data for conformance to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) guidelines. Three major verification standards govern 1D, 2D, and DPM codes.
- 1D barcodes use ISO/IEC 15416
- 2D barcodes printed on a label use ISO/IEC 15415
- 2D DPM codes use ISO/IEC TR 29158, also known as AIM DPM
Not all “verifiers” are ISO compliant, so be sure to select a verifier that can meet the requirements outlined in these standards and generate reports that detail the results.
Do you need to comply with an industry group standard?
To regulate barcoding within an industry, committees in industries like retail, food, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals have developed application standards mandating that their manufacturers comply with their rules for barcode marking and grading. An application standard outlines what type of symbology is acceptable, what ISO standard to grade against, the minimum acceptable grade, aperture, x-dimension range, lighting angle(s) required, and how the data within the barcode must be formatted. Some barcode verification software will have application standards pre-loaded to speed up setup. Be sure to select a software that has customizable settings that fit your specific barcoding requirements.
What is your code size range?
The width and height of barcodes vary, and some verifiers are designed to grade smaller 2D codes while others are made for larger linear barcodes. Take a look at the size of the narrowest bar or smallest module printed (normally expressed in mils, or .001 of an inch). To determine the required camera resolution, look for a verifier with a minimum x-dimension that is smaller or equal to the smallest bar width or module. The total width of the largest barcode printed will determine the required field of view. A verifier’s field of view needs to be large enough to show the entire code including its quiet zone (the space surrounding the outside of the code).
What are the codes printed on?
Codes appear differently to a barcode reader’s camera depending on the material they are printed on. To achieve proper illumination for some surfaces, specific lighting angles are required. Most verification standards for 1D and 2D codes specify 45-degree lighting for codes printed on labels. This ensures that some light reflects off of the label and goes back to the camera. For DPM codes on shiny, textured, or curved surfaces, a verifier with 30- and 90-degree or dome lighting option is necessary.
Verifiers with adjustable height stands make it much easier to position codes on small, oddly shaped parts underneath the camera. When dealing with symbols on recessed areas of a part, a verifier’s software should be able to select specific regions and tell the camera exactly where to analyze a code.
Where will you be verifying codes?
Consider where you will be physically verifying your codes. Will you be setting up a station, moving around your factory floor, or do you need a solution that will verify every code going down the line? This will determine if you need a desktop, handheld, or inline verifier, as well as what type of portability and battery life would be best.
Once you’ve answered these questions you will be equipped with the necessary information to find the right barcode verifier for your organization. To learn more about verifiers, download the Introduction to Barcode Verification Guide.