Managing Barcode Quality: Do You Need a Verifier?

Handheld barcode verifier checks metal part

From brand owners and manufacturers to packagers and retailers, people across industries use barcodes to track their products from production to the point of sale. A failure to scan can be catastrophic, slowing down production lines and causing costly reprints, wasted product, and chargebacks.

Many producers already monitor the quality of their codes using process control metrics (PCM) and validate their data using software on their barcode readers. Though a step in the right direction, this is not true verification and can leave producers unprotected down the supply chain. Validation looks only at the format of the data within a code and does not check print quality. And while PCM tests the same quality parameters as verification, results are unique to a reader’s particular set-up, including lighting. Process control metrics by their nature are often tuned to a particular process, and some parameters may be omitted or modified since there is no standard.

This has led to confusion in the market about verification and what a barcode verifier does. Very simply, barcode verification is the process of grading barcodes. A barcode verifier assigns an overall grade to a code based on measurements of several quality parameters. These parameters measure a number of factors that affect barcode readers’ abilities to identify and decode a code. Verifiers test different parameters for 1D, 2D, and DPM codes based on a governing standard, such as an ISO international standard.

Barcode verifiers guide producers through the marking process to create codes which meet required quality standards and demonstrate compliance with printed quality reports. This is something that barcode readers, process control metrics, and data validation cannot achieve on their own. For those printing and handling codes and for customers receiving codes, verification provides reassurance and confidence that symbols will be readable and perform in their operations. And for an increasing number of regulated industries, it also ensures compliance with contract and industry requirements. Barcode verification is therefore an essential quality control tool to ensure a barcode’s complete scannability along the supply chain.

If your operation needs to do more than track and manage barcode print quality, chances are good that you need a barcode verifier. Cognex offers a range of barcode verification solutions, offering the greatest versatility and the most diagnostics tools in the industry. Using proprietary high-resolution imaging and advanced algorithms for analysis, Cognex verifiers provide consistent and repeatable results that are reported clearly in accordance with industry standards. Learn more about what Cognex barcode verification solutions can do for your operation by downloading our whitepaper, Introduction to Barcode Verification.

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