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Barcode Verification

Verification vs. Code Quality Management

cognex verifier 8072 on stand

Understand the differences between process control metrics, data validation, and verification

Many producers already monitor the quality of their barcodes 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. For producers using PCM or validation whose codes are still sometimes unreadable down the line, a verifier can provide additional protection and reassurance.

Data Validation

Barcodes are sometimes printed well but rejected because they are not formatted correctly. Validation checks that data is formatted correctly in accordance with industry requirements, so that a computer system receiving the barcode data can interpret it. Validation looks only at the format of the data within a code and does not check print quality. By contrast, barcode verification measures both image-related and data-related quality parameters to grade a code’s readability.

Process Control Metrics

Barcode readers may, depending on their software, provide print quality metrics useful for process control and improvement. These metrics help producers print codes that meet their unique print quality needs and anticipate whether a generic reader will be able to successfully read their codes. But the types of barcode readers a symbol encounters along the supply chain vary widely. In fact, many barcode readers include decoding algorithms designed specifically to read deformed, challenging, and hard-to-read codes. Neither quality control testing nor a scanner’s process control metrics can reliably gauge how two different barcode readers will handle the same code—only barcode verification can.

Verification

Barcode verifiers, by contrast, confirm that barcodes can be read by all barcode readers. Unlike PCM or data validation, a verifier checks all quality parameters, uses a specific lighting set-up, and requires regular calibration.

Choosing Between Code Quality Management Methods

Data Validation Process Control Verification
  • Checks encoded data to a specified formatting standard
  • Is concerned with only the data within the code...
  • ...not the quality of the mark
  • In-line control of code quality
  • Grades the same set of parameters as a verifier but sacrifices calibration and lighting positions
  • Contract compliant grading to a global standard
  • Requires calibration and accurate positioning of lighting elements
When used
  • Required data formatting standards check (e.g. MIL-STD-130, GS1)
  • Control the marking process with early warnings
  • Ensure downstream readability
  • Facilitate optimized reader setup
  • When required or mandated by law
  • Provide diagnostics when PCM 'flags' a code
  • When needed to facilitate communication with trading partners
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