A Guide to the Humble Barcode

Decades after the first scan, barcodes continue to grow in necessity and expand their application

It might be hard to remember a time before barcodes, but it wasn’t until June, 1974 when the first scanner was installed at a Marsh’s supermarket in Ohio. A simple packet of Wrigley’s gum became the first consumer product with a barcode to be read by a retailer.

Decades after that first scan, barcodes in a wide range of marking types and formats continue to serve industries that manufacture, buy, sell, and distribute products. They help collect data faster and more reliably, improve decision making, eliminate the possibility of human error, reduce employee training time, and track products throughout their lifecycle. They are also extremely versatile, inexpensive to design and print, and ultimately reduce costs.

Barcodes are visible on so many of the products manufacturers and consumers touch every day. Quite simply, barcodes have changed the way businesses work across the globe.

You could say that barcodes have earned their stripes. But as industries grow and technology develops at an increasing rate, it is more important than ever for barcode-reading technology to evolve, too. Decoding capability, performance reliability, and communications compatibility are key features of any barcode reader.

Read rate

The most important way to rank barcode reader performance is by read rate. Read rate is the number of barcodes read divided by the number attempted. It’s usually expressed as a percentage and the closer to 100%, the better.

Barcode quality feedback

On most production lines, it’s important to maintain barcode print quality at a high level to ensure that codes can be read by other readers in the product distribution chain. Image-based readers can provide this feedback on every code they read.

Extracting the data

Once extracted, barcode reader data is stored or used within the plant or distribution center’s MES (Manufacturing Execution System). If available, Ethernet communication is the fastest and most reliable method of data transfer.

Cognex barcode readers are designed to read any code, every time. From the smallest and highest performing fixed-mount readers for direct part mark and high-speed code reading, to the widest range of handheld readers, Cognex has the solution. Get more information about the DataMan and MX series of industrial, image-based barcode readers.

1-D Linear Barcodes 2-D Matrix Codes
1-D Linear Barcodes 2-D Matrix Codes
Postal Codes Stacked Linear Barcodes
Postal Codes Stacked Linear Barcodes

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