Barcode Verifier Types
As barcode technology has matured and expanded into ever more, and more critical roles, barcodes are now found on a wider variety of materials and packaging configurations: metallic tubes and other cylindrical shapes, metallic-like bags, pouches and labels, parts and sub-assemblies of every imaginable size, shape and substrate. This means that barcode verification has also become increasingly important, and somewhat more difficult when the barcode is not always on a flat surface. What types of barcode verifiers are available to handle these challenging barcode attributes?
Verifiers that use handheld gun-type scanners are an obvious choice for barcodes on cylindrical and other non-flat surfaces, but such devices are intrinsically non-compliant to ISO 15426-1, the specification that defines the test methodology and minimum accuracy requirement for devices that use the ISO 15416 specification to test linear barcodes. Handheld gun scanners are non-compliant because they are incapable of accurately testing reflectivity and contrast because the handheld scanner is not at a fixed angle and distance from the barcode. How important is this? Verifiers with gun-type scanners have been around for a long time and are still sold, and probably have a loyal following of users. However, they cannot test the barcode to the full ISO 15416 specification and therefore the test results are incomplete. Incomplete test results could be optimistic, pessimistic or equivalent to the test results from a fully-compliant verifier. Unfortunately the non-compliant verifier user never knows for sure how their results compare. Their risk profile for poorly performing barcodes is never fully known. Why bother?
Admittedly, most fully ISO compliant verifiers are optimized for barcodes on flat surfaces. How can a user adapt such a device for barcodes on cylindrical surfaces? Although many of these verifiers are designed to be placed directly on top of the barcode, many can be inverted or positioned sideways so that the barcode can be easily placed in front of the scan window. The relatively new Axicon 15000 is designed to provide this sort of use-flexibility. We have seen clever V-shaped fixtures to hold curved or cylindrical substrates for flat-bottomed verifiers.
The most versatile ISO compliant verifier we’ve seen for non-flat barcodes is the Webscan TruCheck 2D USB Tower. It is a non-contact verifier which uses a laser focusing system to verify 1D or 2D barcodes on a wide variety of surfaces including the sub-surfaces of assemblies such as fully populated circuit boards where the barcode cannot be directly accessed with a fixed focus verifier.
What is the right barcode verifier for your application? If an off-the-shelf solution is not available, chances are a reasonable adaptation can be made, either with a fabricated fixture or a custom modification from one of the manufacturers. Barcode-Test represents a full range of verifiers from several manufactures, and we have assisted many users in finding the right device for their unique situation, and in designing and fabricating custom fixtures for their verification process.
John helps companies resolve current barcode problems and avoid future barcode problems to stabilize and secure their supply chain and strengthen their trading partner relationships.