How to Buy the Right 1D/2D Verifier

 In 101

Barcodes are complicated, and so is the challenge of buying the right 1D/2D barcode verifier. Like many complex challenges, the right way to take it on and make a smart buy is to break it down into its component parts. Here are ten of those parts:

  • Field of View: make sure the verifier you are considering has a wide enough field of view (FOV) to take in the largest symbol you will need to verify. Usually the 1D barcode will be the factor here, because they are rectangular. The long dimension will dictate how much FOV is required—and don’t forget to include the left and right quiet zones in this dimension.
  • Minimum aperture: a 2D verifier is basically a digital camera with a finite amount of resolution. To accurately verify a high density barcode, it must be able to synthesize a small enough aperture for the X dimension of that barcode. Sometimes the verifier manufacture will report this as the “minimum X”, sometimes as the “minimum aperture”. However they report it, make sure it will accommodate the barcodes you need to test. If they don’t report it, look elsewhere.
  • Symbologies: just because the verifier can test 1D and 2D symbols doesn’t mean it can verify all types of 1D and 2D symbols. Don’t assume–know what you are getting.
  • ISO Compliance: 1D/2D symbol verification is covered by two separate ISO specifications. Make sure the verifier you are considering is compliant to both. It should be stated in clear, simple language in the data sheet.
  • Industry Applications: different industries require the data in their barcodes to be presented in specific ways. This is different than the ISO specification, which addresses the print quality attributes of the barcode, not the data structure. Make sure the 1D/2D verifier you are considering tests and reports on the industry standards that are important to you.
  • Recertification: be clear about periodic recertification to ISO compliance of the verifier. Is return-to-factory required? How long does it take? How much does it cost? Are self-recertification test kits available? Beware of verifiers that claim to not need calibration or re-certification.
  • Support: If the sales rep in Albuquerque gives you the best deal, but you are in Zanesville, your local rep may not be excited about providing support. Verifiers are technical risk management devices, not commodities. Buy smart for the long haul, not just the acquisition.
  • Responsiveness: as implied above, ask if there is local support. It might be more regional than local, but that’s still better than national when you really need help.
  • Demo’s and rentals: If you want to try a device before committing to buy, or if somebody drives the forklift over your verifier, or if you have a big project that will require extra equipment, will the manufacturer’s sales and support channel be there to help you?
  • Still not sure? Ask someone with independent experience. Sure the manufacturer or sales rep will recommend their own product. Get a second opinion from a barcode test lab—they make their living and stake their reputation on the performance of their verifiers.
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