Barcode Inspection FAQ
To help you get started, check out this information on commonly asked questions about barcode inspection/verification.
Barcode Verification vs. Scanning
Using a scanner to read and decode a barcode only indicates that the particular
scanner has read the code. No two scanners scan a code exactly the same,
however, so a different scanner might not be able to read the code. The supply chain can be interrupted.
To ensure that a code is properly produced and will read throughout the supply
chain, its quality must be graded……by a barcode verifier/inspection instrument.
Barcode verifiers are tools that will grade the eight standard parameters of a linear
barcode that indicate its overall grade. These parameters are specified by the
International Standards Organization (ISO) and previously by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
Symbol grade specifications are defined to an international standard to be certain of successful reading by scanners at each scan point. ISO has also developed symbol quality criteria for two dimensional (2D) barcode symbols.
What is Barcode Verification?
Like many terms in the Automatic Identification and Data Collection industry, barcode verification is an imprecise term that has three meanings. It can mean barcode quality inspection, data matching, sequence management or a combination of two or all three.
What is Barcode Inspection?
- Determining whether the quality of a barcode image is high enough to conform to a relevant specification
- Bringing standardization to the process of determining acceptable barcode quality
- Providing a numeric grade for ISO from 0.0 to 4.0 and/or an ANSI letter grade from "A" to "F"
Precise barcode inspection is done via ISO/ ANSI standards.
- ISO / ANSI Methodology is for inspecting linear and 2D barcodes
- ISO15426 Barcode Verifier Conformance is the standard for the verifier itself.
When brand owners want to ensure the quality of the barcode on their packages, they should mandate that their print vendors:
- Use a verifier which conforms to ISO15426
- Calibrate their verifier to a known national standard criteria on a scheduled basis
- Maintain a timed and contemporaneous log of that inspection
Portable and desktop verifiers have been available since the 1980’s although ISO15426 conforming verifiers have only been available since ISO15426 was published in 2000. Technology advancements have made available the inspection of barcodes on high speed inline printing presses (web offset, flexographic, digital etc.) at production speeds. (See the video on the Compliance Pro™ HSV Report.)
What is Barcode Data Matching?
Data Matching involves ensuring that all encoded data in a sequence of barcodes matches the designated encodation.
Typical applications include:
- Ensuring that all barcodes on snack bags in a production roll are identical
- Ensuring that all barcodes on blister cards in a production lot are identical and that the card matches the product
- Ensuring that all of the barcodes on gift or phone cards in a batch match
What is Data Management?
Management of the data related to a product or item...the data contained in a barcode…is a complex process. Items must not be mislabeled, or significant costs or consequences may occur.
Sequence (increment, decrement, programmed) barcode management is increasingly important as the value of the contents becomes higher or the negative effects of a wrong or duplicate number increase.
Common applications are:
- Ensuring that all barcoded lottery tickets are one of a kind and have no duplicates
- Ensuring that cartons of tobacco products have the correct tax number assigned
- Ensuring that all parts of a multi-part form/label combination have the same barcode number