For years, to carry out a correct identification of the products, in order to be able to manage their traceability, the method popularly known as the Bar Code has been used. Types of Barcodes How to Identify
Although, with the advancement of technologies, the bar code method is slowly being displaced by other types of techniques, such as RFID systems, the truth is that so far most of the merchandise that enter the market are identified through the Bar Code.
Identification of products by Bar Code Types of Barcodes How to Identify
Over the years, its use has expanded in such a way that the barcode is currently used on a massive scale, even in retail stores to carry out automatic billing of items.
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What are barcodes? Types of Barcodes How to Identify
Basically, the barcode consists of a series of numbers that represent certain information regarding the product, and that is encoded in a set of vertical parallel lines with different thicknesses and spaces between them.
Both the lines, as well as the thickness of the same and the spaces between them, represent exact information about a certain product, to be able to be classified and identified throughout the logistics chain.
What are barcodes for? Types of Barcodes How to Identify
Its functionality resides in that when a barcode is read by a receiver of this type, it becomes possible to capture the information that is encoded in it, for which there is a correspondence, called symbology, between the code and the information that this represents.
There are four types of symbology in the world of barcodes, the difference of which lies in whether it is a continuous or discrete symbology, and at the same time whether it is two-dimensional or multidimensional.
Continuous barcode symbology Types of Barcodes How to Identify
Continuous symbology refers to barcodes in which its characters start with a space, followed by a bar, or vice versa, while in the case of discrete barcodes, barcodes begin and end with a bar, the space between them being ignored.
Two-dimensional barcode symbology Types of Barcodes How to Identify
In the codes using two – dimensional symbology it is indistinct the width of the bars, which can be wide or narrow, whereas in the case of the width multidimensional symbology bars code is an exact multiple of a certain thickness.
How is a barcode composed? Types of Barcodes How to Identify
One of the fundamental characteristics of bar codes lies in their components, thanks to which the coding of information related to the product is made possible.
Bar codes are made up of a module, which refers to the minimum unit of the code, and each of the bars and spaces are made up of a set of modules.
They also consist of the so-called bar, an element that in the encoding corresponds to the binary value 1, the space, which represents the binary value 0, and the characters, which are made up of the different bars and spaces that make up the code.
The barcode stores the data referring to the accompanying product , which once captured by the reading device are processed and sent to a larger system located on a computer, where the product information is stored.
In order to centralize the information obtained through the barcode , various computer equipment is generally interconnected, located in places such as branches and others, so that the data is available to whoever requires it.
Barcode benefits Types of Barcodes How to Identify
By using barcodes to control the logistics chain, it has been possible to improve the performance of companies, optimize production processes, allow intelligent decision-making, and solve problems in the supply chain, among others.
This is possible because the barcode offers the possibility of knowing exactly and in real time, precise information regarding the merchandise.
At present, any product that we purchase is provided with a barcode that is used to identify the item, in order to facilitate access to information regarding it, both for the manufacturing company, as well as for retail stores. .
In general, the location of the barcode on a product responds to a series of basic parameters, since they must be located in such a way that they have high visibility and allow easy reading.
Over the years, and the massification of this method as a means for the automatic identification of products , a large number of different codes have emerged, which are basically divided into two large groups: linear barcodes and barcodes. dimensional bars.
The linear bar codes, are the EAN, Code 128, Code 39, Code 93 and Codabar, while in the group of dimensional code are PDF417, Datamatrix and Quick Response.
Regardless of the barcode used to identify the goods, it should be noted that this method is one of the most used by companies, due to a series of characteristics that have made it one of the most effective identification techniques in the last years.
Most of the companies that have implemented the barcode in their products, did so because they needed to find a solution regarding the information related to their merchandise.
The barcode was the answer, since it allows a fast reading of the data belonging to the products without the need to be removed from the boxes that contain them, also avoiding possible errors in the manual digitization of said data.
On the other hand, the barcode provides an efficient solution in the task of price labeling, since it is no longer necessary to do it directly on the item.
Advantages of each type of barcode
End consumers access a ticket with the item’s encrypted information, which allows them to verify their purchases and the possible claims that may result from it.
For companies, the barcode is a tool that offers the possibility of permanently controlling the supply chain, which results in optimal warehouse control, fast product stock management, and allows making accurate marketing conclusions. thanks to the commercial statistics dumped by the implementation of the barcode.
Currently, the most widely used barcodes worldwide for product identification are Code128, Code39, Code93, EAN, UPC and Codabar, and each of them are differentiated by certain characteristics that respond to the precise needs of the products that will be labeled.
It is usually the most used in the logistics environment to label products , as well as on banknotes and postcards.
This code works with an encoding of alphanumeric characters, up to 106 different characters, and has a variable length.
It was one of the first codes to include an alphanumeric encoding. It allows encoding up to a total number of 43 characters, and has a variable length.
It was developed to expand the possibilities of Code39, allowing to encode up to a total of 47 alphanumeric characters, with a variable length.
It is used in all the products that are marketed in the European market, and its name comes from the acronym of European Article Numbering.
It is a code that only allows numerical encoding, and its length is limited, since it only offers the possibility of encoding between 8 to 13 digits in its various variants.
It is a barcode commonly used in libraries, blood banks, shipments, parcels and others, and consists of a numerical code that only allows encoding up to 16 characters with a variable length.
Acronym for its name in English, Uniform Code Council, this type of barcode is used in all products from the United States, and is characterized by being a code of the numerical type, which has a limited length of between 7 to 12 digits , depending on your version.
Implementation of barcode and RF systems
To make possible the use of barcodes for the automatic identification of products, it is necessary to implement an RF system that allows the encoded data to be captured, to transform them into useful information to optimize the logistics chain of the company.
When implementing a radio frequency system to capture the data contained in the barcodes of the products, one of the most used methods is the inclusion of a wireless RF network, which offers a series of advantages to optimize the supply chain .
It should be noted that a wireless data network works with a set of antennas that have been connected to the different access devices to the wireless network. In this way, it is possible to capture the information encoded in the bar codes, and transmit the data to the integrated management systems with which a company operates, offering relevant information for various sectors of the company.
How a wireless network works to collect data
Basically, a wireless network works in a similar way to the way a conventional Ethernet network operates, but with the difference that it does not require cables for its task, since it uses radio frequency signals as a means of communication.
Advantages of wireless networks for data capture from a barcode
Thanks to the elimination of wiring, wireless networks allow great flexibility of work, being able to use mobile devices to read and capture the information that is transported in the bar codes.
The technology currently incorporated in the creation of wireless networks provides the appropriate connectivity method, which allows the different information systems used by the company to be integrated.
Thanks to the implementation of radio frequency systems, it is possible to enter data and capture information related to a product in the production areas themselves, thus speeding up production processes.
On the other hand, it allows you to query said data online, through direct access to the centralized database, to use and process that information in real time.
These advantages make it possible to achieve optimal warehouse management, manage logistics processes, control the flow of materials and the quality of products, and significantly improve the production chain.
Essential elements for a wireless RF data collection network
When a company decides to implement the use of barcodes for the automatic identification of its products, together with an RF system and its wireless network, it is necessary to incorporate some basic elements to carry out this type of system of identification. information.
It is necessary to have a wireless access point, also called WAP for its acronym in English Wireless Access Point, which consists of a device that allows interconnection between the various wireless connection equipment in the network.
The Access Point is in charge of emitting the radio frequency signals that allow the transmission of information, since its function consists of capturing the data, storing it and subsequently transmitting it to the network. Due to its technical specifications, the Access Point can be used both in a wireless network and in any type of conventional network.
Another element that must be used is the so-called terminal, which is an electronic device that must be used to enter product data.
Finally, it will be necessary to use an application server, which is basically a computer that houses the software that manages the wireless network and the computer tools used by each of the terminals that are in the process.
In general, the application server will be in charge of managing the business functions and allowing access to the data from the different applications , offering a centralization of the information processes.