Introduction to Bar Code Verification
What is a bar code verifier?
A device to check the accuracy of the symbology against a set of Industry Standards Specifications.
Why use a verifier?
More and more companies are requiring bar coding as a prerequisite of doing business with them — commonly known as compliance labeling. Compliance labeling is not isolated to one industry, but is being adopted worldwide. Because companies rely heavily on compliance labeling to automate their receiving and distribution process, they often enforce heavy fines and/or penalties in the event the bar code can't be read by the automated scanners. The use of verifiers is not always mandated, but the cost of one penalty usually outweighs the cost to purchase a verifier. Fines and penalties can range from a few thousand dollars to many thousands of dollars. Peace of mind can be purchased for a fraction of this!
What type of verifier should you purchase?
There are three basic types: "In-Line" is connected to a thermal printer that verifies each and every label as it is being printed and stops the printer when a defective bar code is encountered. "Desktop" and "Hand Held" are used for spot checking bar codes after they are printed. The desktop unit sits on a table while the operator uses a hand-held wand to move over the bar code. The hand-held version is self-contained in a hand-held device that is convenient for random checking of items that have been labeled.
If using a desktop or a hand-held unit, it's best to check the first label printed and the last. If the first bar code is good and the last is good, then the odds of each code in between being good is high — but not guaranteed.
Scanning vs. Verifying
Scanning reads data encoded in a bar code symbol. Verifying decodes and measures key parameters of the bar code symbol defined by the bar code specification. If a deficiency exists in a bar code symbol, verification results will help focus corrective action activities.
Verification before the bar code symbol enters the data collection system is the most cost-effective point for the installation of an audit procedure.
Bridge Between Printing and Scanning
A bar code is read by a scanner with optics which are different from our eyes. Therefore, the quality of a bar code is "not what the eye sees but what the scanner sees." Verification measures bar code parameters using bar code scanning system optics and provides a quality check of the bar code symbol as printing for the application. Verification is the "bridge between printing and scanning."