Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Ensuring bar codes are legible

If you’ve ever waited in line while a cashier tried repeatedly to scan a bar code you’ll know the importance of bar code legibility. Now take that situation and apply it to a medical or pharmaceutical setting. The consequences of a misread code could be devastating. That’s why we have code verification.

I find a lot of confusion with regard to checking bar codes. Many engineers seem to think it’s enough to check that a just-marked or applied code can be read. That’s what Microscan in their excellent white paper, “Understanding Machine Vision Verification of 1D and 2D Barcodes” call “validation” or “process control”.

That may be sufficient if you’re in an environment where compliance with bar code standards is not required, but in many industries it’s essential that you demonstrate an ability to meet the standards for legibility. That’s called “verification” and the Microscan paper will tell you how to do it. Here’s a link to the White papers section of their website: http://www.microscan.com/en-us/trainingandresources/machinevision.aspx#wp

While there, I suggest you look over their other papers. They have a lot of excellent training material, and it’s all free. You could even read it on your phone while standing in line at the checkout!

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