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Types of Barcode Reader

Types of Barcode Reader

Since the early 70s, barcodes have been in use in the retail industry and the first UPC 12 barcode was scanned in a grocery mart in OHIO, USA in 1974. The UPC team at IBM had created a barcode reader and this was the first time retail use of UPC barcode commenced. The use of barcoding in the retail industry is something IBM worked on exclusively and they pioneered the UPC-12 barcodes that we see today.

Considering their role in various businesses, barcode readers can monitor the whole process of a business, like supply chain management, store and warehouse inventory, and check outs at POS. As technologies advanced over the years, integration of barcodes with other technologies provided quick solutions and various advanced features that simplified barcode scanning.

 A barcode reader can be a powerful tool to save time, reduce labor costs, improve the functionality of inventory management, and offer next-level customer experiences.

Barcode scanning systems help various industries track their valuable items while increasing production and efficiency. Barcode scanners are decreasing the chances of human errors and improving the traditional manual data-feeding system.

What is a Barcode Reader?

A barcode reader (or barcode scanner) is an optical scanner that can read printed barcodes, decode the data therein, and communicate the information to a computer. It has a light source, a lens, and a light sensor for transforming optical impulses into electrical signals, just like a flatbed scanner. In addition, virtually all barcode readers have decoder circuitry that can analyze the picture data produced by the sensor and deliver the barcode's information to the scanner's output port.

How a Barcode Reader Works?

Barcodes are one dimensional images and have white and black bars which correspond to 12 digit UPC. When barcode scanners shine a light on a barcode, the reflected light is captured, and the black and white bars are replaced with binary digital signals. White areas have high reflections, whereas dark parts have faint reflections. To obtain analog waveforms, a sensor receives reflections. The analog signal is converted to a digital signal via an A/D converter. When a coding system is derived from the digital signal obtained, data extraction is enabled.

The barcode reader is embedded with a scanner, a decoder, and a wired computer system. The main job of a decoder is to recognize the barcode symbols. Then, it converts bar and space information to machine-understandable data. The computer system puts this collected data into Excel format or another database format accordingly. This data is in the inventory system to monitor the work-in-progress, incoming, and outgoing supply chains.

Types of Barcode Readers/Scanners

 Barcode Scanners mostly work on optical scanning mechanism and based on their design and structure, it can be classified into several categories as follows:

Pen Wand

This is the simplest and most affordable type of barcode reader. It is sturdy and free from moving parts. To pick up the data, it must remain in close contact with the barcode label and be kept at a specific angle. It also has to travel at a specified pace over the barcode.

Pen or wand readers are designed to be durable, inexpensive, and efficient allowing one to quickly scan packages and other items.

Slot Scanner

A slot scanner is a stationary barcode scanner, and the object to be scanned is dragged through the barcode reader device's slot by hand. This sort of barcode reader is typically used to scan barcodes on identification cards and swiped cards. We have seen different ID cards for students and employees. They are encoded with various information about the entity in the form of barcodes, and slot scanner systems are generally used in scanning such ID cards.

CCD Scanner

 A charged-coupled device is the full form of a CCD scanner and is also known as an LED scanner. It has hundreds of LED lights arranged in one row; these lights are directly shot onto a barcode, and a scanner then measures not the reflections but the voltage of ambient light directly in front of each lightbulb.

 A CCD scanner has a better read range than the pen wand and is widely used in retail transactions. A CCD scanner often has a “gun” interface and must be held no closer than one inch from the barcode. To limit the chance of mistakes, numerous readings are obtained each time the barcode is scanned.

Image Scanner

An image scanner, also known as a camera reader, captures a picture of the bar code with a tiny video camera and then decodes it using advanced digital image processing algorithms. It can read a barcode from a distance of 3 to 9 inches (22.86 cm) and is less expensive than a laser scanner.

They are the most accurate type of barcode reader and capable enough to read damaged or distorted barcodes easily.

Laser Scanner

It is an interactive reader, a contactless device that captures millions of discrete data points of an object or space using laser infrared technology and can produce detailed 3D-scanned images in just one minute.

To execute its work, a laser scanner, whether hand-held or fixed, does not need to be close to the bar code. It employs a system of mirrors and lenses to allow the scanner to read a UPC-12 barcode from any angle, and it can read a barcode from a distance of up to 24 inches (60.96 cm). Laser scanning can run up to 500 scans per second to minimize the chance of mistakes. Long-range laser scanners can read a barcode from a distance of up to 30 feet (9.14 meters).

To conclude, barcode readers have become an essential part of business and are required to track their inventory in real time. Barcode readers will provide a fast service experience when checking out items at retail stores or any shopping stores. All this information about various barcode readers will help in selecting the suitable one for various businesses. It is essential to consider factors like the type of business, budget, and other general requirements for selecting the right barcode scanner.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1) What are the various types of barcodes?

 There are two common types of barcodes available on the market.

1. 1-D (1-Dimensional) barcode: a horizontal series of black and white stripes that can store information like the type, color, and size of the product. It stores data in a left-to-right manner; they are also known as linear barcodes.

2. 2-D (2-Dimensional) Barcode: 2-D barcodes are more complex and can handle storing more information than 1-D barcodes. It is also known as matrix barcodes; it can store various stages of inventory in the form of data and even the image of a product.

Q2) What are the different types of barcodes and QR codes?

The key difference between barcodes and QR codes is the physical size of both codes. Barcodes are usually read in a line, which means the data of the barcode is limited to one stretch of lines. QR codes provide a new dimension to writing and scanning information through them. These labels may be read both vertically and horizontally, rather than reading a single line.

Q3) Do barcodes need software support to work?

They do not need any software support to work optimally. It works as an input device on the system to capture data from various objects.

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  • Created on May 09, 2022
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