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Three Barcode Systems - Which One Is Right For You

Jul 18, 2008
Product barcodes are a bigger part of our everyday life than we realize. The most common relevance to our lives is in the grocery store. When we purchase something, a barcode scanner reads the information encoded on each package.

Each barcode contains information such as the product name and price. This scanning process not only adds the short description you receive on your bill, it also is processed by the stock system control.

The inventory records in the central database are simultaneously modified to record the purchased item when the stock control system tallies the purchase regardless of what is actually sold.

The inventory control occurs without the need of manual counting or recording when the inventory information is correctly entered into the system in the initial setup.

Think about a real-life situation where you would use this system. Say you are a small business owner keeping track of inventory by hand. Ordinarily you would add up your sales at day's end and then get your records up to date.

But this is a process that consumes too much time and isn't very reliable. By utilizing a bar code system you can instantly update your stock control databases in every instance where an item is added or taken off.

Different bar codes are generated by this system for items that need a barcode. A one of a kind barcode for each item is created by this software and the barcode printer prints the code label that is placed on the item.

The three most popular types of bar code scanners currently used are:

1. Wand Scanners - These are the easiest kind of bar code scanners. This scanner needs to have physical contact with the bar code in order to scan. The light from this pen-shaped scanner reflects off the bar code, recording information which the system will then decode, and the product will be recognized.

The cheapest kind of bar code scanner is the wand system and it works very well most of the time. Comparing the wand system to other scanners; it will cost one tenth as much as the laser gun scanner and one fifth as much as a CCD scanner.

There are limitations to wand scanners, however. The wand needs to be held at a fairly specific angle when pointed at the barcode in order to the barcode in order to scan properly, but there is also a certain range of speed that must be adhered to.

In addition, the resolution of the barcode being scanned must match the resolution of the wand. If any of these criteria are not met, the wand scanner will not read the barcode properly. This is important to remember when in the market for such a scanning device.

2. The CCD (charged coupled device) scanner is a big improvement on the traditional wand scanner. Unlike the wand scanner where the user must run the scanner across the entire barcode in order for it to register the information, with the CCD scanner, the user simply has to touch the scanner anywhere on the barcode label.

Once the CCD scanner touches the barcode, it captures an image of the barcode, converts it to digital format, and decodes the information in a fast and easy process.

Considered the most user-friendly of all the different kinds of bar code scanners, the CCD reader is designed in measurements from two to four inches in width.

When comparing it to the wand, the CCD reader is costly as it averages around four times the price. At only one third the average cost of a laser scanner, the CCD reader is a good deal when compared to that.

Fixed Focus Optics, or FFO, is a new advancement in barcode technology that is comparable to CCD. This reader doesn't require any contact, and can read a barcode from lengths of up to twenty inches away.

Two-dimensional barcodes are becoming more commonplace, and will continue to grow in the future, and the FFO scanner has the ability to read them.

3. Laser Scanners -In order to properly read and record bar codes, some applications that are higher volume and more technologically advanced will use a laser scanner. A beam of light is used to quickly scan the bar code label when a laser scanner is used.

These scanners are not portable, as it is not necessary to touch the label with the scanning unit. Scanning is virtually automatic, as the scanning is triggered by simply holding the object in front of the scanner.

This system can be effectively used in numerous situations. One possibility is conveyor systems - because the scans are high speed, the laser scanners can be embedded inside of a conveyor system. When items pass, the scan will automatically take place.

Alternatively, in a retail situation, a clerk can move objects from one side of the scanner to the other, and the system will easily keep pace. These laser systems are unprecedentedly faster and more accurate than any other solution.

Irrespective of what your perfect scanning system is at present, you ought to make sure that you purchase a stock control system that enables you to exploit future advancements in bar code technology.

This will enable you to keep your system updated without having to change the whole system at a later stage.
About the Author
For a full range of barcode scanners and stock control software, see waspbarcode.co.uk - Article Source: Link Builder Network .
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