If your company uses 2D barcodes, it’s absolutely essential that you test your barcodes, more essential than with any other type of barcode. Here’s why, and how to validate your codes with a 2D barcode verifier.
1. Manual Data Entry Impossible: have you ever seen cashiers trying to scan a consumer product, and they’re unable to scan? So they need to manually type in the information, which is time-consuming and can lead to human errors. With 2D codes, manual entry is impractical or impossible.
2. 100x More Data: Most barcodes printed today are 1D, such as UPC codes on consumer products. They hold about 10 bytes of information. A 2D barcode, in contrast, typically holds dozens of characters and 100 times more information than a 1D code. Typing such a large amount of data is impractical, and the data content is not often included. This is also why 2D testing requires a specialized 2D barcode verifier.
3. Unique Identifier Information: 2D barcodes differ from 1D because they contain unique identifier information. A 1D barcode is the same every time it’s printed, such as on 1 million bags of potato chips. But a 2D code provides unique identifier information, such as 1 million different codes for 1 million different package shipments.
4. Higher Failure Rate: 2D printing includes a much higher amount of variable data. Compared with repetitive 1D printing, 2D offers many more opportunities for more failure, such as burned out print heads, clogged jets, laser marking adjustment issues, and more.
5. Mission Critical Applications: 2D codes are used for a variety of applications, from UPS labels to bank statements, from the defense industry to pharmaceuticals. If potato chips don’t scan, it’s inconvenient. But 2D codes are mission-critical and must scan every time – which makes 2D barcode verification essential.
6. Zero Tolerance for Imperfections: 1D verification is relatively simple, with a sampling across 10 cross-sections, and an average grade for readability. 2D verification, in contrast, is much more precise. There’s no such thing as a 90% passing rate: it either scans 100% or not.
7. Limited Error Correction Capacity: People think error correction makes 2D codes more tolerant of quality issues than 1D. But error correction only applies to data modules, not the finder pattern. Problems often interfere with the finder pattern structure to the point of decoding failure, in which case error correction can’t help.
8. 2D Symbologies and Standards: There are different 2D symbologies, the most common being QR codes. 2D verification requires verifying the entire symbol, rather than just take a sample. 2D barcode verification requires meeting ISO-15415 standards.
9. 2D Verifier Hardware Required: you cannot verify with software alone. You need a barcode verifier, and one built specifically for 2D. Because of their complexity, 2D barcode verifiers are typically about twice as expensive as 1D equipment. That’s because they require 2D imaging capability, which is more sophisticated and costly.
10. Test at Printing: As with all barcode verification, 2D codes should be tested at the time they are printed. If it’s left the printing facility, it’s too late to correct the error. The recent introduction of portable barcode verifiers makes this easier than ever before.
Conclusion: barcode verification is an essential part of business today, saving costly reprints, returns and more. But 2D barcode verification is more, and often mission critical – and might decide whether your business operations will succeed – or fail.