Bar Code Verification

Why It’s Important, How It’s Done

If you are responsible for delivering readable, in-spec barcodes, then the only way to ensure that the barcodes function properly is with true bar code verification (aka barcode verification).  Verification is the only way to ensure 100% scanability, and is designed to be predictive of scanning success. When you verify barcode quality, you prevent bad barcodes by recognizing and diagnosing the problem areas before they become a problem further down the distribution channel.

Bar code verification checks quality and scanability by examining the optical characteristics of the code according to industry standards and specifications, based on how actual bar code scanners work.

Why Not Use a Scanner to Verify Barcode Quality?

A scanner is designed solely to scan, not barcode verify. Just because your scanner can read the barcode does not ensure that it will be read by other scanners. It only means that one area of the barcode is readable by that particular device. Some bar code scanners are extremely aggressive at reading poorly printed bar codes.  However, a poorly printed barcode often scans on one type of scanner but not on others.

Bar code verification measures the code quality against a set of standards. If a barcode passes a verifier test, you can rest assured that it’s truly readable regardless of which scanner is used. Verifiers are precise instruments verify barcode quality of the barcode in accordance with documented international standards for decoding, measuring and checking the format of the code (data validation).

Why It’s Essential to Have Up-to-Date Verifiers

New bar code standards – and even new bar code symbologies – are introduced regularly.  In recent years, GS1 DataBar has been introduced on pharmaceutical products and on coupons that are seen at retail checkout counters.  QR Codes are finding their way into advertisements and packaging.

A bar code verification system that’s out of date cannot read or barcode verify these new types of symbols.  Up to date bar code verification can handle these requirements and give you advanced diagnostic capability to deal with the challenges of printing new types of bar code symbols.

Barcode Verify and Barcode Validation – What’s the Difference?

Verification and validation are two distinct processes. Validation merely checks that the data encoded in the barcode is the data that is intended.  The correct data is essential for that code to convey the needed information all the way down the supply chain.  Human readability (or printed characters) may also be checked during barcode validation.

But when you verify barcode quality, you’re ensuring the optical characteristics of the barcode can be read by a scanner in the first place.  This is done in accordance with international and industry standards. Many different parameters, such as symbol contrast, and bar width accuracy, are measured.  When you barcode verify, the code is then given a pass or fail grade based on these parameters.

Diagnostic information lets the operator know what defects exist in the barcode, which helps an operator to correct the printing process. Bar code verification is required in many industries and will ensure 100% compliance with your customers’ requirements.  Requirements to barcode verify exist within the retail, healthcare, military and other sectors.

To verify barcode quality, a passing grade of C (2.0) or better is required to meet the compliance requirements.  In addition, many industries specify minimum and maximum sizes for bar codes to comply.  Bar code verification can automatically check for compliance to particular industry requirements.