Barcode Standards

Barcode Quality – What Is It? Why Is It Important? Who Sets the Standards?

International Organizations

Bar code standards are set by international organizations (such as ISO) and industry groups (such as GS1 or HIBCC). Many government agencies (such as the US FDA and DOD) and large retailers require barcodes that conform to industry standards.

The only way to certify compliance to these standards is use verification to demonstrate a code’s quality.  Barcode verifiers measure the code quality against a set of standards. Some industries require verification to a specific standard (typically an ISO standard).

Barcode Quality – How It’s Measured

Verifiers will analyze how well a barcode will perform in different environments based on international bar code standards. It will indicate where the code is deficient so corrective action may take place.

Verification examines the optical characteristics of the barcode compared to international and industry standards. The barcode quality is then given a pass or fail grade based on these parameters.

True verifiers measure the characteristics of a code to barcode standards such as ANSI X3.182,  ISO/IEC 15415, ISO/IEC 15416. The best barcode verifiers are accurate to conformance standards ISO/IEC 15426-1 and 15426-2.

Diagnostic information lets the operator know what defects exist in the barcode and gives the overall grade, guiding users on corrective action to the printing process. Barcode verification is required for many industries and will ensure 100% scanability as long as the barcodes conform to the industry standards.

Bar Code Standards – Recent Changes

It’s essential to use up-to-date verifiers that match current barcode quality standards. Outdated verifiers may give passing grades for a code that should fail current versions of the standard.

For example, recent changes to the GS1 DataBar limited symbology introduced new standards and requirements for the barcode. Failure to comply with these changes may lead to costly reprints and return shipments. Thus you’ll want to purchase a newer verifier that is up-to-date with all the latest industry and international barcode standards, and provides accurate results and cost savings.