A barcode is a system of symbols which identifies data through length, position, size or thickness of lines or symbols. It is an optical, machine-readable, representation of data/information. The data usually describes something about the object that carries the barcode. Originally, barcodes represented data by varying the width and spacing of parallel lines. These were denoted as a "1D" or one dimensional barcodes as they were read by the scanner in a one direction, linear process.
Later "2D" or two dimensional codes were developed, using rectangles, dots, hexagons and other geometric patterns in two dimensions which allowed for larger amounts of data/information to be represented in a much smaller area.
Barcodes are printed on a majority of the labels and decals that ALG supplies to our customers. While most barcodes are printed by ALG on the label, many of ALG's customers also print barcodes onto labels via thermal transfer or direct thermal printing, supplied by ALG.
Because so many of our customers' applications involve barcodes, ALG has knowledge, experience and expertise in barcode symbologies, standards, quality control, layout and producing all types of barcodes.
Contact ALG for assistance with your labels requiring static barcodes, variable data barcodes, barcode validation, in-house barcode printing or UL label requirements involving in-house barcode printing. See below for additional information on barcode types, barcode validation, barcode verification/grading and barcodes containing variable data. Also see ALG products section for info on Variable Data, Fire Suppression and Serialized for just some examples of labels ALG produces that include static and variable data barcodes.
A 2D (two-dimensional) barcode is a graphical image that stores information both horizontally - as one dimensional bar codes do - as well as vertically.
As a result, 2D barcodes can store more data as well as data that is more than just numbers, like pictures, voice and other binary info. Also with the creation of 2D barcodes like the "quick response codes" (QR Codes) that enable quick data access, it has opened the door for simple access using smart phones. Learn more about 2D barcodes.
This is one of the oldest barcode technologies that has remained in use with a linear, 1D, alphanumeric code developed back in the 1970's.
It is still one of the most commonly used barcodes providing self-checking, variable length code seen in industries such as electronics and government applications. To learn more about Code 39, click here.
UPC - Universal Product Code
Universal Product Codes or UPC's for short, were originally created for grocery store use as a way to provide inventory tracking as well as a unique identifier for every item that could be easily printed and referenced.
Now found on almost every retail product in the United States and beyond, these 12 digit codes are able to supply easily scanned information showing the manufacturer and the unique product ID number, while capturing this data at the point of sale.
For more information on UPC, please READ HERE.
Code 128 is a very high-density barcode symbology. It is used for alphanumeric or numeric-only barcodes.
This barcode is used extensively worldwide in shipping and packaging industries as a product identification code for containers and pallets in the supply chain. Also, due to its high-density feature, it is widely used in the health industry and electronics, where large amounts of date must be encoded and placed in limited spaces.
For more information on Code 128, please CLICK HERE.
VARIABLE DATA APPLICATIONS
ALG has in-line UV inkjet printers on flexo presses as well as stand-alone UV inkjet, solvent based inkjet and thermal transfer printers, all capable of printing variable data barcodes. Many of the UL labels ALG produces include UL serial numbers in barcodes and human readable form. If you have label or decal requirements that include variable data, ALG utilizes one of these print systems to meet your specifications regarding size, environmental conditions, exposures and other custom criteria and produce the variable data label or decal.
Here are a few of the custom variable data barcode applications ALG produces for its customers:
The various print methods also allow ALG to produce variable data labels and decals on a variety of substrates including:
Barcodes are scanned to the ANSI grading standard which produces grades of A, B, C, D, F. All codes must achieve a C grade or higher to be acceptable. Some ALG customers require a B grade or higher depending on the application.
Barcodes have nine attributes that are scannable to the ANSI standard. Five of the attributes have a pass/fail grading criteria. The remaining four attributes are graded A, B, C, D, F. The overall quality of the barcodes is based on the lowest grade for any of the nine attributes.
*The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private organization responsible for the development of voluntary industry standards. ANSI sets standards for barcode print quality and verification.
Every customer wants every barcode on their label to be read or scanned the first time, every time. To ensure that barcodes will scan the first time and meet the acceptable requirements, ALG utilizes barcode verification devices both in-line on press and finishing equipment as well as off-line.
These devices measure the "print quality" of the barcode and provide a quality "grade" based on the ANSI standard.
A detailed report provides the barcode symbol quality attributes with the final barcode grade being the lowest grade of the attributes tested. If the barcode "fails", this report provides sufficient detail to the production team, to make the necessary adjustments in the printing method being utilized to bring the code to an acceptable grade.
ALG's in-line barcode verification equipment can verify the print quality of every static and variable data barcode printed on each label.
The difference between symbol verification and symbol "scanning" is that verification measures and grades the quality of a barcode, and can provide information to help diagnose the cause of any problems. Scanning is the process of reading the data from the symbol and it provides no indication of a barcode's quality.
Barcode validation is the process of checking that the data represented by the barcode, has been printed.
If your label requires barcode validation, ALG has capabilities to validate that static and variable data barcodes have been correctly printed on each label produced. With in-line cameras and validation software, ALG can validate your source information to every barcode printed on each label produced.
Documentation can then be provided for each production run detailing the barcode data from each label. ALG can supply job report and core label that detail the "data" in each job or even by finished roll.
The validation process is not a check of "print quality" of the barcode nor tells you if the code is readable by other barcode scanners. See Barcode Verification.
ALG Labels & Graphics makes creating barcodes simple and efficient. We utilize a specific barcode generation software program that supports all of the 1D codes and the majority of the 2D codes used in the market place. Once we have the specific symbology and what the barcode is to read, we then can make a barcode in a matter of minutes. If you do not know what type of barcode is required, simply provide the end use of the product and we can help create the correct code for the application from retail to industrial uses.
Once the barcode is set into the art file, ALG will work with the customer to ensure that the graphics do not interfere with the performance of the barcode. The most common adjustment is to ensure that there is enough quiet zone ( white space around the barcode) for a first time, every time scan.
ALG Labels and Graphics is a custom manufacturer of pressure sensitive labels and decals celebrating over 50 years in business. Our focus is delivering value to our customers with responsive service, quality products and low cost production. Our mission is to make it easy for you to do business with ALG.
3005 4th Avenue South,
Birmingham, Alabama 35233
Copyright 2017 ALG Labels and Graphics