Barcode Scanner

Barcodes are an integral part of all buying and selling – especially if you’re a manufacturer. Although it isn’t compulsory to print barcodes on your products, almost all manufacturers opt for barcodes to keep track of their products and make registering and indexing easier. In developed countries, where market transactions are highly organized and most stores are large establishments, bar coding is an essential part of all products and barcode scanners an essential part of the establishment.

In large shops, barcode and barcode scanners go hand-in-hand. You can’t have one without the other. However, many small time shops, especially those in developing countries, can manage fairly well while selling products with barcodes without even having seen a scanner. This is because their inventory levels are quite low. Nonetheless, for large departmental stores, supermarkets and malls, where inventory levels are high, bar code scanners play an integral role.

As a shop-keeper, if you’re considering integrating the bar code system into your every day sales, then you’re better off knowing a little about bar codes first and also about the options you have when it comes to the barcode scanner. Barcodes, or Universal Product Code (UPC) bar codes are unique, machine-readable values assigned to each product by its manufacturer. These values are assigned to the manufacturer by a company called the Uniform Code Council in exchange of an annual membership fee. These bar code values are then printed on to the package of every single unit that the manufacturer sells and no bar code is repeated. The bar code is readable by a barcode scanner that can be attached to a computer which keeps track of every product thus sold, moved, distributed and so on.

For a large manufacturer, or store, the benefits of having such tracking and indexing technology become obvious. They will help keep track of moving inventory, sales, the increase or decrease in demand, transportation and manufacturing. Since bar codes are only machine readable, this also curbs problems like shop lifting, and erroneous accounting. Depending on your inventory levels, customer base, level of automation and staff, you can pick different types of barcode scanners:

  • Pen: This are quite small and look exactly like pens. The tip of the pen has a source of light and a photodiode. The tip has to be moved across the bar code. The light falling on the barcode is reflected and picked up by the photodiode which measures the intensity of the reflections and transmits a wave like pattern. The scanner then decodes this wave-like pattern into unique code value. It’s also called a wand and costs under $100.
  • Laser: Similar to the pen scanner, but these use a laser as a source of light. The photodiode measures the intensity of the reflected rays.
  • CCD readers/LED scanner: These employ a slightly different technology than the previous two. The CCD readers emit light from a row of hundreds of light sensors in the head of the scanner which emit light onto the bar code and measure the intensity simultaneously, as opposed to the pen or the laser which measure the intensity from light that is reflected from the barcode.
  • Camera based readers: These are quite different, in that they capture an image of the barcode and then use advanced imaging software to decode the image.
  • Omni-Directional scanners: These are the newest types of scanners. Traditionally, a bar code has had to be held directly perpendicular to the source of light so the rays fall on it straight. The omni directional scanners emit rays in all directions, which make it easier for the bar code to be read from any angle. This is especially helpful when the item in question is extremely heavy or bulky.
This Barcode Scanner Review is Written/Updated on Apr 22nd, 2009 and filed under Computer Hardware. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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