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» Checking Verification
We are bar coding our products and some customers are having
trouble reading the codes, although they read successfully with
our reader. We are told we need to verify the codes - what does
this mean ?
Requirements for the checking and verification of bar codes vary
depending on how the bar codes you have printed are going to be
used. If you are printing bar codes purely for internal use and
there will be no requirement for anybody outside your company or
organisation to read them ("closed" systems) then just
checking that the bar code encodes the correct characters and that
these can be correctly read by your chosen reading equipment may
well be perfectly adequate.
However, if you are producing bar codes that will be used by third
parties, maybe on a variety of potentially unknown readers and scanners
("open" systems), then you may need to go a stage further.
This is particularly the case in the retail environment where some
larger store chains sometimes impose penalties on suppliers if they
supply goods with unreadable codes. Here the requirement is to verify
that the bar code has been printed in line with the "rules"
of the symbology you are using and that the print quality meets
Verification is a more complex process than simple checking and
requires special equipment capable of scanning your bar code and
analysing the compliance of the code in line with the rules of the
symbology. Usually it is necessary to purchase a specific bar code
"verifier" to do this job. Verifiers can usually provide
lots of very technical information about a bar code (e.g. contrast
ratio rating, wide/narrow bar ratio etc). Normally the verifier
will summarise all these technical measurements to inform the user
if the code is within or outside the acceptable ranges of tolerance
for the symbology concerned. Sometimes this is further summarised
to a simple "good" or "bad".
Checking and verifying printed bar codes are not the same thing
and it is important to understand the differences. The process of
checking with a given reader does not necessarily mean that the
bar code is correctly printed and readable by all scanners operating
within acceptable tolerance ranges. However, the additional cost
of validation may be prohibitive for some and, if you are confident
that you are using a good quality printing source, simple checking
may be adequate. You must however be prepared that one day someone
will complain "we cannot read your bar codes". Responding
that they work OK with your reader is not the same as having properly