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Purpose of Barcoding
Barcodes are symbols read by machines that are used to store data. Including barcodes on plastic cards offers companies an efficient way to track consumer information. Barcodes are most often used for identification, tracking, inventory and as part of retail (POS) point of sale systems. Barcodes are read and decoded by barcode scanners which are optical or laser devices. These scanners interpret the widths of the bars and the stripes and then send the data. Many barcodes include a chek digit at the end of their sequence to insure the integrity of the data. Using barcodes on plastic cards allows for many benefits such as allowing for automated work processes that are fast and accurate. The use of barcodes can eliminate many errors and save a business time and money. View samples of plastic cards that use barcodes.
There are many different types of barcodes that are used on plastic cards. Some of these barcodes have a fixed length while others can vary in size; some contain only numbers while others can contain numbers and letters.
UPC, EAN, Bookland and ISSN
The UPC (Universal Product Code) was he original barcode which was created for the purpose of tracking consumer products and automating the grocery checkout process. The UPC is 12 decimal digits where the last digit is a check digit. EAN was developed as a method to make the UPC barcode universal. EAN barcodes add an extra digit to the beginning on the numerical sequence so that there would be enough digits to handle the requirements of the entire world. EAN is primarily used in Europe, however the Uniform Code Council made it mandatory that all retail systems recognize both UPC and EAN. Bookland barcodes are typically used for books and ISSN barcodes are used on non US periodicals. Each of these barcodes use numeric characters only and have fixed length. They also include on ore more check digits.
This barcode is a high density barcode that is widely used in the shipping and packaging industry and there are three variations; code set A, code set B, and code set C. This barcode offers a variable length and has a mandatory check digit as well as being capable of encoding alphanumeric or numeric-only characters.
This barcode has become remarkably successful for a variety of applications and is widely used for ID, tracking and inventory purposes. Code 39 or sometimes referred to as Code 3 of 9, can vary in size and length, use numeric and alphanumeric characters, and can be used anywhere a simple barcode is needed. Code 39 can be decoded with virtually any barcode reader making it the most widely used. This barcode starts and stops with a * symbol and prints the number or alphanumeric characters in a human readable format alongside the barcode itself.
Interleaved 2 of 5 (ITF)
This is a compact numeric only barcode that encodes information on both the bars and spaces. This barcode is mainly used in laboratories and on corrugat ed boxes in the shipping industry, however, it is an older barcode that isn't used very often anymore.
FedEx, libraries, and blood banks are the typical industries that utilize this numeric only barcode.
This numeric barcode is used to encode information for libraries.
This is the barcode used to encode ZIP codes on US mail.
This is a very dense two dimensional barcode used to encode information and is found on the backs of many states' drivers licenses.
This is another two dimensional barcode that takes up less space than the PDF 417 and is the basis for the Universal Identification barcode (UID) which is mandated by the Department of Defense.
This two dimensional barcode is used by the United Parcel Service.