We can’t imagine it and when you consider that for a huge number of people they will not have lived without them, simply because the barcode first appeared in 1952 in America and although it was slow to take off, by the early 80’s it was beginning to be commonplace.
Health Secretary, Matt Hancock has vowed to invest £487 million on technology for the Health Service to make it one of the most advanced in the world, including introducing barcodes and mobile apps to track and monitor patients.
Wristbands etched with barcodes will be used to track patients as they travel through different departments and wards within the hospital, while advanced mobile apps will monitor blood pressure and other vital signs at home, allowing patients to be diagnosed and discharged quicker.
Smart food packaging is continuing to evolve at a staggering rate as consumers look to make more informed choices about the food they eat as well as reduce waste, with scientists all over the world working on new and improved packaging.
When barcodes are used on industrial equipment for the purpose of asset tracing or when hired out, the label has to be durable and by durable this means that it must withstand corrosion, heat, cold, UV light and solvents.
Yes, product pricing is a vital function of a barcode; it enables goods presented to a cashier, or at the checkout, to accurately display the price of the item, this ensures that the products are labelled with price and product information and this in turn reduces labour costs. Prices and details can be changed on the main system without the need for relabelling items, is one example of cost saving.
We take the ubiquitous barcode for granted, but it is pretty worthless if it will not read or scan properly. Naturally we assume that a simple scan will give us all we need to know about the barcoded product, but this assumption can be false.
Much depends upon the scanner of course, but not all of it, some scanners have technology that enables them to scan and read even poorly printed barcodes; that doesn’t mean your customer will be able to scan the barcode though.
Barcodes are not necessarily just for swiping at the grocery checkout counter, they have many more uses. Product pricing is the obvious one that we see just about every day, for example they are widely used in most retail stores across the globe. Once the barcode labels are passed over the scanner, the cost of that product will be reflected on the computer or cash register. Thus, the need for manually entering the cost is completely eliminated.
Before over-laminated labels were commonly available, company owners and managers found themselves wasting time and money replacing barcode labels that had become damaged or simply disintegrated or faded and unreadable. This can mean that time is lost by being unable to read the label and can mean that valuable employees time is wasted.
Today we can provide labels from a variety of materials that are capable of withstanding the harshest of conditions including being frozen down to extreme temperatures referred to as cryogenic.
If a barcode label or an asset tag or label becomes damaged through exposure to adverse conditions, they become un-readable by the scanner and no longer serve the purpose for which they were intended. In such cases the label would have to be replaced, wasting company employees’ valuable time and costing the company money.
We have all become familiar with barcode labels on products that we see every day at supermarkets and in other kinds of retail outlets, but they have many more uses than just telling the checkout operator the price of the goods. Naturally this method has completely replaced the traditional method of having to manually price each item. A barcode comprises of a continuous series of black stripes and white spaces of different widths. This barcode is usually printed onto products to uniquely identify them.