Grocery Stores Use Bar-Code Scanners To Read Upcs On Products The Evolution of Barcode Systems

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The Evolution of Barcode Systems

Barcodes are now found in many places used in different industries and businesses. Initially barcodes were used only for retail purposes. Later they emerged to be used in many fields. As barcodes are accurate, easy to use, and provide both data collection and timely feedback, more and more businesses are starting to use them to improve productivity and revenue. It is widely used in manufacturing, warehousing, shipping, retail, transportation and many other industries. Barcode technology is commonly used for asset management and tracking, healthcare, construction, and document management.

History of barcodes
The origins of barcode systems date back to 1932. Since then, many changes have occurred that have shaped the systems used today.

Initial stages
The concept of barcodes was first started by Wallace Flint in 1932. He invented an automated checkout system for a grocery store using a punched card, which was placed in a reader. Inventory records are updated with this system.

Later in 1948, Bernard Silver with his friend Norman Joseph Woodland researched a method that could automatically read product information. An ultraviolet light sensitive ink is used, which creates ink patterns that glow under ultraviolet light. However, the method failed due to instability and expensive printing patterns.

In 1949, they filed a patent, titled “Classifying Apparatus and Method.” A symbol made up of a series of concentric circles is used by them. However, a description is given of the symbol of today’s linear barcodes.

Follow the stages
In 1967, David J. Collins founded the Computer Identics Corporation and created a black and white barcode system that was read by a laser beam. This system is used for distribution, manufacturing, shipping, sorting, and other applications.

Later in 1967, one of the first scanning systems was installed by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) that used “bull’s eye” barcode symbols.

John F. Keidel invented the first commercially successful barcode reading system in 1969. The Universal Grocery Products Identification Code or UGPIC was developed in 1970. In 1970, barcodes were used for retail trade for the first time by Monarch Marking. The system was applied for industrial use for the first time by Plessey Telecommunications.

In the 1970’s, the US Supermarket Ad Hoc Committee on the Uniform Grocery Product Code was established by The National Association of Food Chains (NAFC) which formed a standardized 12-digit code. In 1973, UGPIC was developed into the Uniform Product Code (UPC) by George J. Laurer.

The first UPC barcode scanner was made in 1974 by NCR Corp. and located at Marsh’s supermarket in Troy. Wrigley’s chewing gum was the first product to be scanned by a supermarket barcode scanner.

Today’s barcode systems
After many changes, today’s barcodes have evolved as the most effective business productivity tool. Today, barcode systems are available in many shapes and sizes that fulfill the different needs of different businesses. The system mainly consists of four components. They are listed below.

Barcode Printer:
A barcode printer is used to print barcode labels. Desktop and wireless barcode printers are available these days. Thermal transfer and direct thermal technologies are commonly used in barcode printers. Compared to conventional printers, these printers print labels faster, more efficiently, and with better print quality. Choosing the right type of barcode printer to use is based primarily on the type of label to be printed and the amount to be printed per day.

Barcode Label:
Barcode labels are nothing but tags where the barcode is printed using a barcode printer. Labels are attached to products or items that are read by scanners. Barcode label layout varies depending on the industry and application. Any combination of text, graphics, and barcode information can be printed on the barcode label. Barcode labels are available in a wide variety of materials that can be used in almost any environment.

Barcode Scanners:
Devices used to read barcodes are called barcode scanners. They help to accurately read information and reduce the rate of errors. Barcode scanners use different scanning technologies such as laser, CCD, and 2D. Deciding which barcode scanner to use depends on the type of barcode symbol and the environment in which it will be used.

Database:
The barcode system process is not complete just by reading the barcode. Information about the product such as its description, price, inventory quantity, and accounting must first be stored in a database. Scanning the barcode easily accesses that information in the database. Except when using a 2D barcode, which can store so much information that it can be a mini-database of the item marked on it.

From a small beginning in the early 1930s, barcode systems have gradually evolved and today they are the life blood of many industries. The rise of advanced technologies has led to the development of 2D barcode systems, which cater to every need of today’s businesses.

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