Barcode Scanners - Types, Features and Benefits

By: System ID

A barcode scanner is a device that is used to read the printed barcodes. A barcode consists of a series of parallel, adjacent bars and spaces that are decoded with the intensity of the light reflected by them. When the scanning is initialized, the scanner lens reads the entire code with the help of the light source and converts the code into 0s and 1s. The space reflects the light where as the dark bar absorbs the light. This is called digitalizing. Thus decoding is done for the barcode and the result is sent to the output device.

Types of barcode scanners:
The barcode scanners can be classified into two main categories. They are

&bullContact readers: These devices are normally held in the hands. To read a barcode this type of readers must either touch the code or come close to it.

&bullNon-contact readers: These devices need not be close to the barcode to read the code. These scanners use either a moving beam or a stationary beam, but mostly they have a moving laser light beam. These scanners come in both handheld and fixed mount configurations.

Features of barcode readers:
The barcode scanners consist of an internal decoder and a cable, which are connected to the computer through compatible ports. It consists of a light source, a lens and a photo conductor translating optical impulses into electrical ones. Additionally, nearly all barcode readers contain decoder circuit. It analyzes the barcode's image data provided by the photo conductor and sends the barcode's content to the scanner's output port. Advanced readers use laser-scanning technology. Barcode readers are available in several forms like in hand-held, hands-free, wearable, scan engines, laser or digital.

Benefits o f barcode readers:
The benefits of the barcode readers can be classified based upon their types.
&bullBenefits of Contact barcode readers:

oPortable in size, simple to use.
oSuitable for small businesses
oLow maintenance
oLess in price when compared to a laser gun or a CCD reader.
oCan be considered as the basic scanner when implementing for the first time.

&bullBenefits of non-contact readers:

oNon-contact readers works from a distance of several inches to several feet depending upon the scanner design and the size of the input. So, non-contact scanners can be used in almost any barcode reading application.
oThese scanners are mostly put into use when the input cannot be brought near the scanner like heavy machinery or objects.
oThe fixed position non-contact readers are best suited for applications where the items move past the scanner.
oThese scanners are best suited for the mobility applications.
These scanners can perform high-end and heavy-duty work for long durations.

&bullOverall benefits of barcode scanners:

oUse of barcodes provides a fast, easy and accurate mechanism to enter data into a computer system for data collection or data lookup.
oAccelerates workflow efficiency and speed ups throughput process
oEliminate data entry errors
oAchieve data accuracy in backend host application
oThe barcode scanner interprets a unique identity of every product.
oThe occurrence of errors is almost zero.
oThe process is time and cost-effective.
oAccess to total production costs is possible.
oThere is a huge saving in the terms of labor effort.

Barcode scanners have a positive impact on both the commercial and industrial sector. In the commercial segment, the usage of barcode scanners has reduced the time and effort at the process of billing. In the industrial segment, the barcode scanners have a positive impact in many areas increasing operating efficiency and the productivity.

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