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How can you Optimize the Barcode

In today’s world, barcodes become a very essential thing for every business or organization. They are very helpful in improving the efficiency and productivity of the business. They are also used along with different labels. But, generally, in some cases, these are more productive than the labels. But what happens, when these barcode labels are not performing well according to their capability. The performance of these barcodes can be degraded because for various types of reasons like incorrect scanning, and size reduction. So, in this article, we will tell about five basic steps with the help of which you can optimize your barcode and increase its performance to a greater extent. These steps are neither difficult nor costly. It is followed by anyone. All that is needed is some preparation and documentation.

Why is there a need to optimize the barcode?

barcode optimization need

A barcode performs correct identification and is perfectly scannable only when it is created accurately. But sometimes, some problems occur in the barcodes such as poor readability, data loss, etc. which can be terrible for quality standards and company reputation.

These barcodes can lead to the loss of data related to the product. So, it is always recommended that you should keep these barcodes away from the supply chain, logistics, and warehousing operations.

Some causes are responsible for these barcode problems-

  • Insufficient Contrast: A barcode reader is unable to identify the barcode if there is insufficient contrast between these two barcode parts, resulting in a no-read.
  • Quiet Zone Violation: When the text or other markings flow into the barcode's quiet zone, the optical reader is unable to decode the label properly.
  • Distorted Barcodes: Temperature variations can distort or damage the barcode surface to the point where its elements are no longer visible to the reader.
  • Improper Scanner Position: A readable barcode can get a no-read result if the position of the barcode scanner is improper relative to the label.
  • Print Inconsistency: Many reading issues can be traced due to differences in printing processes, such as inadequate ink dispersion for printed codes.

These barcode failures are easy to recognize since they are observable to the naked eye while data errors are harder to detect. So, to keep away from all these types of problems and make the barcode perfect and efficient, barcode optimization is necessary. By using some basic techniques, you can easily optimize your barcode.

Barcode Optimization:

Optimize a 1D Barcode:

1D barcodes are generally less complex than 2D barcodes and they are scanned in only a single horizontal direction. But, there are still some mistakes are occurred while designing them which degrade their performance. So, there are some following steps are described below that help you to optimize your 1D barcode and make the performance better-

optimize 1d barcode

Make the X Dimension Large

Generally, the X dimension range of UPCs is between .0104’’ to .0260’’. Whereas in the case of ITF1 codes, it varies from .020’’ to .040’’ S, it is crucial to double-check the criteria for a particular symbol’s type and scanning functions. It is necessary to make X dimensions larger because it improves the printing and scanning of the 1d barcodes

Use a Large Narrow–to–Width Ratio

There are only two barred and spaces widths that exist in various barcode symbologies like Code39, ITF, etc. In Code39, it varies from 2:1 to 3:1 and in ITF it varies from 2.25% to 3.1%. So, it is very important to examine the requirements for the barcode type you’re using. If the narrow-to-width ratio of a barcode is higher, then it is very easy to print and scan it.

Avoid Truncating

Truncation is the process of lowering the height of the bars. Each type of 1D barcode has a different height that corresponds to the X dimension. Full height barcodes have higher first read rates and scanner angle is less important when scanning them. If the height of the barcode is large, then it requires very less re-scanning.

Do not Violate Quiet Zones

It is very essential to protect the quiet zones. If you design a barcode with a bearer bar then, you should not place the left and right bearer bars at the corner of the quiet zones because a minimal amount of gain causes the quiet zones to be violated. The scanner gets confused by expanded images, text, or other visual disturbances which might result in misreads.

Authenticate Check Digits

Check Digits are calculated automatically by barcode designing software, however, they are optional for some particular types of barcodes. So, you should keep in mind whether the check digit is required or not while using Code 39, ITF, or Codabar Barcode. Your client's scanner will discard your barcodes if there is no check digit present.

Optimize a 2D Barcode:

Despite 1D barcodes, 2D barcodes are scanned in both vertical and horizontal directions. But, due to some minor mistakes, while designing these barcodes, they are unable to encode the products' information accurately and waste your precious time and resources. So, you can make the performance of your 2D barcodes better with the help of the following steps-

optimize 2d barcode

Avoid Quiet Zone Interruption

The quiet zone of a 2D barcode is a multiple of the X dimension, and different types of 2D barcodes require different quiet zones. The quiet zone defined in the QR Code is four times the X dimension. On the other hand, the Aztec Code doesn’t contain any quiet zone. It is recommended that you should not interrupt the quiet zones otherwise; the scanning will be canceled out.

Prevent Barcode Gain

2D barcodes contain data in both the X and Y axes, so they are particularly susceptible to distortion or gain in both axes. When a barcode is going through the printing process, it is likely to more gain in one axis. In 2D barcodes, gaining in bar height is pointless, but the differential gain can be problematic, particularly at high print speeds.

Balanced Print Speed and Barcode Quality

Some users feel that increasing the print head temperature in thermal printing systems will allow for greater speed printing. This results in the degradation of the 2D barcode’s dimensional symmetry. So, there should be a fine balance between the print speed and the barcode quality and this balance can be attained with the help of a barcode verifier.

Identify Color Contrast

Unlike 1D barcodes, 2D barcodes can be printed in different colors. For example, Data Matrix postal codes are printed in bright red color. These barcodes can also be reversely colored (white color with black background). For every different colored 2d barcode, a special scanner with a different wavelength is used.

Bigger Barcodes are Better

A large-sized 2D barcode is always considered the best barcode. This barcode allows more black dots and white spaces which makes their printing simpler. There are also fewer chances of the occurrence of scanning errors in these large barcodes because, due to their large size, a scanner reads the white spaces and black dots easily without any distortion.

The Conclusion:

Finally, we hope now, that you will understand these five steps to optimize the barcode. These five steps will help you to design the best barcode and also saves your precious time and lots of money. A good quality barcode always presents accurate information regarding the product and also scans correctly on the first try, irrespective of the scanner type used by the user.