So to round off this series of blogs looking at the different types of barcode scanning technology we’ll take a look at some of the more specialist areas barcodes are used in and the scanners required to scan them.

Omni-Directional Barcode Scanners

These are essentially laser barcode scanners but with a prism and multi-mirror interface inside that shines out a multi-line barcode read pattern.  Made popular by supermarkets they are a pretty reliable way of scanning barcodes from any angle or orientation.  You particularly see this technology employed in “in counter” barcode scanners or fixed “on counter” barcode scanners where hands free scanning is required.

High Density Barcode reading

Some barcodes just need to be small, I mean super tiny, can hardly read see the lines small and you need a specialist scanner to read these that is optimised for high density 1D barcodes.  As CCD and laser technology improves we’re seeing this technology get swallowed up by more and more standard barcode scanners now but I thought i’d mention it as there are still a lot of specialist scanners that do this and do it well.

Extended Range Barcode Scanners

These are typically laser based scanners that will scan a barcode from a pretty awesome distance, usually around 20-30 feet (10m).  They are designed to allow warehouse workers to walk around and scan the tops of shelves easily without having to clamber up and down them!  But we see them innovatively used in other scenarios from time to time too.  The downside of extended range barcode scanners are that they will not read barcodes at shorter distances, usually you have to be at least 1-2M away from them.

Near/Far Barcode Reading

It’s common for forklift drivers to scan a pallet form a distance before lowering it, but to then need to scan items in it at closer range and Intermec has a solution in their Near/Far Imager technology.  To alleviate the range issue these near/far barcode scanners, as they suggest, will give far more flexibility to scan barcodes at a distance but also at closer range.  You don;t get the same distance as Extended range, you can also get them to scan under a meter, and they need configuring and testing for each environment they work in.  However they use 2D scanning technology which can be altered on the fly by clever use of the SDK’s that come with them.

DPM Barcode Scanners

Direct part marking is used to mark metal parts directly but literally tattooing or engraving the barcodes into the metal.  Using 2D barcodes these scanners require a huge amount of R&D into their scan technology and lighting in order to read these types of barcode at any kind of efficiency.  Expensive, very few options, but if you’re in the motor industry chances are you’ll need a few!

High Speed barcode Scanners

USed where a super high throughput of barcodes is required.  Bottling or labelling companies for instance can have requirements to scan barcodes at a rate of 500 per second or even more and a specialist scanner is needed to do this.  Usually small and fixed and requiring bespoke mounting and set-up there are laser and 2D images that can scan in the 1000+ scan per second rates if required.

So that covers everything, hope this series has helped.  Tomorrow we’ll continue the technology theme by looking at Wireless barcode scanning technology

The Rugged and Mobile blog.