Barcode Technology Explained – Laser Scanners

So next up in our look at the most common barcode technologies is the laser barcode scanner.  Laser barcode Readers are probably the best known type of barcode scanner due to the use of an actual laser light that is shone out of the device and their popularity in the larger supermarket and DIY chains.

Unlike the CCD, laser scanners use a photosensitive array of photo-sensors that measure only the emitted laser light frequency that reflects back from the barcode being read.  It then converts this photo-array of voltages into a deciphered barcode.

Pro’s of Laser Barcode Scanners

  • Speed – Often termed “aggression”, Laser scanners are fast, accurate and robust scanner technology.  It’s no longer actually 100% always the case now with some CCD scanner technology being on a par, however the general rule of thumb is that laser scanners are still more suited to retail, mass scanning applications.
  • Range – The range of a laser barcode scanner is still longer than CCD or 2D technology with most extended range scanners still using Laser technology.
  • Light Interference – Or lack of it should I say, a known frequency of laser beam is always going to give less interference than CCD the longer the scanning distance so they are still generally better at coping with light.

Con’s of Laser Barcode Scanners

  • Expensive – Again there are cheaper versions of laser tech, but generally you pay for the extra efficiency of a laser scanner.
  • Moving parts – A mirror is typically used to create the laser line (otherwise it’s a dot), this is a moving part that can break.
  • Safety– Laser light is not good for your eyes if scanning directly into them!

It was almost quite a difficult article to write because if written a few years ago all of the above would be absolutely correct.  However with CCD and 2D technologies improving far quicker the past few years, it’s not as clear-cut any longer.  Always talk to your reseller and always check to see if your barcode scanning scenario requires a specific technology.

Next up we’re going to move away from scanning technology and look at other barcode scanner technologies, starting with ruggedness.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.

About The Author

Dave's one of the founders of Raptor, his rants are memorable, his thoughts are stimulating and his heart is set on helping, entertaining and making things like mobile, Android, ruggedness, 3D printing and IOT simple.

Related Posts