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A simple look at how barcodes work?

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In today’s online and super fast shopping world we live in there is a silent little collection of thick and thin black lines. This collection of lines have been with us now for many years, attached to everything we purchase and the commercial world could now no longer continue without  the humble barcode. 

Barcode labels are applied to products in every stage of their journey, from the very start of the manufacturing process right through to the point of sale goods that are sat on the shelf ready to be bought or despatched.  Each set of barcode labels are unique, the work in pairs of two, depending on the width of the lines and the width and spacing of the gaps in between each set of lines. Some of these lines are locator codes, other are checker codes that are simply there to check for any errors, others are quantity and transportations codes, all held within the lines of black and white barcode labels.  EAN barcodes commonly have 13 digits, also known as EAN-13 barcodes. EAN is an abbreviation for European Article number, now upgraded to mean International article number used world wide.

How do barcodes scan?

Barcode labels would be irrelevant if we did not know how to read them, unfortunately the human readable eye is not that fast or clever. However barcode scanners or barcode readers do the job perfectly well. To make it very simple they work on light reflection, darker and lighter for the white and black spacing, this is then translated by the barcode scanner into binary code which in turn is then understood and subsequently translated by the computer.

Currently there is nothing that rivals our humble barcode labels that is available through the commercial world to date. The barcode is here to stay for the foreseeable future, it may change, it may be upgraded, but it will remain a part of our every day life. Just take a quick look around you right now and you will see barcodes everywhere, the little black and white stripes that have revolutionised the whole way in which we operate today.

Mercury labels are specialist suppliers and printers of barcode labels, manufacturing labels for Zebra, TEC, Datamax printers to mention but a few, as well as full printed EAN UPC barcode labels.  Please feel free to leave your comments or get in touch with our barcode labels team for any advice or questions you may have,




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