All-in-one system reduces unscannable bar codes

Thermal printer's integration measurement device instantly verifies bar code quality

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Retailers’ non-compliance fines for labels with unscannable bar codes can cost suppliers hundreds of thousands of dollars in chargebacks annually, says Andy Edwards, director of product management at Printronix Auto ID. “Additionally, there’s been a significant increase in regulatory requirements for label data and accuracy,” he notes.

Until now, however, the only way suppliers could confirm that their 1D and 2D bar codes and labels placed on cases and pallets complied with each retailer’s minimum ISO grade standard was to piece together a printer and separate scanning technology. “Those solutions include either handheld or fixed-mount bar code readers, which don’t evaluate quality,” Edwards continues.

For that reason, Printronix engineered the ODV-2D, a bar code grading and validation system built into the company’s T8000 4-inch thermal label printer. The streamlined, all-in-one system uses a high-resolution camera to quickly capture an image of each label as it prints. Each image is analyzed instantly, with both 1D and 2D bar codes located automatically with proprietary Barcode GPS software, then decoded and graded.

“If the system detects a bar code whose quality does not meet the required grade standard, the printer overstrikes the entire label with a checkerboard pattern and then reprints a new one,” Edwards continues. “If a pre-set number of consecutive reprints aren’t compliant, the printer stops and sends an alert to operators.”

Capable of validating up to 50 bar codes per label at 100% accuracy, the ODV-2D also stores a detailed report about each label printed. “Should a chargeback be issued, the supplier can provide proof that the label was intact when it left the facility,” he says.

Edwards notes that the system is also ideal for meeting regulatory requirements associated with traceability mandates for marking of medical devices with a unique device identifier (UDI). “The printer verifies that the mark—typically a 2D bar code—meets the minimum grade requirement set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Class I and Class II medical devices, such as surgical instruments and infusion pumps,” he says.

Likewise, the system is ideal for direct label part marking of automotive components, such as airbags and seatbelts, for traceability purposes in case of a recall. “We also see opportunities for the ODV-2D in the food industry,” adds Edwards.

About the Author

Sara Pearson Specter
Sara Pearson Specter has written articles and supplements for Modern Materials Handling and Material Handling Product News as an Editor at Large since 2001. Specter has worked in the fields of graphic design, advertising, marketing, and public relations for nearly 20 years, with a special emphasis on helping business-to-business industrial and manufacturing companies. She owns her own marketing communications firm, Sara Specter, Marketing Mercenary LLC. Clients include companies in a diverse range of fields, including materials handing equipment, systems and packaging, professional and financial services, regional economic development and higher education. Specter graduated from Centre College in Danville, Ky. with a bachelor’s degree in French and history. She lives in Oregon’s Willamette Valley where she and her husband are in the process of establishing a vineyard and winery.

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