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Choosing a Scanner for UPC Barcode Reading

Posted September 22, 2016

UPC barcodes are one of the most commons codes that are being read daily around the world. If you’re not familiar with the UPC code you can find it on any commercial product from the grocery store to the everything on Amazon.

The UPC number itself is referred to as the GTIN (Global Trade Item Number). The GTIN is made up of two parts: The UPC Company Prefix and the number that you have assigned to that unique product. This information is how any business can recognize what each product is.

The UPC code is a standard 1D linear barcode so almost any device will be a suitable UPC barcode scanner. The primary concern when choosin g a scanner will be reading performance to keep up with your specific application.

Laser Scanners
By far the most common, laser scanners are more than capable of reading any UPC. These scanners often are the most cost effective solution but you will need to properly line up the red laser line with the UPC to get a good read. This usually isn’t a deal breaker but for higher volume applications you may want to look at other options. One of the most popular laser scanners today is the AirTrack S1.

Imagers
Imager-based scanners utilize a specialized camera to read a barcode as opposed to reflecting light like on a laser. This means you can capture barcodes without really aiming. Just get within the reading area of the imager and you can get a positive read. Upside down, sideways, it doesn’t matter. Imagers like the AirTrack S2 will improve scanning accuracy and speed for faster check-out lines and inventory check-ins.


AirTrack’s S1 and S2: High Performance, Affordable Barcode Scanning

Posted August 26, 2016

AirTrack has entered the barcode scanner market with the S1 1D linear scanner and a full 2D area imager with the S2. Designed with a focus on high performance at an affordable cost, the S1 and S2 are the perfect solutions for retail, manufacturing, and logistic applications. Both scanners are corded models and are available as complete USB kits with stand and cable.

AirTrack S1
Multi-Purpose 1D Linear imager

  • Reads linear or most 1D barcodes
  • Wide angle scanning
  • Laser-like thin, extended scan line
  • Green Spot technology for good-read feedback
  • Reduced operator stress with LED-based aiming system
  • IP42 water and particulate sealing rating
  • Withstands repeated drops from 5 feet onto a concrete surface

AirTrack S2
High Performance 2D Are Imager

  • Reads linear or 2D barcodes off of smartphones and loyalty cards
  • Omnidirectional reading
  • Green Spot technology for good-read feedback
  • Reduced operator stress with LED-based aiming system
  • IP42 water and particulate sealing rating
  • Withstands repeated drops from 5 feet onto a concrete surface
  • Advanced motion tolerance optics

Honeywell ESD

Posted July 25, 2016

Honeywell Granit 1910i ScannerYou often hear manufacturers reference ESD when discussing scanners.  In fact, on the Honeywell Granit datasheet you’ll see under the “Environmental” section on the back:  ESD.  ±20Kv air discharge, ±8KV contact discharge

What does it mean and why is it important?

  • ESD – electrostatic discharge – is the sudden flow of electricity between two objects resulting from two conditions:
    • Air Discharge.  A high electrostatic field between two objects when they are in close proximity.
    • Contact Discharge.  Direct contact transfer of electricity between two objects at different potentials.  This is similar to the above except you are injecting the shock directly into the computer. A typical example of this would be 20KV Air Discharge into a scanner vehicle mount.  The mount in turn passes an 8KV shock to the scanner.
  • Kv is a kilovolt – or 1,000 Volts. And a volt is…um…a unit of measurement to define voltage.  Think of voltage, using a plumbing analogy, as water pressure.

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Honeywell’s Presentation Mode for Scanners

Posted July 11, 2016

Presentation mode gives customers the ability to scan barcodes without having to squeeze any triggers.  You “present” the barcode to the scanner and it scans.  Presentation mode uses ambient light and scanner illumination to detect barcodes.

There are two types of Presentation Modes:

  1. Presentation Mode.  In this mode the scanner’s LEDs remain dim until a bar code is presented to the scanner.  When a barcode is presented & detected the LEDs turn up, the aimer turns on, and the scanner scans the bar code.   This mode tends to do a better job with bad barcodes.
  2. Streaming Presentation Mode:  The scanner’s LEDs remain fully on and the scanner is always scanning.  When a barcode is presented the aimer turns on and the barcode is “scanned”.  This mode tends to scan good barcodes faster.  In Streaming Presentation Mode there is even a Normal flavor and an Enhanced flavor.
    • Normal = Good scan speed and the longest working ranges.
    • Enhanced = Fastest scan speed but less range.

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Medsen Apotheken Saves Time and Improves Customer Experience with Datalogic’s Gryphon

Posted June 17, 2016

Datalogic Gryphon 4000 Series ScannerMedsen Apotheken owns a chain of 42 pharmacies in the Netherlands with over 550 employees.  The company’s philosophy is to always put the customers’ health first.  This means that pharmacists should be dedicating as much time as needed to each customer.  Medsen Apotheken relies on innovation and implements technology to fulfill this goal.

The Challenge

One of the issues that pharmacies face is prescription delivery times.  Anyone who goes to a pharmacy is familiar with the problem: the medication hasn’t arrived, or isn’t ready when the customer comes to collect it.  “We regularly had to send customers home empty-handed, because their orders had not been delivered,” explains pharmacist Huong Bom.  “Customers would call us in advance to ask about the status of their prescription to make sure their trip would be worthwhile,” continued Bom’s colleague, Thi Tran.  Both pharmacists work at Groot Driene pharmacy in Hengelo, a medium-sized pharmacy.  With the goal of better informing its customers and increasing customer satisfaction, Medsen Apotheken turned to technology to resolve this issue.  They collaborated with Datalogic Business Partner Viridis Nederland in Naarden.

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Finding Honeywell’s Vuquest Scanner In More Places Than You’d Expect

Posted June 1, 2016

I took a Southwest Airlines flight last week and was delighted to see that they use the Honeywell Vuquest 3310g to scan boarding passes. So I started thinking – the humble Vuquest (2D Area Imager) doesn’t get enough press – probably because it finds itself inside things, or under things or behind things.

Below are just a few examples of where you’ll find the Vuquest.  So don’t forget about it when solving your customer’s scanning problems. Thank of it as a Xenon in a smaller more compact, easily mounted form.

  • Southwest Airlines.  Scanning boarding passes.
  • Law Enforcement. Electronic Ticketing / eCitation solution. Vuquest is inside the below device in the officer’s hand.
  • One of the largest convenience store chains uses them inside their “loyalty kiosks” to scan loyalty cards. Kiosks are a classic use case.
  • A European grocer with a significant presence in the US uses 3310’s at checkout to scan loyalty cards and in their self-checkout lanes to scan the final barcode off of mobile device used in their “scan as you go” application.
  • A very large hamburger chain is putting the Vuquest into their in-store McKiosks.
  • An extremely large online retailer that seems to be delivering packages to my house daily uses them to read bin license plates in their picking application and inside robots to read 2D codes on their floors for guidance in their warehouse.
  • The 2nd largest grocery chain uses them in their pharmacies to scan bottles of pills and filled prescriptions. Another classic use case for the space saving Vuquest
  • A large Midwest based vending machine company puts them in open unmanned vending kiosks to scan employee’s employee ID card.

For assistance learning how a Vuquest 3310g can fit your needs, contact us at BarcodesInc.


Honeywell’s Mobile Phone Mode

Posted May 10, 2016

There is a mode titled “Hand Held Scanning – Mobile Phone” that optimizes your scanner to read bar codes from mobile phones and other LED displays.  It does this in part by flickering the LEDs.  Last week a business was having trouble reading barcodes off of his laptop so we told him to turn the feature on (by scanning the barcode).  And of course he stopped having trouble.  Note that you don’t have to have this feature on when scanning barcodes off of phones/tablets.  It just helps the cause sometimes.

I wanted to know what the impact was on scanning speed when scanning regular barcodes when this feature was turned on.  So I tested it.

The results – the Xenon 1900 is a little slower (about 15%) with this feature turned on.  That sounds like a lot but the difference in speed really isn’t noticeable.  The Xenon still blows through my scanner board.

So don’t hesitate to use this feature if the application calls for it – even if other barcodes are being scanned that aren’t on a phone or a computer screen.


Honeywell Offers Shielded Illumination with Presentation Scanners

Posted May 4, 2016

Shielded Illumination. What is it? In short, it’s a Honeywell-designed feature that minimizes the light emitted from a scanner preventing operators and customers from getting their eyes zapped by the barcode scanner. It significantly reduces the intense illumination often associated with imaging-based scanners.

Is it important? Yes! It allows retailers to manage their point of sale operations quickly, efficiently, and without any customer complaints.


Improve Performance with Honeywell’s Flexible Scanner Power Management

Posted May 2, 2016

If your business is experiencing network performance issues and you suspect that the Bluetooth scanner is interfering with other devices, you can turn down the power output of the Bluetooth scanner by simply scanning a barcode.  There are four barcodes you can scan in the Xenon/Granit/Voyager 1452/1602g User’s Guides:

  • Low Power (1%)
  • Medium Low Power (5%)
  • Medium Power (35%)
  • Full Power (100%).

A by-product when you turn down the power output is reduced range between the scanner and its base/access point/host.  I get asked a lot about the Bluetooth ranges at those power levels – scanner to base station.  So I tested several scanners (because I am a scan-nerd), and here is what I found.  Measurements are approximation – RF isn’t exact.  Also – I stopped at 100 feet because that’s how big my yard is…and because I’ve never seen an application that requires the Xenon to scan that far from the base station.

Xenon 1902G Granit 1981i Voyager 1452g
Low Power (1%)

  • Line of sight between scanner and base
  • With my body between scanner and base
  • 35-40 Feet
  • 10 Feet
  • 35-40 Feet
  • 10 Feet
  • 20 Feet
  • 5 Feet
Medium Low Power (5%)

  • Line of sight between scanner and base
  • With my body between scanner and base
  • >100 Feet
  • 30 Feet
  • >100 Feet
  • 30 Feet
  • 40 Feet
  • 28 Feet
Medium Power (35%)

  • Line of sight between scanner and base
  • With my body between scanner and base
  • >100 Feet
  • >100 Feet
  • >100 Feet
  • >100 Feet
  • 75 Feet
  • 50 Feet
Full Power (100%)

  • Line of sight between scanner and base
  • With my body between scanner and base
  • >100 Feet
  • >100 Feet
  • >100 Feet
  • >100 Feet
  • >100 Feet
  • >100 Feet

Bottom line is that if you are really concerned about RF interference, don’t be afraid to turn down the power on the Xenon & Granit.  They’ll still have plenty of range. That being said, in the vast majority of cases, the interference has nothing to do with the Bluetooth scanner.


Datalogic Heron Scanners Deployment by Euro Garages

Posted April 28, 2016

Datalogic has announced that Euro Garages, one of the UK’s largest privately-owned forecourt operators, is the first in the UK to roll out the Heron HD3100 barcode scanners.

Euro Garages, which had acquired 195 Esso sites in the UK from a series of sales that started in 2012, needed a barcode scanning solution at the point-of-sale that would integrate seamlessly with its Verifone chip and pin system. “We looked at a number of options before choosing the Datalogic device,” comments Guy Bickerstaffe, Regional Manager at Euro Garages. “The Heron barcode scanner, which was the only device that was compatible with our Verifone chip and pin system, enables us to scan a customer’s loyalty card to award Tesco’s Clubcard points.”

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