Barcodes – YA Gotta Love EM’

How old is barcoding now? I think that when I watched Fred Flintstone as a kid that they used barcodes at the quarry but I’m not sure. That was a great show by the way. I have a list of Fred Flintstone quotes that I keep in my desk (isn’t that odd?). Someday I’ll write The Lost Business Secret of Fred and Barney.

Back to Barcodes. Barcode readers have made huge progress over the years. From 2D to 3D to High Capacity color and lots more. There is a barcode and a reader for all kinds of applications.

We’re a long way from 1966 when NCR installed a test system at Marsh’s Supermarket in Troy, Ohio. On June 26, 1974, Clyde Dawson pulled a 10-pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum out of his basket and it was scanned by Sharon Buchanan at 8:01 am. You can see that pack of gum and the receipt at the Smithsonian Institution. It was the first commercial appearance of the UPC barcode.

The biggest problem using barcode in Industrial Automation applications has been the dirt, grime and dust that you find in lots of factories. Paper barcodes don’t hold up in a lot of these applications.

Early systems used big barcodes to increase the chances of getting one good linear scan. Now 3D barcodes that can be embossed on a product are used to fight this problem and transfer much more information.

Lots of people have thought that barcodes would disappear with the introduction of RF ID Systems. As far as I can see these systems are still pretty costly. The readers cost more and the tags are much more expensive than paper tags. I’ve hear for years now that these systems will use very inexpensive printed tags comparable in cost to barcode labels. Has anything happened on that? It’s been years and I’ve still never seen one in operation. If you know anything about this stuff let me know.

Barcode is still dominant from where I sit on my couch. I just read about MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems) and how they use barcodes for all sorts of things.

One of the things we do best is to move barcodes to PLCs, Printers, databases and MES systems. A really popular product of ours is our Barcode to PLC gateway. That product simply moves a barcode in an RS232 device to an Allen-Bradley Programmable Controller.

We have other products that move barcodes in all sorts of different ways. We can move Barcodes to DeviceNet devices, barcodes to Modbus devices or barcodes to TCP devices. You might say we’re just barcode happy!

And why not? Barcoding has been a dominant technology for years and years and there isn’t much indication that it’s going to change. If you think different, let me know. I’d be glad to hear from you.

In the meantime, YABA DABA DO…