Datalinx Blog

Welcome to the Datalinx blog. Here we cover a range of posts and conversations based around our experiences of warehousing, barcoding and Sage software.

How a barcode is scanned

A barcode can be read by a handheld device or by a fixed position scanner or at a remote distance, for example on a moving conveyor belt. Working with Datalinx Computer Systems and their warehouse management solutions they use a variety of scanners but the principle is the same, push the scanning button on the device and a red light shines in a straight line and when it encounters the barcode that you are ‘carefully’ aiming it at it reads the ‘printed’ code (or gaps between the dark lines). It then checks with your warehouse management system and translates the code into human readable data which if your system is set up correctly should be a recognisable reference and match the item you’ve just scanned. Usually this happens in a lot shorter time than it just took you to read this!    
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Different types of scanner

There are lots of different types of scanners from the basic ccd plugged into your computer to the very rugged, ‘drop me off a 4 storey car park and I will still work’ barcode scanning computer.
 
Mostly it depends on your price and what you want to use the scanner for. 
If, for example, you are a library with limited budget and you only need to scan a library card and book when they are presented at your main then a CCD scanner might be just what you are looking for. They connect to your computer via a usb cable and you can mount them on a stand or hold them in your hand to scan when required. As a basic scanner they do the job, don’t cost much and when they break (as occasionally happens) they are easy to repair or replace.
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Barcode Symbology

Symbology, now there is a big word that us sophisticated consultants just love to bandy around.

But here goes for another Betty Secret, Symbology is just a flash word for a barcode language. For example, if on my holidays I travel to the Tropical Island of Sri Lanka, I will need to speak the local dialect. In the same way that there are different languages such as French, German, English etc so there are different symbologies such as Code 39, GS1-128, EAN13, etc.

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Barcode Printing

You're interested in a barcode tracking system, but you want to know what equipment you are likely to need. As a starting point most businesses I work with use the following:

  •  Barcode scanner/mobile scanning computer - model dependent on your system and requirements
  •  Stock Control / Inventory Control /Barcode tracking software
  •  Barcode label software package (dependant on your requirements)
  •  Barcode label printer

The number of barcode scanners you require, obviously depends on your business setup and staff. If you work a shift pattern then you may decide to share scanners between shifts(cutting your initial outlay).

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Barcode Label Media

When it comes down to it you want a label that is the right size for your product, packaging and shelving and will contain all the information you need it to. You want it to stick and not peel off until it’s time to remove it. Most importantly, you need to be able to scan the barcode printed on the label.

The best result is usually obtained from a combination of barcode printer, label stock, printer ribbons and barcode label software. Your hardware or label supplier is usually the best person to advise you on this, as they will know your printer and the most suitable accessories for it. 

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Warehousing
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