Barcode scanners: Decoding vital information
Barcode Scanners
18-03-2015 00:00:00
Barcode scanners: Decoding vital information

When you visit any supermarket, departmental store or textile showroom, you will invariably find the staff at billing counters scanning products with hand-held laser devices or desk top ones. These devices are barcode scanners which are used to scan the barcodes fixed on each item.

When an operator scans the barcode of a product, information such as name and price of the product get displayed on computer screen which are used to generate cash memos/bills.

Barcodes, imprinted/pasted on the products, have embedded details such as product names, price, batch numbers, expiry date, name of the manufacture, quantity of items and so on. There are special devices to generate barcodes which are known as barcode printers. Similarly, devices which decode the information hidden in barcodes are known as barcode scanners.

So, one would ask what are barcodes? For uninitiated, barcode is an orderly representation of data saved in parallel lines with varied width and spacing. Barcode scanners are electronic devices used to decode/read the information saved in barcodes. Technically, the barcode scanners, work by changing the light energy into electrical energy.

Barcode scanners are two types – hand gun type and desktop or fixed one, which are seen in super/hypermarkets, departmental stores, textile showrooms, automobile spare part dealers, drug makers and so on. These devices are connected with computer system for billing and stock taking purposes. Technological advancement has introduced handheld mobile scanning devices which are widely used in warehouses and retail showrooms for billing and inventory monitoring/recording purposes.

Barcode scanners can also be classified into four types according to their usage - CCD Scanner, Laser Scanner, Linear Image Scanner and Area Image Scanner.

Barcode scanners are extensively used in general retail, healthcare, entertainment, warehousing, logistics, tolling, utilities, manufacturing, education and offices. They can be used for billing, inventory tracking, parking management, patient tracking, kiosk, queue management, ticketing, postal and mailing, shipping and receiving, filing, library and student information tracking.

-K Ramanathan

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