name badges

Create name badges with free label software

We get many customers coming to us asking this question. How can we create name badges / name tags without spending a fortune and avoiding printing houses by doing it ourselves? Generally, most of our customers need a barcode on the name badges to be scanned, so they can avoid paper and pen and allow their visitors to enter as fast and efficiently as possible. However, with or without a barcode, here are some great tips to help you on your way.

The number #1 piece of advice we first give is try the free Avery label software if they do not have paid label software. The barcode is optional but this software is too good to be true. It’s so good you will not see it on most label software and label printer sites. My competitors will also hate me for giving this information away.  Why?……because its taking business away from paid label software and the label printers. Its free but has the power of some of the paid software out there.  More importantly, it allows you to link to an excel spreadsheet with all your attendees details. Which we call variable data.

You can use your laser printer to print on Avery labels. Actually, any laser labels will work. You just have to set the dimensions manually of the laser labels you are using. However if its Avery labels, Avery make it easier for you if you have a part # and it sets the dimensions for you.

You can add your logos, artwork and event name. Link the label software to all the names on your attendee list.  Link it to their department or organization as well.

If you need a barcode, then just create a column (I usually make this first column) in your spreadsheet for this. Always start with a number greater than 0. Excel will chop off 0s if you do not format column correctly. So I always tell customers to start with a leading 1 in the barcode. Make the barcode no greater than 5 or 6 digits. That way it looks aesthetically much nicer on the label and gives it some width to scan with.

Also make sure the barcode has white space on each side of the barcode. If you also set the barcode type or symbology to a Code 39 or Code 128……you can’t go wrong! I tend to use a Code 128 as it is a little more compact.

We are also seeing more 2D/QR barcodes being required on name badges. The reason is they hold much more information than a convention linear 1D barcode. If you have attendance tracking software, then 1D barcodes are sufficient. However, if you don’t have attendance tracking software and need to capture much more information in the barcode, then 2D barcodes are the way to go.

Typical Name Badge

name badge

Typical name badge layout

For more information on the Avery label software – Click this link.



Posted on by Track n Trace Solutions | Leave a comment

Wireless Barcode Scanners – There Are Only One Type? Wrong!


Wireless Barcode Scanner

Wireless Barcode Scanner

Searching for wireless barcode scanners? Then this blog article will give you an appreciation of some of the differences there are in the market place.

Everyone’s interpretation of what a wireless barcode scanner is different. For people within the barcode industry, a wireless barcode scanner is something that is portable and can send scanned barcode data back to a P.C. or application instantly or live!

For others outside the industry, it can mean a number of things. The names also vary such as portable, mobile & cordless barcode scanner. Here are a number of different types of wireless barcode scanners that can definitely fit all the descriptions above..

Memory Barcode Scanner – Is a barcode scanner that has no cables when you are scanning. You can only scan barcodes and store this data within its memory on board. It allows the user to walk around and scan the barcodes and then when finished, come back to a P.C. and upload (via direct cable or cradle) the data back into excel, notepad or an open application. These types of scanners are also called batch barcode scanners.

Some memory scanners have a real time clock (RTC) so they can also record a date/time stamp against when the barcode was scanned.

APPLICATIONS – Simple stocktake where no qty is required. Tracking Attendance. Event Management. Any application where barcode # is only required.

Bluetooth Barcode Scanner – A bluetooth barcode scanner is wireless again, but this time, it transmits scanned data back to a receiving cradle via bluetooth. The cradle is usually plugged into a host or P.C. Bluetooth scanners can also be paired with a laptops, tablets or smart phones.

Bluetooth scanners do vary in robustness, size and features. Some bluetooth barcode scanners have the ability to also store scanned data as well, making it or giving it the functionality of a memory scanner as well.

APPLICATONS – Point of sale, Inventory management, event management. Applications where you need mobility and not restricted by the length of cable that comes with a tethered scanner.

PDA Barcode Scanners – Batch – A batch PDA barcode Scanner is also wireless. However they have much more functionality than just a wireless barcode scanner. As mentioned earlier, wireless barcode scanners can only capture the barcode #. Where a PDA barcode scanner can capture the barcode # + qty + location ID # and much more.

A PDA barcode scanner that is batch, can only store the data within its memory. Then after the scanning is completed, you upload it (via direct cable or cradle) back into excel, notepad or send back to an application.

APPLICATIONS – Stocktaking, asset management, event management. Basically any application where you need to capture multiple fields of information and that its not mission critical that the information collected, needs to be live and query a database.

PDA Barcode Scanners – Wi-Fi/3G – The last type of wireless PDA barcode scanner is the type that has communications. Similiar to the batch PDA scanners except they have the ability to communicate to a database live. Within warehousing and many applications within the four walls, PDA barcode scanners are very popular and communicate via Wi-Fi.

Outside the four walls, many wireless PDA scanners are communicating and using the cellular network via 3G.

APPLICATIONS – Warehousing, Inventory Control, Field Service, Logistics, Event Management. Any application where its mission critical that all information is live and querying a database is live for possible information coming back to the user.

Posted in Wireless Barcode Scanner | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Barcode Software – Free Or Paid Barcode Software? Which is Best For Me?

Barcode Software


Create Barcodes Using Free Or Paid Barcode Software

Barcode software is a necessity if you wish to create barcodes. Track n Trace Solutions provide a few different types of barcode software, all having advantages for what they were designed for. Some are free and some have to be paid for.

Lets look at the free barcode software first.

Avery Barcode Software – This has to be the best kept secret on the net. Actually, i have been in this business for over 13yrs and never knew it existed till early 2015. I have never seen this being advertised on any barcode solution company’s website either. WHY?The reason……it not only powerful but its free. It’s my #1 choice now to all customers that do not have a dedicated commercial grade label printer and full version barcode software.

Use your laser printer or inkjet printer and design barcodes on your avery labels. Also link all your variable data from excel spreadsheets to your labels.

Free Barcode Generator – The barcode generator that Track n Trace offer on their website is a great free tool that allows you to create barcode images. You can save the barcode image, email it or print it once you have created it.

You can choose from a variety of barcode symbologies as well as choose three different sizes. These are small, medium and large. You can also include text to the barcode and choose the rotation angle. The image can be saved as GIF, PNG or JPG.

So creating a barcode image is great if you have very low volume requirements. If you are also happy with the three sizes it gives you, then this could be perfect for your application.

Its always recommended to test the barcode with a cabled barcode scanner.

Free Barcode Font – Code 39 – More free barcode software. This is called a barcode font

and is a code 39. This will work with any program that supports True Type fonts including Microsoft Access, Micrsoft Excel, MS Word and QuickBooks.

We do not offer any support on this free font but be our guest to use it. Some customers do have some problems with this because its not plug and play stuff. We also find they usually forget to add asterisk and also pull the barcode out of its tolerance making it unreadable by a barcode scanner.

Its always recommended to test the barcode with a cabled barcode scanner.

Barcode Label Design Software – Paid – When you have volume requirements for label printing, then only the full version barcode software will do as it will also link to your commercial grade label printer. The reasons are based on this:

Full version software will allow you to design the labels but most importantly, If you have existing barcode item #s for your assets/products/employees/attendees/  etc etc…..then you need to link the barcode software to this. You could use the free barcode software we provide but it would be too slow using your laser/inkjet printer and a lot more expensive paying for laser labels/sheets.

The full version software allows you to link the item/name to the barcode item # and print hundreds or thousands of labels in the press of a button. Remember that you would also be needing a commercial grade label printer that has the labels on rolls. Much more cost effective buying labels on rolls for large quantity printing.

We provide many barcode label printers that do come with some free barcode label design software and it will do much of what the paid version barcode label design software does. However it cannot link to a database/excel. A suggestion is to try the free version first and you will soon work out very quickly whether you need paid or not.

Posted in Barcode Software | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Iphone Barcode Scanner

Iphone Barcode Scanner

Cordless Bluetooth Iphone Scanner

An Iphone barcode scanner  can be hardware, or can even be a software app that can be downloaded onto the Iphone.

We will talk about Ipone barcode scanner apps later in this article.


Iphone Barcode scanners will range in cost, performance, size and robustness, depending on the manufacturer and the scanning engine it uses. Determining the right Iphone barcode scanner is generally the first step when considering Auto ID equipment.

You will also most often find that the only way to get a connection between a barcode scanner and the Iphone is via Bluetooth. So you need to look for Bluetooth scanners that are IOS compatible or at least have a supplier who can provide a Bluetooth scanner with a reliable solid bluetooth connection with the Iphone.

A number of questions must also be answered when determining which Bluetooth scanner is right for your application you are using the scanner for. Here is a quick guide you need to ask yourself when choosing a Bluetooth barcode scanner for your Iphone.

1./ Do you need, CCD- Linear Imaging, Laser Scanner or a 2D scanning engine in your Iphone scanner?

CCD – Linear Imager – is a long range scanner CCD scanner. It uses the same technology as a camera and takes a snap shot of the barcode image and coverts it into numbers. Generally the cheapest solution compared to Laser and 2D options.

Do not use this option if scanning in direct sunlight. Also not recommended for jewellery sized barcodes and high density barcodes.

Laser – Generally considered to be best scanning engine for scanning barcodes. However, these days, there is little difference in performance between laser and linear imager, especially if indoors and scanning retail barcodes or barcodes on labels. Choose laser however if scanning in direct sunlight, or scanning shipping barcodes larger than 30cm.

2D – 2D barcodes are becoming more prevalent these days. Qr codes are popping up everywhere for advertising. 2D barcodes are also becoming more prevalent in health-care and event management. 2D barcode scanners can also scan 1D barcodes as well.

2./Do you need to scan just the barcode # or do you require additional information such as date/time stamp etc etc?

If you need to scan more than just the barcode ID #, then make sure the Iphone barcode scanner can also collect this information. A date/time stamp is a common request.

3./Does the barcode scanner need to be robust? What environment will the iphone scanner be used in?

Warehousing and Logistics, and field services usually requires barcode scanners to be subjected to weather conditions, dust, dirt, oil, water and users who are not so compassionate about the hardware they are using. This means they will have an IP rating from IP 54 up to IP65 and drop ratings of between 1.2m -1.5m. For retail environments, event management, office asset management,  hospitality, health-care and libraries, which are all clean and or carpeted environments,  then  IP Ratings are not as so important.

5./Can I use barcode scanners that are a software app on my Iphone.

The answer to this is it will depend on the application. If you are using the barcode scanner app to scan only a small amount of barcodes, then a software app is fine. If its for a commercial application scanning many barcodes, then don’t waste your time with the scanner apps. At this moment…..they are too slow. The reason is they use the camera in the smart phone to take a picture and the processing is much slower than a dedicated barcode scanner in hardware. You also have to struggle with the focus and distance from the barcode before it can grab the barcode. Stick with dedicated barcode scanner hardware if speed is an issue.

6./Support and Service.

Be sure what ever location, region or country you are buying a barcode scanner, that you have local support. Nothing worse than buying a Iphone barcode scanner from a website overseas and you cannot get any support or service locally for this. Also check warranties. Accept nothing less than 12 months. The longer the better!

For More Information on Iphone Barcode Scanners – Click Here

Posted in 2D Barcode Scanner, Barcode Scanner, Iphone barcode Scanners | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Barcode System – No Paper! No Pen! No Errors! Save Time & Money


A barcode system is designed to improve business effeciencies. It creates a paperless enviroment and does away with paper and pen as well as data entry. This in turn negates human error and saves the company time and money. Yet there are still many many companies who still do not have any barcode system in place.

Every time we get a call from a customer wanting a price on a barcode system, it still never amazes me how little people know about barcode systems. This question is like asking, “how long is a piece of string?”.

Lets start this by saying that a barcode system comprises of a number of different components. They are:

  • Application Software
  • Barcode Scanner
  • Barcode Printer
  • Barcode Software
  • Labels

Application Software: This component is the most critical component. To be honest, everything else is just a peripheral that hangs off it. The Application software manages all the data for you. It will use a database for storing data as well as a front end where the user can interface it with.

Examples of application software could be for asset management, inventory control, event management, field sales force mobility and much much more!

Barcode Scanner: Just like the application software, there are also a number of different types of barcode scanners. Make sure you choose the right scanner for your application. Check out some of our other posts in this blog covering this topic.

Barcode Printer: There are many types of barcode printers that will print a barcode. So it really depends on the types of labels and volume you require, that will determine the type of barcode printer that you use.

If you only need a very small volume (less than 200), then consider one of the consumer style label printers like the Brother or Dymo printers. The printers are very cheap. But the consumables are very expensive and usually come on a tape. So only go for this type of printer if you have low volume.

For higher volume label requirements, consider a commercial grade label printer. The labels usually come on a roll. The rolls can be over 1000 – 2000 labels. And the costs of a label can be a fraction of a cent. With a commercial grade label printer, you also get to choose between a thermal transfer label printer and a direct thermal label printer. Choose a thermal transfer printer if you need permanency of print on the label. Choose direct thermal if its not important about labels fading.

Some customers also prefer to print labels on their own laser printers. This is also a cheap way if volume is low and you do not need to worry about labels fading.

Barcode Software: Most barcode printers come with free barcode software. This is great if you only need to create templates and print and create labels that do not have an existing barcode number. You can increment the number with this software as well as print volume of the same barcode. However, should you need to print barcode numbers from an existing database, then you will need the full version software that can create this link.

If you are only after creating one barcode or very small numbers of barcodes and do not have any barcode software, try using the free Code 39 software that you can find on the net. There are also free barcode generators around that will also do the job for you.

Barcode Labels: No one label is right for every application. So its important you choose the right label,, sticker or tag for your application.

Whether the print needs to be permanent or temporary. Resistant to UV & water. For asset management, inventory control  or regardless of what the labelling application, its important to get this right for your application. Check out this label guide link fo right label. Label Guide


Posted in Barcode System | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

PDA Barcode Scanner – Definitive Guide To Choosing a PDA Scanner

CipherLab RS30 Android PDA Scanner

Rugged Android PDA Scanner

Hi there and welcome to our world of PDA Barcode Scanners. If you are about to invest into these pda scanners, then this blog is a must read. What you need to know before you buy, will be covered here. I can guarantee you will fully armed with an arsenal of knowledge to help you make the right deciscions for your company.

We have been in this industry for over 15yrs now and have seen some major changes take place within our industry for these products. Actually i have been updating this blog since 2012 now as technology keeps changing and improving.

The evolution of pda barcode scanners continues to develop at break neck speed, with prices coming down and features going up. There are Dos Text, Windows CE, Windows Mobile and  Windows Embedded Handheld and Windows 10  operating systems to choose from. Android is another choice we are seeing a lot more now for rugged handheld PDA scanners.

Most manufacturers are leaning towards Android PDA scanners as feedback from Microsoft is that that will no longer support Windows CE/Mobile/Embedded after 2020. So for developers, Android is the way to go. Have not done anything with Windows 10 OS PDA scanners yet but feedback is your can deploy across multi platforms with this O/S

I have to admit though, i am a big fan of Android  The reason is they have power and speed to burn…….and….they use HTML 5 browsers. Windows CE and Windows Mobile tends to use IE browsers. IE is getting a bit antiquated and slow especially for using with Wi-Fi. IE has no cache so if you are typing in a browser to search for something, it does not suggest something. Nor does it store any memory if you are moving between access points so it will not store/save the last scan……grrrr. So if you are going for Windows OS PDAs……make sure they have HTML 5 browsers.

Pda barcode scanners get called many names. Within our industry, they get called Mobile Computers, Portable Data Terminals (PDTs), Portable Data Entry Terminals, pocket computers and Handheld Computers. Outside our industry, the customer looking for them, frequently call them a scanner. Which is the first mistake and lesson they need to learn. A barcode scanner can only scan the barcode item #. That’s it! A pda bar code scanner can scan a barcode ID # + capture qty, location #, date/time stamp, signature capture, take a photo, get GPS locations and much more.

Some PDA scanners used out in the field also look and work like phones and are called an Enterprise smart phone pda scanner. See the image above and link to RS31. Very popular form factor – RS31 Link

So where do we start? Well…..every time a new customer comes to us, the questions are pretty much all the same. But the answers can be quite varied. So we start by making the customer understand that there are two components involved here. Hardware and software. One cant work without the other. We start by asking?

1. What is the application? Asset Management, Inventory Control – Stocktaking, Fields Sales Force Mobility, Job Tracking….etc etc?

Its important to identify the application so we can lay the foundations for what type of hardware and software will be required.

2. Can the data collected, be stored on the PDA barcode scanner and uploaded later into a cradle?

Collecting data and storing it on the PDA scanner is called batching. Or batch scanner. The pda scanner after scanning, has to be put into a communication cradle where the data can then be uploaded into their system. It is generally considered to be the cheapest solution when considering PDA scanners as the integration is usually quite low in cost compared to PDA scanners that have to communicate via Wi-Fi/GPRS/3G.

3. Is it mission critical that you need information live via Wi-Fi or 3G network to send and receive data? If the pda barcode scanner requires a live interface, then how are you going to communicate to your back end?

If information needs to be live and you need to query a database, then you need either a Wi-Fi or 3G/4G capability with the PDA scanner. Here are a couple of typical scenarios for wireless connectivity.

1. W-Fi – 802.11 a/b/g/n. – The PDA will need Wi-Fi capabilities for it to utilise the existing wireless network to communicate. There are also a number of ways the PDA is connected back thru the Wi-Fi network.

  • Using the browser on the PDA to connect to a web based application.
  • Building a thin client application that will reside on the PDA scanner so when user clicks icon/app on PDA scanner, it connects back to host.
  • Running a telnet client on the PDA. Still seeing a lot of legacy systems such as AS400 systems running telnet servers. Particularly very large companies. These systems are rock solid and never experience the problems that Windows based systems face. The PCs become a dumb terminal. So does the PDA scanner.
  • Remote Desktop Connection.

We are also seeing more companies utilise PDAs that have 3G/4G capabilities. Buying a Sim card and inserting it into PDA scanner to send data as well as using as a mobile phone. Primarily 3G/4G connectivity is used out in the field but we are also seeing this used within the four walls if there is no existing wireless network.

4. Do you have to develop software for the application? This is always a very important consideration when looking at providing a data collection solution and choosing which type of hardware is best for your application.

If you only need the data to be collected (batch solution) and uploaded back into excel or a designated location folder on the network, you might be able to use some great free data collection software tools available out there. It might save you thousands of dollars for software development.

We use a tool called Forge Application Generator. It helps us develop simple data collection applications such as multiple fields that the user will be prompted to scan and collect data for. It also allows you to create menus for multiple applications. The whole point is its free!!! You don’t need to be a software developer (mucho deniro saved $$$) and you can upload back into excel or as a text file into a designated location on the customers PC or network. How cool is that?

However, if you have more complex data collection requirements, then forget these tools. If the data collected, needs to uploaded seamlessly into a database, then an application has to be written for this. Most developers program in C++ or .Net these days so stick to Windows based PDA scanners. There are also many developers coming out for Android based O/S PDA scanners. Stay away from Dos text propriety terminals as the code has to be written in C or Basic. Too slow. Programmers are almost all dead that write in that language… Well late 50s, early 60s. And from experience, everything just seems to take longer to get an application written. With the tools available like Visual Basic, the developers are much more proficient in programming, so costs come down! Costs for developing for Android devices maybe much lower as Android is open source. Definitely worth checking out!

There are also a few rapid development tools out there worth checking out. One is Kalipso. Very little if any coding is required. You will need training and costs for license fees but a great tool for developing your mobile applications for Windows or Android PDAs.

5. Already have Software and Want the PDA scanner to talk to it? For a PDA scanner to talk to your software, our best advice is that you need to talk to your software vendor first. Only they can provide you this answer. You do not want companies other than your software vendor, trying to bolt on third party applications and messing up your databases.

Your software vendor will need to have developed an application that can be loaded on to your PDA scanner, so your PDA scanner can talk directly with its database.

If it’s a web based application, then all the PDA scanner needs to do is use its browser. Hopefully the application will be mobile responsive so the correct screen size can be viewed and the data easily seen on the screen without having to scroll.

If your software vendor does not have anything created (which is usually the case) then its like reinventing the wheel and could be quite costly. Most companies in this situation decide to go for a standalone inventory control solution where the PDA scanner can talk to its database. Or go for a batch solution (as mentioned in point 4).

6. What is the environment that the PDA scanner is to be used? Consider the environment that the PDA barcode scanner is going to be used in. Look at the technical brochure for the PDA and check out the drop rating and IP rating. The higher the drop rating and IP rating, means the higher the robustness. Usually also more expensive. For warehousing applications, , go for a minimum of 1.5m drop rating and minimum of IP54. For applications outside the four walls, the higher the IP rating the better. Seeing devices out there with IP64 and IP65 so very resilient to dust, dirt and water.

For clean carpeted environments, you can get away with lower IP ratings and drop ratings.

7. Mobile Device Management (MDM) – If you are looking at acquiring 10-15+ x PDAs, then you might want to consider looking at a MDM to manage them all. This will save you a lot of time and money.

  • Errors can be resolved on PDA without having to bring them back to head office.
  • Updates on application can be made over air – cellular network.
  • Monitor status of where driver/employee is.
  • Advise user that battery power is almost dead.
  • Update route
  • Much much more.

A popular MDM our customers are using is Soti MobiControl

7. Local Service & Support? Do not invest in expensive hardware like PDA barcode scanners if you cannot get local service and support. You are asking for trouble if you go and buy your hardware from overseas to save a few dollars. In the long run, it could cost you much much more doing this.

To finish off this blog we would like to point out one more critical piece of information. Probably the biggest mistake people/companies make when choosing a PDA barcode scanner. Some customers come to us looking for a PDA scanner and then later go looking for their application software. They have got it all backwards. Biggest mistake is investing in the hardware first and then trying to tie it into the application software later on. Find the right application software for your business first. Make sure it also has capabilities of being able to communicate with a PDA scanner. This way you save thousands on having to write any integration software for the PDA scanner. The application software will usually have a client piece of software that loads on to the PDA scanner, giving it the capabilities to sync with the applications software database.

We really hope this blog helps you in your decisions and saves you making any costly mistakes. Look forward to hearing back if this was of any help to you! Feel free to also reach out if you require any further information –


Posted in PDA Barcode Scanner | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Stocktake Scanner – PDA Application Software

Stocktake Scanner

Will You pay thousands for your stocktake PDA application software?

There are many types of stocktake scanners available. They can differ by the operating system they use to the way they communicate back to their host or system they are sending data to.

A stocktake scanner is basically a PDA barcode scanner. It has the ability to not just scan a barcode, but also collect multiple fields of information such as quantity, location, serial #, date/time stamp and more. The reason that it can do this is because a stocktake barcode scanner will use some sort of PDA application software to program it to carry out the stocktake. This application software can range from being free to costing thousands of dollars.

Since i always try and save my customers any software costs for development, i try and target the free PDA application software first.

If we only need to collect the scanned data during a stocktake, and just have to get that information down into excel or even as a csv file/text file into a designated location, then you might be able to save yourself thousands of dollars. The reason is that some manufacturers of PDA scanners offer free development tools.

These development tools can allow you to program the stocktake scanner to capture data such as item barcode #, quantity, location, date/time stamp etc and even more. You can even load a stock list on your stocktake scanner with these free development tools.

Many companies are more than happy with this outcome and can then send this scanned data from excel straight into their back-end systems. We use a tool called the Forge Application Generator. As mentioned, there are other development tools around but we are very happy with the outcome using this tool and so are our customers.

For other customers though, this may not be sufficient. The reason could be is that they are doing frequent rolling stocktakes. Maybe even once a month. One recent customer we came across does stocktakes once a week. So having to export data from excel into your back-end system is too manual and laborious if you have to do this that frequently. You really need a solution where you can do a stocktake and it uploads seamlessly back into your system when you upload the data.

If you are one of those customers, then either a program has to be written for the stocktake scanner, which could generally costs several thousand dollars. Sometimes, it may also be worthwhile for the customer to contact the software vendor to see if a solution has already been written for the stocktake scanner to interface into it. If not, as mentioned, be prepared to pay several thousand dollars +.

Some customers also have no warehouse management system (WMS) at all. Only an accounting system…..which is not a WMS. It maybe worthwhile checking out a WMS that has a stocktake capability. Look for a WMS that has the capabilities to communicate with a stocktake scanner. Could be a much cheaper option than re-inventing the wheel and getting application software developed. The added bonus also is that you will be able to use the stocktake scanner for scanning goods in (receipting)….scanning goods out (Dispatch) and even picking orders.



Posted in Stocktake Scanner | Tagged | 3 Comments

2D Barcode Scanner

These days, 2D barcode scanners are becoming more and more prevalent. The main reason being is that you can pack so much more information into a 2D barcode than you can with your conventional 1D linear barcodes.

A 1D barcode typically is between 8-15 characters. A 1D barcode is also just a number that acts as a link back to a record where other data is available for this barcode #. Where as a 2D barcode is almost a database in itself with up to 2000 characters that can be stored in one single 2D barcode.

There are also many types of 2D barcodes (barcode symbologies)that are being used. PDF417, MicroPDF417, Composite, RSS, TLC-39, Datamatrix, QR code, Micro QR code, Aztec, MaxiCode, and Postal Codes including Australian Postal barcodes ( also called 4 state barcodes).

When choosing a 2D barcode scanner, think about the application its going to be used for. The reason being is that there are multiple types of 2D scanners available. These are cabled, cordless and PDA styles.

Cabled: The 2D scanner will be connected by an interface cable back to into your host. This is the cheapest and most cost effective solution if you can bring the 2D barcode to the scanner.

Cordless: The cordless 2D scanner will be connected via bluetooth or RF, back to your host. A much better option if you need the freedom to scan 2d barcodes and not be restricted by a cable. Cordless 2D bar code scanners will be more expensive than cabled 2D bar code scanners and will range in price depending on coverage (10m – 90m) and robustness you wish to acquire.  A cordless 2D bar code scanner can also have memory capabilities. This is a great option if you need to work outside the operating range of the device.

PDA: We call these mobile computers in our industry. A PDA scanner will give you a lot more programming options where you also need to scan other fields of data that the 2D barcode cannot give you.

Applications For 2D Bar code scanners.

Healthcare: The healthcare industry constantly faces various challenges. Doctors and nurses hold patients’ lives in their hands. They also have heavy workloads and long working hours but human errors are unacceptable. So barcode scanners are being used more prevalent now to overcome this human error.

More and more information needs to be embedded within the 2D barcode of medicines dispatched. Such as manufacturer, batch #, expiry date etc etc. This is also to help combat counterfeit medicines which are becoming an increasingly serious problem. It is also challenging to keep medical records up-to-date and maintained at all times. Any wrong data can have serious consequences for the patient – patients can easily be given fake drugs or repeated dosages of medicine.

Event Management: 2D barcodes are becoming quite frequently used for event management. Once again, the benefits of 2D barcodes are at play here. When a 2D barcode is scanned, you can be capturing the visitors name, company, address, phone number, email address, interests, demographics…..etc etc. Very valuable data for event organisers and marketing departments.

Consumer Advertising – With the popularity of smart phones, dedicated 2D barcode scanners are not chosen for scanning the advertising qr barcodes. Why would they be when most people these days have a smart phone to do this. However, when qr codes are sent to smart phones for events, these qr barcodes have to be scanned. And in any commercial application, where there are more than 20-30 qr codes to be scanned, a dedicated 2d barcode scanner wins for speed and ease of use.

Lastly, a 2d barcode scanner can scan not just 2d barcodes but also 1D barcodes. Where as a conventional 1d barcode scanner can only scan 1D barcodes. It cannot scan 2d barcodes.

Posted in 2D Barcode Scanner | 2 Comments

Barcode Scanner

barcode scanner

Typical Barcode Scanner

Which Type Of Barcode Scanner Do I Choose For My Application?

A barcode scanner  will range in cost, performance, size and robustness, depending on the applications that they are required for. Determining the right barcode scanner is generally the first step when considering Auto ID equipment.
A number of questions must be answered when determining which scanner is right for you. Here is a quick guide you need to ask yourself when choosing a barcode scanner.
1./ Do you need CCD, Linear Imaging, Laser Scanner or a 2D scanner?
CCD – is a contact scanner. Great for low traffic scanning and generally very low in cost.
Linear Imager – is a long range scanner. Great when you need to scan much quicker. Will scan much wider barcodes than a CCD scanner. Can sometimes be a more cost effective solution to Laser.
Laser – Generally considered to be best scanning engine for scanning barcodes. However, these days, there is little difference in performance between laser and linear imager, especially if indoors and scanning retail barcodes or barcodes on labels. Choose laser however if scanning in direct sunlight, or scanning shipping barcodes larger than 30cm.
2D – 2D barcodes ares becoming more prevalent these days. Qr codes are popping up everywhere for advertising. 2D barcodes are also becoming more prevalent in health-care and event management. 2D barcode scanners can also scan 1D barcodes as well.
2./Does the barcode scanner need to be mobile or will it be a cabled (tethered) scanner?
Think about your application and will it be sufficient to scan all items close to your host/P.C. Most cabled scanners have a cable length of around 1.8m – 2m. If you require a further distance than this, then look at a cordless barcode scanner  for more freedom. Cordless scanners in the industry can range from scan distances of 10m and up to 100m.
2./Do you need to scan just the barcode # or do you require additional information such as quantity, location #, user ID #, serial #, date/time stamp etc etc?
If you need to scan more than just the barcode ID #, then you need a pda barcode scanner. Pda barcode scanners can be programmed for a wide range of applications such as stocktaking (Bin #, item #, qty, date/time). For asset managment, they usually like them to be programmed for location ID #, asset ID # and date/time. They usually have a screen and keyboard so the user is prompted to scan and collect data for that record.
3./Does the barcode scanner need to be robust? What environment will the scanner be used in?
Warehousing and Logistics, and field services usually requires barcode scanners / pda barcode scanners to be subjected to weather conditions, dust, dirt, oil, water and users who are not so compassionate about the hardware they are using. This means they will have an IP rating from IP 54 up to IP65 and drop ratings of between 1.2m -1.5m. For retail environments and clean and carpeted environments, such as hospitality, health-care and libraries, then  IP Ratings are not as so important.
4./Support and Service.
Be sure what ever location, region or country you are buying a barcode scanner, that you have local support. Nothing worse than buying a scanner from a website overseas and you cannot get any support or service locally for this. Also check warranties. Most decent barcode scanners have 3-5yrs warranty. For pda barcode scanners, the standard is 12 months but you can also get extended warranties if required for most reputable manufacturers.

Posted in Barcode Scanner | 4 Comments

Stocktake Scanner

Our feedback from customers are that a stocktake scanner can save up between 60%- 90% in time and labour costs as well as eradicate errors.

The reason is that with the traditional paper and pen method, you have groups of two people. Once to count and one to record and write down. Then you have one person to hopefully decipher the recorders writing and do data entry into the system. With a scanner, its 1 x person who scans and same person that records by counting and entering via keyboard on stocktake scanner. As for data entry, there is none. Its all uploaded in seconds via the stocktake scanner without keyboard errors.

The stocktake scanner can be programmed to collect multiple fields of data or information. Such as barcode item #, location ID #, User ID #, Qty and even date/time. They can even be programmed to store a lookup table on the stocktake scanner. A lookup table is information of the product such as description, weight, packaging, unit #, qty in system etc etc. Some customers like this as it helps them identify the item when they scan it.

If you need the data scanned from the stocktake scanner, to go directly into your software, you will have to have a program written to do this. This option could cost several thousand dollars plus. If you are renting stocktake scanners and you are only doing stocktakes once or twice a year, then this is not practical to purchase.

Purchasing stocktake scanners make sense where you have several rolling stocktakes each year and where you can also use the stocktake scanners for other inventory control applications such as picking orders, receipting and dispatching. If this is you…..then you may want to look and make sure the stocktake scanner has a bridge or PDA application software that gives you the ability to upload scanned data straight into your software’s database.

We find in most cases however that most customers are happy to settle for dumping the data into excel or down as a simple text file into their P.C. There are some great free tools we use that can save thousands for the customer and allow you to program the scanner without having to be a software developer.

Once the stocktake information is collected, the stocktake scanner is brought back to a charging communication cradle where the information is uploaded back into the P.C.

Check out some of our other blogs relating to Application software for Stocktake scanners – AKA known as PDA Barcode Scanners. Also, another great link to read is our Definitive guide to PDA Barcode Scanners.

We hope these blogs help you in your journey.



Posted in Stocktake Scanner | Tagged , , | 2 Comments