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The Evolution of Barcodes

Once only seen in retail, many different types of industries and businesses now use barcodes as an integral part of their procedures. It’s easy to see why, as with benefits like accuracy, efficiency and speed, barcodes are easy to use and can save organizations a lot of time, energy and money. Over the past several decades, barcodes have become a regular part of life, although they have been around for even longer than that.


Barcode systems were originally developed by Wallace Flint in 1932. Using punched cards placed in a reader, Flint invented an automated check-out and inventory system for grocery stores. The technology advanced in 1948, when Bernard Silver and Norman Joseph Woodland used a UV-sensitive ink to encode product information.

Going off the research of Silver and Woodland, David Collins founded Computer Identics Corporation in 1967, and developed a black and white barcode system that could be read by a laser beam. Building off of this advancement, John F. Keidel produced the Universal Grocery Products Identification Code (UGPIC) in 1970. The National Association of Food Chains subsequently developed the U.S. Supermarket Ad Hoc Committee of Uniform Grocery Product Code and formulated a standardized 12-digit code, with the first UPC barcode scanner coming shortly thereafter in 1974.


Today, barcoding has evolved into a productive and efficient tool for businesses of all types and scopes. The system has come down to four simple parts: the barcode printer, the barcode label, barcode scanners and the database.


The barcode labels themselves can be attached to virtually any product so that items can be read by scanners. The layout and symbology (or language) of the label varies among different industries and applications, but any combination of text, graphics or other information can be printed. These labels are produced by direct thermal or thermal transfer printers and can be read by the variety of scanners available on the market.

The final piece of the barcoding process is the database. The information about the product, including description, price and quantity, is stored in a database. After the barcode is scanned, the information contained within it is stored and can be easily accessed and utilized. With this advanced yet simple-to-use technology, it is no wonder why barcoding is becoming a major part of more organizations each and every day.


If you have yet to implement a barcode system for your company or organization, contact a Godex representative for more information. To get started, visit http://www.godexintl.com.

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