A Rundown of Barcode Scanners

A barcode scanner is an electronic tool, which could be used to read and output a host of ‘printed barcodes’ to the computer. It comprises a lens sensor, lens and light source for translating the optical impulses into electrical impulses. Barcode scanners are made of decoder circuitry that analyses a barcode’s image data that is provided by the sensor and sends the content of the barcode to the output port of the scanner.

Different Types of Barcode Scanners

There are various kinds of barcode scanners that are based on the technology employed or the housing design.

The Barcode Scanners Classified on the Basis of Technology Used

o Omnidirectional Barcode Scanners: The omnidirectional barcode scanner makes use of a series of curved or straight scanning lines of different directions in starburst form. These scanners generate beam patterns in different orientations permitted them to read the barcodes to these readers at various angles. Many use the polygonal single rotating mirror and a medley of differently fixed mirrors for generating complicated scan patterns.

o Laser Scanners: The laser barcode reader work in the same way as the pen type barcode readers except that they make use of the ‘laser beam’ for the light source. They make use of the rotating prism or the reciprocating mirror for scanning the laser beam forth and back across barcode reader.

o Pen-Type Scanners: The pen-type barcode readers comprise the photodiode or the light source which is placed side by side on the pen tip or wand. The photodiodes measure the light intensity that is reflected back from the light source as pen tip crosses space and each bar in printed code. The photodiode produces the waveform which is used for measuring the space and bar width in the barcode.

Barcode Readers Based on the Housing Design

o Handheld Scanner: This type of scanner is available with the handle as well as the trigger button for turning on ‘light source’.

o Stationary Scanner: The stationary scanners are table or wall-mounted. These barcode readers are widely used at ‘checkout counters’ of the supermarkets as well as the other retailers.

o Fixed-Position Scanner: The fixed-position scanner is the industrial barcode scanners that are used for identifying products during logistics or manufacture. These barcode readers are used on the conveyor tracks for identifying pallets or cartons needed for routing to a different shipping location or process. The holographic scanners are joined by another application to the check weigher for reading the ‘barcodes’ of any placement or orientation and then weighs the specific package. Such systems are widely used in farm automation or factories for shipping and quality management.

o PDA scanner: The Auto-ID PDA or the PDA scanner are basically built-in barcode readers or are attached barcode scanners.

o Automatic reader: The automatic barcode reader is the back office tool used for reading the barcode documents at a speed of 50,000/hour.

o Wireless or Cordless Scanner: The wireless barcode scanner is battery-operated and is not connected to the main electricity. It is used for transferring data to a connected device such as the PC.

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