The Basics of Barcodes

The Basics of Barcodes

We see barcodes every single day. We see them at the grocery store, we see them at home and on our electronic devices. Industries ranging from food to electronic to small manufacturers use the same system of barcodes to keep their inventories and products organized and easily identifiable. Barcodes are everywhere and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

How does this in anyway related to FIBCs and/or produce bags? In more ways than you think. Many users of bulk bags use barcodes on packing slips and in their facilities to easily identify product as it moves through a facility and for shipping/receiving. Understanding how barcodes work can be very useful when working with them daily. Let’s explore.

 

What are Barcodes?

UPC barcodes are literal bars of black and white that encode a special identification number to a specific product, item, etc. However, it’s a bit more complicated than it seems.

Barcodes contain 12 digits to form the ID number. There are several sequences of numbers within those 12 digits that correspond to certain pieces of information like country of origin for the manufacturing country. These are used to identify the individual products globally and are maintained by an origination called the GS1. But what is the GS1 and what is their function?

 

The GS1

The GSI is an international non-profit organization located in Brussels, Belgium that develops and maintains the global standards in which barcodes are built on. They are also responsible for maintaining the database of barcodes – which is a large task considering there is over 100 million barcodes in the GS1 system.

The GS1 maintains the database by assigning codes and pre-fixes to companies that apply to use the system. The country codes, company identity, and unique product codes are all contained in every single 12-digit code allowing machines that read the barcodes to easily identify the products and their source. But how does that work?

 

How Barcodes Work

The Basics

Although each barcode signifies a 12-digit number, there are actually 95 different “bars” (black and white) that make up the entire codes 12 different sections. The first 3 bars, the middle 3 bars, and the last 3 bars are all identical groupings that separate the sections of the code (different sections code for different things like country, company, product, etc.). The remaining 84 bars split into groups of 7 black and white bars for a total of 12 sections.

Right vs Left

Although each barcode signifies a 12-digit number, there are actually 95 different “bars” (black and white) that make up the entire codes 12 different sections. The first 3 bars, the middle 3 bars, and the last 3 bars are all identical groupings that separate the sections of the code (different sections code for different things like country, company, product, etc.). The remaining 84 bars split into groups of 7 black and white bars for a total of 12 sections.

The 12th Digit

Although each barcode signifies a 12-digit number, there are actually 95 different “bars” (black and white) that make up the entire codes 12 different sections. The first 3 bars, the middle 3 bars, and the last 3 bars are all identical groupings that separate the sections of the code (different sections code for different things like country, company, product, etc.). The remaining 84 bars split into groups of 7 black and white bars for a total of 12 sections.

 

Talk to Your Distributor

So what does all this have to do with FIBCs and National Bulk Bag. It’s a great question. While barcodes themselves may not have a direct connection to FIBCs per se, many of our partners work with barcodes on a daily basis to track and manage their product from field to grocery store, or manufacturing to end-user. At National Bulk Bag it’s important to us to discuss every topic that impacts our end-users.

If you have any questions about using barcodes in your facility, give us a call or drop us an email on our contact page.


 

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August 24, 2021

Categories: Produce Packaging

About the Author: Laura Heinen

Laura Heinen Marketing Manager at Rapid Packaging Inc

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