Should you invest in 1D or 2D barcodes? Which of these would work best with the demands of your specific industry? Is this the first time you’re hearing about these kinds of barcodes?
Don’t fret. We’re here to discern the differences between 1D and 2D barcodes while explaining how regardless of the type of barcode you use, Insight Works’ Warehouse Insight can work with it – but we’ll get into that a bit further along in this article. To begin with, let’s provide some background on what 1D and 2D barcodes actually are and the types of environments they’re typically used in.
One-Dimensional (1D) Barcodes
One-dimensional (or “1D”) barcodes systematically represent data by varying the widths and spacings of parallel lines. You probably recognize most of these in your day-to-day operations, such as UPC and EAN codes, which are used to label and scan consumer goods at points-of-sale around the world (EAN is a code utilized primarily in Europe).
Then, there’s Code 39 barcodes, used to label goods across a myriad of industries and which are often utilized in the automotive sector and U.S. Department of Defense. In short, Code 39 barcodes enable the use of both digits and characters, its name originating in the fact that it could only encode 39 characters (though in its most recent version, the character set has expanded to 43).
Other one-dimensional barcodes include:
- Code 128
- ITF (Interleaved 2 OF 5)
- Code 93
- GS1 DataBar
- MSI Plessey
Two-Dimensional (2D) Barcode Types
Two-dimensional (or “2D”) barcodes systematically represent data using two-dimensional symbols and shapes, and are similar to a linear 1D barcode but can represent more data per unit area. Some newer barcode types are of the 2D variety, such as the QR Code and PDF417; QR Codes are most often used in tracking and marketing initiatives, such as advertisements, business cards and magazines, and are flexible in size, boast a “high fault tolerance” and offer fast readability – though they cannot be read with a laser scanner, rather an imager scanner needs to be used.
PDF417 Codes are used for applications that demand the storage of copious amounts of data, such as fingerprints, photographs and signatures, and are capable of holding over 1.1 kilobytes of machine-readable data. This makes them much more powerful than other 2D barcodes, and like QR Codes, they reside in the public domain and are free to use.
Other typical 2D barcode types encompass Datamatrix Codes, used to label small items, goods and documents, as well as Aztec Codes, commonly used by supply chains, distributors, and the transportation industry particularly for tickets and airline boarding passes.
Warehouse Insight: Tying it All Together
As we alluded to above,
- Gain real-time access to warehouse inventory and production data on the shop floor
- Perform all inventory and warehouse operations from handheld devices
- Use the same device for any location configuration including non-mandatory bins and directed pick
- Capture lot and serial numbers for any transaction
- Scan directly to sales and production documents
- Use License Plating to streamline warehouse operations
- Easily customize views and menus on handheld computers
Now, while Warehouse Insight is compatible with any barcode, you do need to make sure the hardware device you are using to scan barcodes is compatible with the barcode type – whether it’s of the 1D or 2D variety.
More information about Warehouse Insight and its plethora of warehouse environment applications can be found at