Barcoding questions - Is there a plain English primer for newbies?

#1
Hello Marc, been a while.

We make class I medical devices, orthodontic elastomers. We are pressing hard to get UDI on our products. We opened an account with GS1 of 1000 barcodes but have not uploaded anything, we're sorting and eliminating errors first. I'm new at this but will be helping the process on the printing of labels.

We're thinking about the 2D data matrix type since our products (and labels) are rather small. When we print labels we open the template, fill in the product cat# and color.

Will the barcodes be generated on our local computer?
Will I put a field in the label where the barcode is and the app will generate the barcode based on other data referenced?
I assume the expiration date is automatically generated?

Is there a plain English primer for newbies at this out there he asked hopingly?

Thanks,
Nelson
 
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chris1price

Trusted Information Resource
#2
How the bar-codes are printed would depend on the software used to generate your labels, take a look at the manual or help files.
 
#3
Thanks,
We already make labels. I have to insert a barcode on each one. I'm just wondering if barcodes are generated be My computer or Online.
If it's local, on my computer, data has to be either entered manually, or pointed to for the barcode data.

Let's say I am packing a widget with cat # 100-001. I pull up the widget label and put in 100-001 for the cat#. How does the barcode get this info? Do I have to go to a separate app, enter ALL the info for the widget, generate a barcode, copy and paste into the label? This is what I don't want to do.

There are people out there who do this I'm sure.
 

Ninja

Looking for Reality
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#4
Howdy,
Chris gave the correct answer...but you didn't catch it.
I'm just wondering if barcodes are generated be My computer or Online.
depend on the software used to generate your labels, take a look at the manual or help files
Your "computer" doesn't generate the barcode...your software gets it either internally or externally...it depends what software you are using.

So...what software are you using for the barcodes? What does the manual for that software say about it?
 

Ronen E

Problem Solver
Staff member
Moderator
#5
Nelson, if you're not tech savvy (and I'm not saying you are or aren't) your first port of call for this would be your IT dept / IT guy/girl.
 

Ron Rompen

Trusted Information Resource
#6
IT may be of some assistance, but my personal suggestion (based on similar experiences) would be to contact the supplier of your barcode printer/marker.
 
#7
We've just registered with GS1 for up to 1,000 individual products. We've not uploaded anything into their database yet. So, we don't do barcodes...yet. I have no manual to consult. If I had a little info on how it's done in a non enterprise company situation I'd be happy.

I suppose this is the wrong place to look for this info. A search for GS1 comes up empty.
 

japayson

Involved In Discussions
#8
I just looked at GS1 website and they say the can "answer any questions". It is GS1us.org

Also I have written software to print automotive barcodes. The thing is when I did it, and I think it is still true, if you are doing barcode labeling then you will have a printer (like a Zebra brand (ZEBRA.COM) printer for example) that has the desired bar coding built into it. It accepts the words and numbers in normal ASCI code and the conversion to print a bar code is done in the printer itself. The sofware, when sending data to print, turns the appropriate bar code on or off, sets the location on the label and bar-code size, etc.. So it is generally firmware in the printer that makes the bar code. There may well be some stand-alone PC software that will drive particular bar code printers. This would give you a "station" where you could make short runs of labels. I found a Google search for "bar code software" turned up quite an extensive listing.
 
#9
Hey Thanks,
GS1 is good for a 10 minute hold, then can only answer questions in a narrow area.
As GS1 said, given our changing data for the barcode, we have to access their database of our products, add the variable information (expiration, etc.) and their platform produces a .png image for us to download and insert into our label. Therefore it wouldn't be produced on the Zebra printer.

I would really like much of this to be done automatically, with an override option. (labelling and packing products later that have sat in bulk storage must have the correct expiration date, not one based on when the label is created)

Thanks to all.
 

ca_moni

Starting to get Involved
#10
---long post
GS1 provides many things: the (mandatory) code for recognizing the company, a database where the "model" code (numeric) can be recorded if you need other actors in the supply chain to use the same information , a website for generate images of the "barcode" - that is, the translation of numeric codes in a condensed form that can be read by a scanner (datamatrix or linear barcode)...
You are not mandated to use any of these solutions/tools apart for the company code - you just need to be compliant with their rules. All GS1 sites have lot of information about (bar)coding standard - they can be a little challenging, but you probably do not need to go in such a detail.
----theory---
Basic concept: UDI information (UDI-DI - fixed - and UDI-PI - variable) has to be represented both in clear and in a format understandable by machines (scanners). This is a usually barcode or datamatrix.
Accepted standards for barcode and datamatrix are created and maintained by GS1 , HICBBC and some others (i don't remember who is the third accredited to FDA) . These consortium established rules for coding information: they make sure that a UDI is actually unique - there cannot be two company using the same prefix, and rules forbid the reuse of already used numbers - and that the included information can be understood by anyone knowing the rule.
For GS1 this is done by writing information in a single string where each part is identified by a leading number which identify the information who follows and specific operators for dividing information.
e.g for the UDI-DI part , if defined according to GS1 standard, the GTIN code (equivalent in role, because it identify the model) should be used : the rule says it is 14-character long, it begins with the company prefix code and has to be included in the barcode with a leading string (01) and no separator at the end. Expiration data has to be included written as 6-digit number (yymmdd) and identified with a (17) leading string - correct name is Application Identifier. And so on.
Then , the string is codified in an image.
So, what their platform does is to take the plain text information you input, add the correct leading numbers and separators and representing the resulting string as an image.
DISCLAIMER: rough explanation, do not base any implementation just on this.
----end of theory ---
Their website/application is not the only software doing this, for sure it gives guarantee about a correct result .
In our company, we have to do a little bit of adjustment but the ERP system we use (quite a basic one) is able to generate images for the barcodes and print them. Other solutions, as said, are to have a separate software (installed in your computer) who generates the images basing on the input data or have a specific printer generate the image basing on the string you provide - you just need to be sure the software/system you use can generate "GS1 datamatrix and not simply "datamatrix" . I think the most flexible solution is to have a software installed because it can have its database or interfacing with another one, and is usually endowed of the "string encoding" features.
As said by japayson, search for barcode software (better for "GS1 datamatrix software") : quite all of them has options for managing data and producing bar codes compliant with GS1 standard, which is a subset (variant) of a barcode codified in ISO standards. e.g. see GS1 data matrix
Obviously, any barcode software cannot know what information has to be included in the drawing if you do not provide them ;)
----end of long post , hope it was helpful
 
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