Using Vision Sensors to Conquer 1D and 2D Barcode Reading Applications

As many industries trend towards the adoption and use of two-dimensional barcodes and readers, the growth in popularity, acceptance of use, and positive track record of these 2D code readers offer a better way to track data. Vision-sensing code readers have many benefits, such as higher read rate performance, multi-directional code detection, simultaneous multiple codes reads, and more information storage.

While traditional red line laser scanners or cameras with decoding and positioning software are commonly used to read barcodes, there are three main types of barcodes: 1D, 2D, and QR codes. Each type has different attributes and ways of reading.

1D barcodes are the traditional ladder line barcodes typically seen in grocery stores and on merchandise and packaging. On the other hand, 2D Data Matrix codes are smaller than 1D barcodes but can hold quite a bit more information with built-in redundancy in case of scratches or defacement. QR codes, which were initially developed for the automotive industry, can hold even more information than Data Matrix codes, were initially developed for the automotive industry to track parts during vehicle manufacturing and are now widely used in business and advertising.

There are various types of vision sensors for reading different types of barcodes. QR codes are often used in business and advertising, while micro QR codes are typically seen in industrial applications such as camshafts, crankshafts, pistons, and circuit boards. Deciphering micro QR codes typically require an industrial sensor.

The need to easily track products and collect information about their whereabouts has been a long-standing problem in manufacturing and industrial automation. While one-dimensional barcodes have been the traditional solution, advances in one-dimensional code reading continue to improve. New hardware, code readers, and symbology, however, have made an emergence, and new image-based scanners are becoming a popular alternative for data capture solutions.

In summary, vision sensors are becoming increasingly important in 1D and 2D barcode reading applications due to their higher read rate performance, multi-directional code detection, simultaneous multiple codes read, and more information storage. As the need for tracking products and collecting information about their whereabouts continues to grow, industries will benefit from the use of vision sensors to improve efficiency and accuracy.

3 Replies to “Using Vision Sensors to Conquer 1D and 2D Barcode Reading Applications”

  1. Thanks for the detailed response! If you happen to get any physical time measurements to share for comparisons, please do!

  2. Good read.
    What are some nominal values describing the following values between both the traditional readers and vision sensor readers? read rates, range of direction for multi-directional code detection, number of simultaneous multiple codes reads, and typical storage size for information?

    1. Kate Shepherd says:

      That’s a pretty in-depth question haha. Here are my thoughts on each point:

      Read Rates. Highly dependant on symbology, but we typically see improved read rates with vision-based readers because the algorithms are able to handle damaged codes better. For maximum read rate and robustness 2D codes offer better error correction and only vision-based readers can read these 2D codes. 

      Multi-code. Omni-raster laser scanners can handle omnidirectional 1D codes but only vision-based readers can handle omnidirectional 2D codes and mixed symbologies. 2D codes also provide the maximum data size. For sure we see vision-based readers as superior in almost all aspects of code reading. The only real advantage to laser scanners today is their ability to handle extreme depth in some niche applications.


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