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The 2D Revolution

Two-dimensional (2D) bar codes have been quietly revolutionizing many production, tracking and maintenance processes for years. A growing number of 2D adopters in automotive manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and even the US Department of Defense have enjoyed benefits such as reduced packaging, increased supply chain velocity, and improved item-level tracking and security as a result.

In 2006, research firm Frost & Sullivan reported that 2D applications were being adopted at more than double the rate of traditional 1D bar code technology. And the trend shows no sign of slowing down. Today, this growing awareness of 2D bar coding benefits, coupled with important new 2D scanning technology advancements, is making the 2D Revolution a reality. Here’s why.

Why 2D: Benefits and Mandates

  • Data Capacity - 2D codes capture more information in a smaller space than 1D codes
  • Data Portability - 2D codes do not require database access for decoding. Data travels with the item, a benefit for tracking, traceability, and security.
  • Application Flexibility – Compact 2D matrix codes can be reliably read on curved surfaces, making them the symbols of choice for industrial marking and tracking applications.
  • Competitive Advantage – 2D bar coding’s functional capabilities – more data, more flexibility increase data capture efficiency, so goods can move more quickly
  • Mandates – Initiatives in the pharmaceutical and defense industries lead to thousands of new products being marked with 2D codes for the first time every month. An emerging standard for consumer products in the retail industry will set the stage for millions more by 2010.

Why 2D: Technology Advances

Until very recently, scanning technology limitations made it difficult for organizations to add 2D bar codes to their operations. Laser scanners cannot read many 2D formats, and area imagers, which excel at 2D reading, couldn’t – until now - read 2D codes at distances greater than an arm’s length.

With the development of near-far area imaging, however, 2D bar codes can now be read at distances ranging from 6 inches to 50 feet. The same scanner can be used for both 1D and 2D codes. This capability enables organizations to implement 2D bar codes more widely than ever before, and to take advantage of the many other benefits of using area imaging:

  • Read both 1D and 2D codes
  • Capture images
  • Scan labels in any orientation
  • Read damaged bar codes
The Intermec EX25 Near-Far Area Imager is available integrated in the SR61ex Handheld Scanner and CK31ex Mobile Computer.

Supporting Links

Intermec Introduces the EX25 Near-Far Area Imager Engine (video) »

Case Studies

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White Papers

  • White Paper
    2D Revolution: How Evolving Business Needs and Improved Technology are Driving Explosive Growth
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  • White Paper
    How to Choose the Best Data Collection Technology
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