Image-based Barcode Readers Transforming the Logistics Industry

The high volume and frequency of orders placed over the Internet combined with a multitude of available products from retailers make automated scanning at logistics centers more important than ever. This paper will analyze the current state of barcode scanning applications and investigate potential for improvement, focusing on the most common applications performed by distribution centers today.

By · March 28, 2011

The logistics barcode-scanning market breaks down into three segments. At the entry-level, a mix of conventional area-array imagers and laser scanners read codes on slow moving or stationary objects. At the high-end of the scale, fixed line scan image-based systems handle high-speed, multi-sided barcode tunnel applications. Situated between these two extremes lies an entire range of applications that currently rely on an increasingly challenged generation of laser-based scanners.

Retail distribution centers require meticulous stock control, which includes careful management of purchasing, shipping and warehouse inventory. Laser systems provide high read rates with good-quality printed barcodes when labels are undamaged, but they have difficulty reading codes under less than ideal conditions. Image-based readers can provide improved read rates, but their cost and complexity have limited their use to high-volume distribution centers… until now. A new generation of image-based readers is poised to revolutionize the market, offering sufficient speed at a price point equal to or lower than that of laser-based alternatives.


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