|TIP: June is Be Kind to Your Bar Code Reader Month
by Garrett Russell
One of the common myths of barcode reading found at the end-user level is the belief that moving the reader closer to the barcode - or the product closer to the barcode reader - will improve read performance.
Well, this is not necessarily true. Barcode readers based on imaging technology (for the purposes of this tip, we’ll call them Barcode Imagers) are no different than the digital camera you purchase from a local retailer, with one exception, the majority of Barcode Imagers are "fixed focus” and your digital cameras are typically "auto focus”. Thus, while your digital camera can adjust to the location of the object on which it will focus, most standard Barcode Imagers do not.
Therefore, the product marketers and engineers design their products with the expectation that the certain sized barcodes will be within a specific range, called the "Depth-of-Field”. The sweet-spot, or ideal focal point, is likely several inches away from the face of the reader. A quick review of a Barcode Imagers data sheet usually provides this information.
In the case of Code’s CR2500 and CR3500, we have designed an aiming mechanism to assist you in finding this the Sweet-Spot. Simply guide the Amber colored square into the center of the Blue bar over the barcode you wish to scan. In addition, both products are equipped with Code’s dual-focus optical system which maximizes depth-of-field thus allowing the user to scan closer to the face of the unit. So the next time you think your reader is not performing up to your expectations, don’t smash the barcode into its face, be kind, move the reader away from the barcode and try again.