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How Bar Code Scanners Impact Scanning Distance

Bar code scanners are critical to decoding a bar code’s symbology and transmitting the information to a database. With most bar code scanners, a laser or light sensors read the bar code label and transmit the information. But all bar code scanners are not created equal. The type of scanner you need depends on many factors, including what type of symbology you’re scanning and the distance from which the scanner must read.
Scan distance can vary greatly depending on the model and type of bar code scanner used. We recently performed some testing of standard and long-range 2-D (data matrix) bar code scanners to discover the minimum and maximum scan distance.  The data matrix size was based on 13 alphanumeric characters encoded.
The testing referenced in the chart below was based on standard Metalphoto® material.  The scanner used during this test was a Symbol DS3608.
bar code scanning distance
The testing referenced in the chart below was based on standard Metalphoto material.  The scanner used during this test was an Intermec SR61.
long range bar code scanner
The scan distance remained the same for both square and rectangular data matrix bar codes.
data matrix bar code scanner
 
As you can see, scan distances increase with specialized bar code scanners.  Be sure you select a scanner that can read your symbology and is capable to scan your specified distances.  If you need to increase your scan distance, consider using a retro-reflective polyester material like our Long-Range Retro-Reflective Label.  For help determining your symbology and scan distance, contact us.

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