Barcodes - UPC and EAC
As the name suggest the barcodes are the 'bars' and 'numbers' which are virtual. The barcode came into existence around 30 years back. Barcode is an optical machine which shows the data about an item that is purchased. There is a barcode for everything from smallest cloth to the largest furniture. The primary barcode in USA is Universal Product Code (UPC) barcode. The first successful scanning barcode started in grocery stores because normally people use grocery stores more than any other things.

UPC - Universal Product Code (UPC) is a specific type of 12-digit barcode which is useful for tracking the trade items in the stores. It is required for general use in USA and Canada. UPC symbol has 2 parts -                                              1) Machine readable barcode
                                 2) Human readable barcode

IMG 0280

The five digit number is the Manufacture Code which is assigned to the manufacturer of the product. For Example - If a manufacture code for Nike shoes is 69993 then every Nike shoes will carry the same code.
Here in the above picture - 47400 is the manufacture code.

The next five digit number is Product Code which is mentioned in the above image. Every different product with different size and package has unique product code. For example the product code of Nike shoes is 33225. So it will be displayed as Nike shoes 69993 33225.
Here in the above picture - 15657 is the product code

There is also Self Check Digit which is mentioned on the right side outside the barcode. It helps to validate the other digits or code like manufacture and product code.
In the above picture number 9 on the right side is the Self Check Digit.

On the extreme left is the Number System Character which specifies the type of barcode.
In the above picture number 0 is the Number system character.

EAN - European Article Number (EAN) is also called as International Article Number useful for marking products that are sold at retail sale. This is the product identification number. EAN are 13- digit barcodes which is valid in all the countries. These codes work for offline distributors and internet retailers.

The first 2 or 3 digits are country code which identifies the country in which manufacturer assigned the code and followed by next 9 or 10 data digits.

Most of the product that go for distribution requires UPC and EAN barcodes.

Uses of Barcodes

  • Barcode scanners are used to scan the product and it is used in almost all type of business.
  • Shops - Barcode helps to track the items and hence reduces the cases of shop lifting. It is used in the grocery shops, jewelry, household item, hardware shops, food shops, etc.
  • Healthcare - Barcodes are widely used in hospitals for the patients, pharmacies, etc for identifying the patients, their medications, their equipments, etc.
  • Travel and luxuries - They are useful to track the airlines tickets and airline luggage's, theatre tickets, Coupons, etc.
  • Shipping and mails - They are useful to track the shipped packages or mails.

Risks of Barcodes and Barcode scanners

  • The radiation that emits while scanning the food items can be dangerous. Food and fruits may lose the vitamins but it is said that the scanner has very low emission and hence may not be very dangerous to human health.
  • Some people started creating their own and duplicate barcodes which may cause loss to the original manufacturer's.




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