Maintaining lot numbers, manufacturing dates, and/or revision control data right on the product rather than in a separate database facilitates field maintenance, allows for asset tracking, and improves customer service. Unfortunately, many manufacturers are unable to take advantage of linear bar codes simply because they require too much space.
High-capacity bar codes can solve this problem. By distributing data in two dimensions, these "matrix" symbologies hold more information in less space. Reading them, however, requires locating each printed element in both x and y coordinates simultaneously--something a linear scanning device such as a wand, CCD, or laser cannot do.
Welch Allyn's IT4400 image scanner reads matrix as well as traditional linear or stacked linear bar codes. It will also capture and download images to a PC. Its sequence of operation: Illuminate the field of view; capture the image and pass to memory; convert from gray scale to binary; locate and identify the bar code; decode. Barcode orientation doesn't matter.
Incorporating a camcorder-like CCD array and the processing power of a laptop computer, the IT4400 satisfies the image scanning needs of a wide variety of industrial applications.