10 Things You Never Knew A Barcode Could Do: Part 1

10 Things You Never Knew A Barcode Could Do: Part 1

Barcode Basics | 12 June 2017

Posted by Lisa Sarvie

10 Things You Never Knew A Barcode Could Do_ Part 1

Barcodes continue to pave the way towards newer innovations making them an integral part of a business’ process from tracking to data management and more. But, do you know ALL of the things a barcode can do?

1. Survive extreme chemicals, water, and abrasion 

Whether wiped with a chemical cleaning agent or submerged for hours, specialty-engineered barcodes can resist some pretty potent mixtures. DMSO, methanol, acetone, isopropyl alcohol, xylene, staining, cryogenic liquid nitrogen, water (yes, water is even considered a chemical in most labs).

2. Live in harsh temperatures for extended periods of time 

Cryo TS 976 with Hand

Whether exposed for a short period of time during processing, or for extended lengths of storage, barcode labels can take the heat (or cold). Some containers and their corresponding labels are stored at -196C for years at a time whereas other barcode tags go through a vulcanization process with temperatures as high as 180°C

3. Act as the vehicle for an RFID tag 

With the right materials know-how, it’s possible to build an RFID chip into a barcode tag. With this ability, this hybrid barcode-RFID tag brings a multitude of capabilities to read, write, and utilize data associated with an asset as well as offer improved real-time information. This hybrid also allows you to scan a barcode without a line-of-sight.

4. Manage WIP 


A Work-In-Progress tracking solution can improve efficiencies and save costs. Barcode labels provide the ability to track and identify all items using mobile devices and barcode scanners as they make their way through a manufacturing process, track a component part from production to assembly, or through testing processes. With 100% traceability, product manufacturers can streamline processes, increase productivity, and lower costs all at the same time with the use of a barcoding system.

5. Complement workflow automation 

Automation reduces the risk of human error, ensures consistency, and allows for work to be easily replicated. Most automated systems rely on (you guessed it) barcodes! Linear or 2D codes are typically what keep the system flowing smoothly and ensure that downtime is minimized, accuracy is increased, and errors are avoided

6. Offers a wide range of sizes, styles, and data density 

Linear, 2D, QR, hybrid barcode-RFID tags: there are many barcode styles to suit varying needs, and each boasts their own set of strengths when it comes to size, data storage, and purpose. 

7. Supports data management 

When paired with a software program to meet the needs of your company, you can control the look of your barcodes as well as use this as centralized storage to alleviate the need for multiple software installs. Other perks to these features include improved quality assurance processes, secure workflows and electronic approvals, version control, and more. NiceLabel provides some great tools for successfully managing data.

8. Offers an opportunity for color coding, branding, and product differentiation 


Barcode users in all corners of the world are finding clever ways to use color for at-a-glance ease-of-use and to increase accuracy of: logos, branding, product differentiation, warning/safety information, and color coding.

9. Ensures legislative compliance 

Meeting legislative and regulatory compliance standards is crucial in market segments like healthcare, chemical manufacturing, and automotive.  Barcode labels help to ensure products and component parts are properly tracked and identified, and can even contain important data in regards to manufacturing date, expiration, and product safety.  Ensure your label supplier has the materials, expertise, and certifications to supply you with barcodes that meet the government requirements of your industry.

10. Permanently bond to an asset to ensure lifelong identification 

Some applications require a more permanent barcode that goes beyond what the average pressure sensitive label can accommodate. Ceramic, direct imaging, laser etching, laser imaging, laser ink removal, and customer molded plug/inserts are all examples of how a barcode can become permanently bonded to assets that require longer term tracking.


The capabilities of barcodes are vastly growing on a continual basis to improve a plethora of industry needs and requirements. From process improvements, increased productivity, and quality assurance to automation integration, improved efficiency and cost savings, barcodes continue to be an innovative tracking solution that offers process improvements to businesses across the globe.

Click here to read 10 Things You Never Knew A Barcode Could Do: Part 2!

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Lisa Sarvie

Lisa Sarvie is the Director of Customer Excellence here at Computype. From St Paul, MN, she works very closely with customers to ensure a positive experience. Lisa’s team works to ensure the customer experience with Computype is consistently satisfactory. Additionally, her team manages customer accounts to ensure all needs and specifications are consistently met.