Datamatrix, 2D Barcodes
The most advanced GS1 Application Identifiers compliant Sybology
Most people are familiar with standard 1D (“one-dimensional” or “linear”) barcodes found on a wide range of retail products. In 1D barcodes, all data is encoded in a series of vertical black and white bars and spaces. In contrast, 2D barcodes have data encoded both vertically and horizontally, allowing for significantly more information to be stored in a smaller size. These barcodes appear as black-and-white boxes that can fit on packages, paper, tags or even electronic devices such as smart phones, making them ideal for:
- shipping or manufacturing applications, where detailed information needs to be stored about a particular part
- healthcare, where extensive information needs to be stored on small vials
- documents or applications where multiple fields of information can be filled in a form with one scan
- applications such as tagging small parts or assets where space is limited, yet a barcode is still required
Cobalt Systems is at the forefront of barcoding techology and the latest standard in the world of data carriage comes in the form of the Datamatrix code alognside the GS1 endorsed linear bar code.
Datamatrix or 2D (two dimensional) bar codes can be printed as either a square or rectangular symbol made up of individual dots or squares, bordered by a fnder pattern. The data is encoded to dots or squares using a pre-determined size with the minimum size of the dots referred to as the X dimension.
Recent Cobalt solutions have aided the sorting and routing of mixed products by adding an internally used coding system. Now implemented with two completely different technologies the Cobalt upstream device adds a marker to the product, which is recognised in final packing to ensure full traceability.
Using the Cobalt Sentinel technology –2D barcodes and UV marking has been used to identify the source of the product and then intelligently interpret the next stage of the process.
The coding enables pallets from mixed lines to be recognised - line specific data can then be identified and used to generate SSCC labels. The Cobalt Sentinel records all these actions to give full database traceability.
For traded units travelling down a combined conveyor, the Cobalt Sentinel UV technology module recognises the pack, then signals the conveyor changes needed for sorting and re-routing to the correct palletising station.
A datamatrix code is composed of 2 seperate parts, the Finder Pattern and the Clock Track.
- The Finder Pattern is essentially half of the border around the code and can be seen as "L" shaped dark line to the far left and the bottom of the code and it's primary use is to define the size and orientation of the code.
- The Clock Track is essentially the other half of the border around the code to the far right and top of the code and is made up of dots of alternating light and dark. This element of the code aids defining the structure and size of the code and can be used to aiid reading of the code if it becomes distorted for any reason.
Just like a linear barcode, datamatrix symbols require a mandatory quiet zone. This is a light are around the symbol which must not contain any graphical element which may disrupt the reading of the symbol. It has a constant width equal to the X Dimension on all 4 sides of the symbol.
Size & Technical Charecteristics
When implementing Data Matrix, a choice of symbol must be made (based upon configuration support, available space on the product type, ammount of data to encode, the printing process etc.) It is possible to encode the same data in either square or rectangular data matrix symbols. The square form is the most commonly used and enables the encoding of the largest ammount of data. Data Matrix is capable of encoding variable length data. Therefore the size of the symbol varies according to the amount of data encoded.