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ISO: Raising Your Standards

Perfectly summarizing the motivation for setting global standards, the slogan of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) declares that “Great things happen when the world agrees.” It’s hard to think of a more concise, to-the-point, and meaningful way to drum up support for the project of setting requirements for construction, food safety, wastewater services, and a myriad of other aspects of society. To date, ISO has published more than 20,000 standards relating to nearly all industries, including agriculture, health care, and technology. These standards help keep our drinking water clean and ensure that urban environments and buildings are safe and accessible for people with disabilities. They help businesses grow in a sustainable way and help keep transportation safe and reliable. They even touch upon the notion of proper governance with standards supporting anti-bribery management systems.

ISO is independent of any particular government and its members represent 162 different countries. Composed of a General Assembly, the ISO Council and the Technical Management Board (TMB), gives experts a space to share their understanding of global challenges and work together to establish International Standards that support world commerce, innovation and consumer safety.

So how, you might ask, does this all relate to Omron Microscan? As we described in our previous blog post about GS1, barcodes and the information they represent are of the utmost importance in ensuring that global trade happens smoothly and with minimal errors. By standardizing label layouts, barcode quality, and symbology parameters, ISO plays a key role in the same field as Omron Microscan.

With highly detailed standards such as ISO 22742, ISO works to ensure that barcodes are readable and easy to scan. Barcode scanning is meant to support process automation, and when a barcode doesn’t scan, it negates the purpose of using them at all when workers are forced to stop what they’re doing and start manually entering information. Imagine yourself at a grocery store checkout and the barcode on your can of soup won’t scan. Now you have to punch in the numbers manually, holding up the entire line. ISO works to ensure that this doesn’t happen.

Unfortunately, some product manufacturers pull back on ISO standards and try to get away with subpar barcodes. For instance, they might be tempted to reduce barcode readability for the sake of artistic whimsy when designing labels for candy and other attention-grabbing items. Black and white stripes or 2D elements within a mandated quiet zone isn’t always easy to place on a box that is intended to look streamlined and elegant, or “fun” and dynamic. Electronics manufacturers also face challenges when trying to place Direct Part Marks (DPMs) on individual components while using as little space as possible. ISO helps maintain a balance between product or package design and barcode readability by setting standards for label size, label placement, and the proper way to include text and graphics.

As the complexity and capability of industrial barcode scanning continues to develop, ISO continues to develop standards for various modes of automatic identification and techniques for data capture. ISO standards help manufacturers determine whether they should use 1D or 2D symbols, and how they should encode the necessary information within these symbols. ISO/IEC 15416 specifies how attributes of 1D symbols should be measured and how overall symbol quality should be assessed. ISO/IEC 15415 does the same for 2D symbols. These standards are highly detailed and leave little room for doubt when it comes to producing symbols for any application imaginable.

Omron Microscan manufactures barcode verification systems designed to support compliance with ISO standards. LVS Barcode Verifiers offer fully-integrated solutions that measure symbol quality against ISO/IEC 15415 and ISO/IEC 15416. Industrial manufacturers must work constantly to ensure that their symbols comply with these standards, and Omron Microscan helps them ensure compliance by designing devices that incorporate the latest ISO requirements.

Are you interested in learning more about barcodes and barcode symbologies? Watch our on-demand webinar and find out what makes an ideal barcode here.

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