Monday, 06 June 2016 10:31

The Hidden Technology in your Ziath 2D Barcode Scanner

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One of my first thoughts when I joined Ziath was, how difficult can scanning a 2D barcode really be?

As I soon discovered, it’s much more complicated than you’d probably imagine! Though barcode scanning may seem like an ordinary, mundane task, truth is, our R&D department are constantly coming up with new features to make it as painless as possible for our customers.  Poorly printed barcodes, racks holding tubes at varying heights above the scanning window, needing to differentiate between dust particles on the window and a barcode and the ability to cope with harsh overhead lighting are just a few of the challenges that our scanners face.  Whilst pondering on this I realised that many of our customers probably don’t know the inner workings of their Ziath 2D barcode scanner, so I thought I’d share a few backend features with you today.

  1. Under the rack lighting: Not only does this special lighting ensure that the camera-based systems get a clear image of the barcodes, it also helps eliminate problems that are created when you place a reader underneath an overhead light. You can find our patented technology in our Express and Cube instruments.
  2. Clever software algorithms allow our scanners to:
    1. Read very small barcodes – Our scanners may struggle to read the very large codes found on the side of chip packets, but present a code on the bottom of a tube from a 384 position rack and we will read it for you without a problem
    2. Differentiate between empty rack positions and ones containing tubes 
    3. Be fully customised – Our DataPaq software notifies you if you barcode is damaged or unreadable, enabling you to take full control of what tubes are read and what aren’t
  3. Cryoprotection: We put a unique coating on the scanning window that allows you to read cold racks without misting up the scanning window. This feature eliminates moisture build up that occurs from putting a rack from a -80°C freezer onto an instrument at room temperature. We don’t use heat or blown air so there’s no risk of thawing your valuable samples
  4. Large depth of focus: If your lab is using 2D barcoded tubes and racks from two different manufacturers then there’s a strong possibility that the height of the tubes above the scanner window is going to be different. There’s also the chance that a tube placed back into the rack may be sitting slightly higher than the rest of the rack or even at a slight angle. Most of our scanners have been designed to handle this by ensuring that the captured image we use to convert your barcode into a number is ‘in focus’ over a relatively large range of heights above the scanner window. I have a test rack on my desk containing a variety of tubes and the position of the barcode can vary by around 5mm and we use this to check that an instrument is performing as expected. Some scanners will not cope with this rack and cannot ‘see’ the tubes that are furthest away from the scanning window, but all of our latest instruments can read every tube in the rack.

So there you have it, four clever features of our scanners. If you found this useful then keep an eye out for the next blog exploring the inner workings of your Ziath 2D barcode scanner!

Read 7125 times Last modified on Wednesday, 07 September 2016 13:47