In order to ensure that secure shipments remain secure, it is critical to use security seals with bar codes.
Bar codes provide an extra layer of protection and security by allowing shipments to be tracked and monitored.
However, not all bar codes are made equal - and knowing the difference between the two main types of bar codes, Code 39 and Code 128, is critical for choosing the right security seal for your needs.
At Alta Max, we are committed to providing our customers with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their security needs.
In this article, we will discuss the importance of bar codes for security seals and provide a guide to choosing the right bar code for your application.
Why Bar Codes Matter for Security Seals
Security seals offer shipments critical tamper-evident protection, but they can do much more than that. Bar codes provide an extra level of security by allowing shipments to be tracked and monitored.
This level of security is essential for shipments that contain high-value items or sensitive information.
Bar codes allow companies to track their shipments throughout the supply chain, from the moment they leave the loading dock to the moment they arrive at their destination. This visibility is essential for ensuring that shipments remain secure and are not tampered with en route.
In addition, bar codes can be used to track individual items within a shipment. This is especially important for military shipments, which often contain many items that need to be tracked and monitored individually. By bar coding each individual item, the military can easily track and monitor the contents of a shipment.
How Bar Codes Work
Bar codes are made up of a series of bars and spaces that represent different numbers or letters. When a bar code is scanned, the scanner reads the pattern of bars and spaces and translates it into a number or letter.
As the data is scanned, it is transmitted to a computer, decoding the data and displaying it on a screen. You can use the data to track the shipment, monitor its contents, and even identify individual items within the shipment.
Code 39 vs. Code 128 Bar Codes
There are two main types of bar codes used for security seals: Code 39 and Code 128. While both offer the same basic functionality, there are some important differences between them.
Code 39 Bar Codes
CODE 39 is a type of barcode that is composed of 9 bars and spaces. The code is named for its pattern of 3 wide bars and 6 narrow bars.
The basic composition of Code 39 includes one letter (character) represented by 9 bars and spaces, asterisks (*) attached to the start and end of the barcode. Code 39 bar codes also include an inter-character gap, which is an intentional space placed between characters.
In Code 39 bar codes, the gap width will be as wide as the width of the narrow bar.
Code 39 is often used in applications where a large amount of data needs to be encoded in a small space, such as on labels for small goods. Another advantage of Code 39 is that it does not require a check digit, making it easy to integrate into an existing printing system.
However, one downside of Code 39 is its low data density: more space is required to encode data in Code 39 than in other code systems such as Code 128. As a result, very small items cannot be labeled with a Code 39 barcode.
Code 128 Bar Codes
While Code 39 served sufficiently for years, as data and information became more complex, a need for a denser code with a higher data capacity became apparent. Code 128 was developed to address these needs.
Code 128 is known as being high-density linear. This means that it is used to encode all 128 characters of ASCII. This capability offers more compact barcodes as compared to other coding methods.
The Code 128 barcode is broken down into seven sections:
- Quiet zone
- Start symbol
- Encoded data
- Check symbol (mandatory)
- Stop symbol
- Final bar (often considered part of the stop symbol)
- Quiet zone
These seven sections make up what is known as the symbology of the bar code. Each section has a purpose and must be included in order for the Code 128 barcode to function properly.
The most notable difference between Code 39 and Code 128 is data density. Code 128 can encode more data in less space, making it ideal for labeling small items. Code 128 includes a check digit, which helps ensure the data's accuracy.
In addition to being more compact, Code 128 barcodes are also more versatile since they can encode a wider range of characters - helping you to label items more accurately.
How to Choose the Right Bar Code for Your Security Seals
So, which bar code system works best for security seals? When it comes to security seals, the answer is Code 128.
Code 128 barcodes offer a number of advantages over Code 39, including a higher data density and more versatile character encoding. These features make Code 128 the ideal choice for labeling small items, such as security seals.
In addition, Code 128 barcodes include a check digit, which helps ensure the data's accuracy. This is particularly important in security applications, where even a small error can have serious consequences.
Code 128 provides the perfect balance of data capacity and accuracy for shipping and logistics for secure applications like the military. However, Code 39 can offer a more cost-effective solution for other applications.
Alta Max: Your One-Stop Shop for Security Seals
Whether you need Code 39 or Code 128 barcodes for your security seals, Alta Max has the products and expertise you need. We offer a wide range of security seals, from tamper-evident labels to high-security mechanical seals.
We can also customize security seals to meet your specific needs. As a premier provider of security solutions, we are committed to helping our customers protect their assets.
Visit us online or contact us today to learn more about our security seal solutions. Contact Alta Max to find all your security seal needs - from simple to complex, we've got you covered.