Usually I've found that linear barcode symbologies are used in this environment. The most common are Code 128 and code 3 of 9 (or Code 39).
This is used in a variety of symbologies because, whilst it is still a 1D linear code it can hold complex information and is the code that most barcode scanners read by default .
In January 2010 it will be renamed GS1-128 (previously known a UCC-128 and EAN-128). It is worth noting that a GS1-128 code cannot be read by retail point of scale scanners so use is restricted to traded units.
My customers have found this code to be beneficial when any of the following need to be recorded:
- Use By and/or Best Before Date
- Batch or Serial Numbers
- Variable Measurements
The application identifiers appear in brackets before each data field (brackets are only shown around the human readable numbers and not included in the actual code).
A minimum of one barcode is required on the label but a second is recommend 1) if the code would be too long, 2) if the label is to be pre-printed onto outer packaging.
The technical bit about Code 128: GS1 recommend that the bar height of the code is 32mm or greater, which is beneficial for automated scanning systems, e.g. conveyor belt systems. They also recommend that the minimum ‘x-dimension (narrowest bar width) is 0.495mm.
This code is commonly used for inventory and industrial applications and name badges where the code will be used internally and not for trade or retail. The code can be of any length but it usually contains no more than 25 characters. It can be made up of numbers 0-9, letters A-Z and the symbols: space, minus (-), plus (+), period (.), dollar sign ($), forward slash (/) and percentage (%).