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Home > City Resources > Electronics > Barcoding

Electronics Industry
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C Albert Vinod Samuel, Regional Manager, Automatic Data Capture Division, Datamatics Information Technology, speaks to on the Bar Coding industry in the city today.

Could you tell us something about the technology of bar coding? How does it work?

Barcode EquipmentIt is a facilitating technology and not a controlling technology. Bar coding is based on Auto Data Capturing technology. The technology is based on reflective optics. The black and white lines absorb and reflect light rays, enabling the identification of a product. To utilize this technology, two pieces of equipment are needed - the Bar Code scanner and the printer.

When and where was bar coding first used in the country?

It started off in the really big libraries like I.I.T. (Indian Institute of Technology), in the beginning of the 90's. Then came the Departmental Stores like Food World, Nilgiris. Next in line were the manufacturing industries - auto ancillaries. Yeah! These were the early starters. Today, the hottest area for the bar coding industry is logistics. The industry is fifteen years old.

How effective is bar coding as a technology for packaging here?

Packaging in India is different from that in the West. Bar coding finds better applications there. Retail selling is standardised abroad, unlike India. It is much easier to find ample applications for bar coding abroad.

How effective is bar coding in checking pilferage, pirating of products and imitation of products?

Bar code establishes the identity of a product. It cannot in any way prevent piracy or imitation. It is for the manufacturer to take care of this. Yes! Indirectly there is pilferage. Anyone who masters the technology can do duplication easily. It is only the manufacturer who has to be vigilant.

Any other uses of the bar coding technique in Chennai?

Apart from its extensive use in the retail market, it is effectively used in libraries and it is now emerging as an effective solution for crowd management. It drastically lessens data entry work.

What is the level of awareness about the bar coding technique in Chennai?

Quite high.

Are there any laws for its implementation? If so, who is officially responsible for its working?

Barcode EquipmentYes! The EAN (European Article Number) based in Delhi. EAN is responsible for allotting an identity to a product. Each product is assigned a number that becomes its identity. This is converted into a Bar code. Recently the government came out with a law for making bar coding mandatory for exporters. Right now we do not have any officials in Chennai for that.

If a storeowner wanted to install a bar coding system in his store, how much would it cost him approximately?

The Bar code printer would cost Rs 1 lakh per unit and the barcode scanner ranges from Rs 15,000/- to Rs 50,000/-. The running costs would come to 15 paise per label.

How is the Chennai bar coding industry as compared to other metros?

On par with the other metros. We do have some big players here. Chennai is an important destination for this technology.

Major Clients?

Bajaj, at an all India Level. In Chennai, our major clients are Life Style, TVS, Hindustan Motors, Ford and Birla Group..

Major players?

Major players at the international level are Symbol Intermac, PSC (for bar code scanners) and Zebra, Intermac and Datamax (for bar code printers). In Chennai we have Intellicon and Bar code India as major players.

What kind of growth do you foresee for the bar coding market in Chennai?

Not much in the next two years. IT needed for the industry, will need some more time to fructify. Also, the cycle period to have business decisions in this technology is very high. It is never less than a year.

Author : Poornima S
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