Frequently asked questions
About the use of the EHIBCC bar code
- What is the meaning of bar code symbology?
The symbology is the type of bar and space pattern used to represent or carry the information. Examples of bar code symbologies are Code 39 and Code 128.
- Is the symbology the Data Structure?
No. The symbology represents the data. The data structure specifies how to create a unique product identifier. HIBC data messages are "symbology independent", meaning that the data message will be the same, no matter what symbology is used to "carry" it.
- What does wide to narrow ratio mean?
This term applies to Code 39 symbols. A Code 39 symbol uses wide and narrow bars. The HIBC Supplier Labeling Standard recommends that when printing Code 39, that the wide bar be 3 times the width of the narrow bar. This is a 3 to 1 wide to narrow ratio. This is sometimes expressed as "3:1 W/N"
- What bar code symbology should I use to label my products?
If you are a EHIBCC Labeler, you must use Code 128 or Code 39. The only exception to this is with small packaging, where approvals have been given to use the Codablock-F symbology.
- Why is the check character called a link character?
The last character in the HIBC Primary Symbol data frame (not the data message) is a modulus 43 check character. This is also referred to as the LINK character. This is because if there is a HIBC Secondary Symbol on the same label, the LINK character is copied into its data frame, to "link" the two together. The relationship or linkage this enables is a security feature of HIBC symbols. It helps prevent data from a different label from being entered into the bar code system.
- Where should I position the bar code on the package?
Avoid using the bottom surface of the package. Do not print bar codes around the circumference of a cylindrical package.
- What restrictions are there on color when printing bar codes?
Do not use the color red to print a bar code. Other combinations of colors may yield unacceptable print contrast. Use a bar code verifier to measure bar code print quality.
- Do I print the start and stop characters in Code 128?
No. Code 128's start and stop characters are printed automatically via the bar code software. The human readable interpretation printed directly underneath the bar code symbol should begin and end with an asterisk "*" character. However, these do not represent start and stop characters in Code-128. They represent the beginning and end of the human readable interpretation. Do not put asterisks into your bar code data frame when you print Code 128 HIBC symbols.
- Should a distributor use their own LIC or the manufacturer's LIC?
Almost always the manufacturer's LIC is used. If the product is private labeled for the distributor then the distributor's LIC would be used.
- Do I use the modulus 43 check character with Code 128
Yes. The modulus 43 check character (LINK character) is always used.
- Where should the human readable interpretation be printed?
Directly underneath the bar code symbol. Keep in mind however that your product identifier, such as the UPN identifier, should be printed more prominently elsewhere on the label also.
- Should the human readable interpretation be the same as what's in the bar code?
The human readable interpretation should include all of the characters in the bar code data frame, and begin and end with asterisk "*" characters:
* [FLAG] [LIC] [PCN] [U/M] [LINK] *
- Is there a minimum or maximum size for the human readable interpretation?
- Is it required that we print the human readable interpretation?
If the bar code symbol is not able to be read the human readable interpretation allows for alternate forms of data entry.
- What does the Unit of Measure Identifier represent?
The Unit of Measure Identifier represents the relative position of the logistical package in the product packaging hierarchy.