Barcode Quality & ANSI Standards
ANSI, or American National Standard Institute, oversees the creation, circulation and use of thousands of guidelines that impact businesses in nearly every market. Thus, guidelines for barcodes have been established by the ANSI in order to measure barcode print quality. These guidelines and measurements, often referred to ANSI verification, are now relied on as a basis for ensuring compliance because the verification process addresses almost all aspects of print quality that would affect barcode scanning.
The original ANSI “Barcode Print Quality Guideline” was published in 1900 and established a specific procedure for measuring barcode quality, providing a standard measurement methodology and defining eight categories of print quality that should be measured.
The measurements are based on a scale of 0-4 and expressed as a letter grade (A,B,C,D or F), based on the guidelines stated in each category. A grade of C or better should be able to scan on almost any material the first time, but since better quality labels scan more easily, some package purchasers require a grade of B or better. These ANSI guidelines were adopted by the UCC (Uniform Code Council) and applied to the UPC, which required that a ninth criterion be added to check the quiet zones.
The primary benefit of the ANSI verification is that since the standards are so closely related to the way scanners work, they are able to consistently predict the scannability of a barcode. Since almost all aspects of print quality that affect scanning are measured, ANSI verification is the main form of communication between producers and users of printed barcodes.