Label application instructions - Intergraph Smart Materials - Help - Hexagon

Getting Started with MobileScan

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The label must be properly attached and must be readable. It is also recommended that the packages be marked on multiple sides so that it is easier for people to understand that the Barcode or QR code must be scanned.

Bar code and QR code application

Barcode Manager uses the Purchase Order (PO), Release Notes (RN) number number to generate barcodes and QR codes. The generated barcode or QR code can now be printed on labels and attached to the correct line item/package. The user can update the quantities for each line item and the warehouse manager validates the entries and posts the relevant report when complete.

In general, all bulk items would have labels applied with Barcode and QR code and all tagged items and larger construction parts would have RFIDs.

RFID application

The use of RFID requires other considerations to ensure that the RFIDs are not tangled or destroyed during transport. Using adhesive is to fix the RFIDs to the materials is an option in some cases. In most cases the RFIDs are tied to the item using two tie wraps. Unlike in the case of barcodes or QR codes, the user does not have to see the RFID tag to scan them.

  • RFID usage is recommended in a situation where the item is unique, and the quantity is 1 such as tagged equipment, valves, or spools.

  • For more information on RFID programming, see Appendix: Links.

Marking example including QR/Barcode

All packages must be marked irrespective of whether they are packed or unpacked. The marking must be clearly readable and made of durable materials and should be able to withstand changing climates. The marking must not be put directly on painted on surfaces.

Identification marking

All items and material supplied to site must be clearly marked with a label that includes the following information:

  • Name or Plant owner

  • Name and address of supplier

  • Order no

  • Description of goods

  • QR scan code

  • Material code generated as per the organization standards

  • Dimensions of the label must be no less than YY x ZZ mm

  • The label must be protected against rain and weather by lamination or by inserting in a plastic pocket. The label must be placed in an easy accessible place and so that it can be easy scanned with a scanner

  • If more equipment or material are packed together in one package, each material in the package must be marked with the label above.

Shipping marking

For a safe handling of the packages on site, pictorial markings must be applied to each package as per the EN/ISO 780 standard. For example:

On packed materials, add pictorial markings on both the ends of the packed materials as well as on one of the sides of the package. On unpacked materials, the marking must be placed at the most visible place, minimum in two places e.g. at the top and at the bottom end.

Marking for handling and storage

To avoid damage by wrong handling and storing of the packages shall be marked with relevant standard markings stated in EN/ISO 780. Packages with a gross weight of more than 1,000 kg shall be marked with the gross weight in kg.

Packages with a gross weight of more than 2,000 kg are furthermore, to be equipped with markings for lifting positions and center of gravity according to EN/ISO 780.

Delivery note

The Delivery Note (DN) is made per lorry, per container, or per ship. The Delivery Note is a shipment apron to the packing lists covering the shipment. Delivery Notes must be filled in by the shipping company and in most cases the supplier.

The DN must include the following information per list:

  • Delivery Note no. (QR scan code)

  • Delivery address

  • Supplier name and address

  • Order number

  • Packing list number

  • Shipping date

  • Expected Date of Arrival

  • Signature

The DN must also include the following package information:

  • Package no (progressive no.)

  • Description

  • Type of package (pallet, drum, cradle, loose, box, container etc.)

  • Package list no

  • Gross weight

Packing List

There will be one Packing List (PL) per package on the lorry or ship or barge. Packing lists shall be filled in by the Supplier. The PL must include the following information:

  • Packing list no. (QR scan code)

  • Delivery address

  • Supplier name and address

  • Order no.

  • Dimensions (length x width x height) cm

  • Weight net/gross (kg)

  • Volume (m3)

  • Storage code (outdoor, sheltered, indoor, indoor heated, indoor air cond.)

  • Package type (loose, bundle, wooden case, crate, pallet, cartoon box, parcel, drum, etc).

The packing list can also include the following information as per the parcel:

  • Material code

  • Quantity

  • Description

  • Part no

  • General Arrangement drawing no

  • QR scan code

The Most Common Causes of Unreadable Barcodes

Identifying material through barcodes or QR codes is critical to ensure that the correct components are used in the assembly of a plant or recording accurate equipment data. Poorly-marked or damaged barcodes result in "no-reads" or failures and can have serious consequences and delays.

Understanding the root cause of unreadable barcodes and using technology appropriately to prepare for or resolve these issues is simple to do and it can mean the difference between success and failure in automation. Below it is described potential solutions for the most common causes of unreadable barcodes, including:

  • Low contrast

  • Quiet zone violations

  • Improper reading position

  • Print inconsistency

  • Damage or distortion

The readability of barcodes is determined by how well a barcode reader can read the data stored in the symbol. Barcode readability is impacted by many technical and environmental factors. Although a barcode may appear to have no noticeable flaws, subtle inconsistencies in the code, background, or even the positioning of the code in relation to the reader may result in no-reads. It is a common misconception that no-read results are due to obscure or undetectable barcode characteristics that the reader is simply unable to address. However, the root cause of unreadable barcodes is often one of a handful of common problems that can easily be solved with simple adjustments to either the barcode or the technology used to decode it. Understanding the primary reasons for decoding failures can save valuable time and effort.




Low contrast

To understand a barcode, a barcode reader must be able to differentiate between the light and dark parts of the code. Both element types are essential for proper decoding. Enabling a barcode reader to obtain the precise patterns of barcode elements in the symbol is important. Depending on the method used to apply a barcode and the kind of material used, a barcode reader may be unable to distinguish the barcode from its background, and the result may be a no-read.

Another example of low contrast is lack of uniformity of the light and dark barcode parts. These uniformity issues can make a barcode reader blind to the barcode. In cases where the barcode can still be decoded, low contrast or non-uniformity of barcode elements can dramatically slow a reader and can limit the distance at which a barcode can be read.

Ensuring distinct and uniform barcode parts is the first step to preventing unreadable codes due to low contrast. In cases where the printing or marking method is causing inconsistencies in barcode parts, it is important to adjust the printer or marking equipment to ensure that ink is applied evenly across the parts of the symbol. It is often the background onto which the code is applied that most affects the contrast of barcode parts.

Quite Zone Violations

The quiet zone or no-print zone is the area surrounding a barcode or 2D symbol that must be kept free of text, marks, or obstacles. All barcode readers have tolerances for minimum allowable quiet zone size. This space provides separation from surrounding marks, thus allowing the reader to see the code in its entirety.

In one-dimension (1D) barcodes, the quiet zone lies to the left and right ends of the barcode. As a rule, the quiet zone should be a minimum of 10 times the width of the narrowest bar of the 1D barcode.

In 2D symbols, the quiet zone is the space surrounding the entire symbol. Quiet zone requirements for 2D symbols are prescribed by the Association for Automatic Identification and Mobility (AIM), which specifies at least a one-element (or cell) width on each side of the symbol. For best results with large 2D codes, it is typically recommended that the quiet zone be 10% of the symbol height or width, whichever is smaller.

Quiet zone violations are possibly the most easily-detected and resolvable, as these zone violations are often due to a simple lack of planning for the inclusion of space around a printed or marked barcode or symbol. All that is required is to adjust the printing or the marking method.

Improper Reading Position

In some cases, a readable barcode may receive a no-read, due to the physical position of the barcode reader relative to the code. Depending on the technology, barcode readers may have unique requirements for reading codes at specific focal distances, angles, or orientations (as in case of tilted or rotated codes). Most barcode readers focal distances are limited by their internal optics. The barcode reader’s depth of field (the area from the closest possible read distance to the farthest possible read distance) determines exactly how near or far a reader can be positioned in relation to a barcode to ensure reliable decoding.

The barcode reader’s position must be taken into consideration in relation to the when mounting a reader into equipment or presenting a code to a reader. Refer to a barcode reader’s technical specifications for more information on the requirements and limitations of the reader.

Print or Mark Inconsistency

Variations in the printing or marking method, such as poor distribution of ink for printed codes or uneven pressure in surface abrasion during the direct part marking process, can result in readability issues. When printing and marking equipment, problems such as low contrast and quiet zone violations might occur. There might be several other causes of poor barcode quality or inconsistency that can cause issues for barcode readers.

It is important to properly maintain and inspect printing and marking equipment regularly to ensure that high-quality, consistent barcodes are produced to avoid no-reads. For example, Thermal Transfer (TTO) and Direct Thermal (DTO) methods use wax or resin ribbon (or other thermal media) to apply barcodes to the background. It is also important to

  • avoid ribbon wrinkles

  • verify correct insertion of the ribbon into equipment

  • use high-quality ribbon or other thermal material

  • use quality print heads and platen rollers to apply barcodes.

Damage or Distortion

While printing and marking inconsistencies pose their own decoding challenges, the risk of no-reads can persist even with high-quality barcodes. Barcode quality may degrade as parts move through operations and are exposed to various environmental factors. Harsh conditions may cause enough damage or distortion to the barcode or background to render even the best-quality barcodes unreadable. Damage can range from minor scratches, partial obstruction of the code by blotches, stains, or even debris causing torn or entirely missing barcodes.

Distortion – Several environmental factors can contribute to barcode distortion in terms of shape, contrast, element uniformity, and background integrity. For example, temperature changes in a production environment can cause condensation to form on a code, blotching ink or distorting the background to a point at which the barcode’s elements are no longer discernible to the reader.

The recommended labels and resin are designed to last longer and also have high abrasion resistance so that labels remain readable over a longer period. The resin also makes the labels withstand light and medium strength chemicals.

Other Damages

The environmental conditions to which a barcode may be exposed to are limitless, and so are the ways in which a barcode can incur damage.

Any kind of damage that obstructs barcode or its elements from the view of the reader such as unintended material abrasions (marks, surface stains and so on) or excess material (debris or even mounting fixtures) can result in no-read.


While unreadable barcodes can be highly disruptive to a company’s operations, the causes of unreadable barcodes commonly manifest as a limited set of straightforward issues, including low contrast, quiet zone violations, improper reading position, print or mark inconsistency, and damage or distortion. Once the cause of barcode unreadability is defined, it can be addressed by taking simple preventive measures. The selection of barcode, QR code and RFID’s for the proper materials and equipment in combination with the selected labels, resin and printers will most possibly prevent the issues.

In case labels get damaged or are not readable, the recommended process is to print spare (dummy) labels with a code that is not linked to an actual item using MobileScan. The users have the option to assign a new dummy label and inform the system that the previous code is void and that the item now is linked to a new correct code.