Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A very high-density barcode symbology, Code 128 is used extensively world wide in shipping and packaging industries. UCC/EAN-128 is one of its variants. It is used for alphanumeric or numeric-only barcodes. It can encode all 128 characters of ASCII and is also capable of encoding two numbers into one character width, called double density. This feature is evidence of it being designed to reduce the amount of space the bar code occupies, to address the ever-increasing needs of item catalogs. Each printed character can have one of three different meanings, depending on which of three different character sets are employed. Code 128 is the major component of the labeling standard for UCC/EAN-128, used as product identification for container and pallet levels of retail markets.
A Code 128 barcode will have five sections:
- Quiet Zone
- Start Character
- Encoded Data
- Check Character
- Stop Character
- Quiet Zone
The check character is calculated from a modulo 103 calculation of the weighted sum of all the characters.
Code 128 was developed in the early 1980s to address the increasing capacity of electronics and tracking needs for inventory. It has since been widely adopted by industry, and several barcode topologies have been based on it.
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