Label Technology Expands – PDF417 and 2D Symbology

December 8, 2011

As GS1-128 (formerly UCC-128) label technology expands, the PDF417 symbol is being integrated into labels used on cartons, pallets and containers of all sizes to convey large amounts of data that can be interpreted by one pass of a scanner.

This information allows for specialized shipping, receiving, stocking and inventory functions to be incorporated with an increase in accuracy and a decrease in errors and exceptions. You may need to put a part number, a purchase order number, a vendor number, and other various item data all into one bar code. The problem is how to do this in a way that is easily understood, and will be compatible with the systems used by your suppliers and customers.

The PDF417 is a variable length, multi row 2D symbol providing high data capacity which can be encoded to include 1100 bytes, 1800 characters or 2710 digits. The PDF417 also includes various levels of error correction capabilities allowing for slightly damaged labels to be scanned and decoded correctly using linear scanners, laser scanners or two dimensional scanners.

Symbol Structure

A typical PDF417 symbol contains 3 to 90 rows. Each row contains from left to right:

  • Leading quiet zone
  • Start Pattern
  • Left row indicator symbol character

To learn more about what you can do to make sure you are compliant with your trading partners Contact Us Today!