Barcodes: Imaging gains; Ethernet connections; Sato purchase

By Control Engineering Staff March 2, 2006
Up to 16 barcode readers can be connected and controlled with one Ethernet address using Pepperl+Fuchs’ new DeviceServer.

Recent news in barcodes include market gains for imaging-based scanning technology compared to laser-based technology, ability to connect to Ethernet-based networks, and Sato ’s acquisition of Checkpoint Systems Inc.’s former U.S. barcode and handheld labeling systems businesses.
There’s greater regional growth in imaging-based bar-code scanning technology , according to recent research from Venture Development Corp . (VDC). Growth of imagers in the North American market is a trend that appears to have continued in 2005 and is likely to spread across the regional and vertical markets in coming years, VDC says. In 2004, (base year of VDC’s research), imaging technology in North America grew at more than double the rate of traditional laser-based scanning technology. In contrast, the Asia-Pacific region experienced strong growth in laser scanners in 2004.
Although laser-based technology still comprises the majority of scanner revenues across all regions, the 2003-2004 growth rate for imagers in North America suggests that the gap between laser- and imaging-based scanner shipments may be closing, VDC says. In the North American market, imaging technology has been growing at a faster rate than laser technology for several years. However, the demand for imaging scanners may currently be competing more directly with laser scanners in handheld and stationary market segments.
Imaging technology is growing at a faster rate than laser-based technology due to:
• Decreasing unit prices of imaging scanners from broader acceptance for transportation/logistics;
• Improved performance of imaging-based scanners, especially with algorithm-decoding software;
• Increased durability of imaging-based products (fewer moving parts compared to laser-based technology);
• Greater end-user familiarity with imaging-based technology (such as digital cameras); and
• Growing supplier push for alternatives to laser-based technology because of prohibitive intellectual property rights surrounding that technology and increased desire to capture market share in the growing imaging industry segment.
More information is available in “ The 2005 Global AIDC Business Planning Service. ” (AIDC stands for automatic identification and data collection.)
Barcode readers (1-D or 2-D) can connect to industrial Ethernet using Pepperl+Fuchs ’ new DeviceServer. Up to 16 barcode readers can be connected and controlled over one Ethernet address. Multiple PCs or PLCs can simultaneously access and use the barcode data.
DeviceServer supports Modbus/TCP, allowing barcode data to be processed by most PLCs, software-based PLC, and supervisory control and data acquisition software, Pepperl+Fuchs says.
Sato completed purchase of Checkpoint’s barcode systems businesses. The acquisition, announced Dec. 22, 2005, was made final in late January 2006. The acquired businesses and employees will operate under five new Sato companies based in North America, Spain, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand, expanding Sato’s business outside Japan from “$114 million to potentially more than $220 million,” says Sato president, Masanori Otsuka. “It represents a significant step forward in our drive to meeting our 2015 target for overseas business of

—Mark T. Hoske, editor-in-chief, Control Engineering,