When documents containing bar code symbols are faxed, the quality of the bar code symbol will degrade. Documents scanned by fax machines in Standard Resolution are sampled with 204 horizontal dots per inch and 98 vertical dots per inch. Each sample point is then converted to either a white or black value (a process known as binarization). The binarization process converts straight lines of the bar code symbols into ragged lines changing the width of the bars and spaces. If a faxed document is itself resent out as a fax, further deterioration occurs. Each additional fax cycle continues to degrade the bar code. At some point, the symbol may no longer be able to be decoded by bar code decoding software.
The remainder of this article will discuss the issues that should be considered when selecting bar code symbologies and sizes to increase the likelihood of successful decodes after multiple fax cycles.
Linear (1D) Symbologies
Two popular 1D symbologies were examined: Code 128 and Code 39. Code 128 uses four bar and space widths to encode information, while Code 39 only uses two. Thirteen module sizes (smallest element) ranging from 12.5 mil to 32.5 mil of each...