barcode label

Understanding an ANSI Grade A Barcode Label

The Kennedy Group Barcode Labels

An ANSI Grade A barcode label is critical to the flawless operation of warehouse and production processes for businesses. But, barcodes are only as effective as the quality of the printed label product.

What is ANSI?

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting the U.S. voluntary standards and conformity assessment system and strengthening its impact, both domestically and internationally.

ANSI is committed to enhancing the global competitiveness of U.S. business and quality of life by providing a framework for fair standards development and quality conformity assessment systems, and safeguarding their integrity. Encompassing practically every industry, the Institute represents the diverse interests of more than 270,000 companies and organizations, and 30 million professionals worldwide.

What is an ANSI Grade Barcode Label?

A barcode grade is used to determine whether a barcode will scan easily as read by a barcode grader or verifier. The grader or verifier will look at a number of different factors or parameters to determine its Grade.

ANSI barcode grades are categorized on an A to F scale and are graded in 10 individual cross-sections of the barcode, with the overall grade being a guide to the readability of the code. Barcode verifiers show detailed results for each scan cross-section of a barcode. For example, a barcode might grade well in 8 of

9 parameters – a B grade. But if one area consistently grades as F, then the overall grade will reflect the worst case parameter of F. A rating of a “C” means that a barcode will scan on virtually any machine, so many product packagers require this rating on their products. Others may even specify that barcodes must earn a “B” or higher.

There are nine attributes (or parameters) that are evaluated through a verifier scan according to the ISO/IEC 15415 and 15416 specifications.  These attributes and their grades, or scores, are derived from the scan reflectance profile. The scan reflectance profile is what a barcode verifier sees when it scans the barcode. The verifier doesn’t see the barcode the same way a person does so a visual inspection will not reveal many imperfections in the barcode printing.

The results for each of the 10 scans is averaged together to arrive at the overall barcode grade, so if 5 scans get A grades and 5 scans get F grades, the overall result will average to a C grade. Refer to ANSI/ISO Quality Parameters for a complete understanding of the cause of low grades for each parameter.  Based on the particular parameter that caused the failure, you can adjust your production process to improve that characteristic of the code.

Why are ANSI Grade A Barcodes Important?

Barcode label products requiring an ANSI Grade A verification are the highest quality barcodes and provide the best performance. The “A” grade symbol is appropriate for systems when the barcode reader crosses (scans) the symbol only once or is limited to a single path, meaning that there is only a single chance to read the barcode with no opportunity to re-scan such as on a high-speed conveyer systems or automated process. A single disruption in the scanning procedure caused by a faulty barcode can virtually shut down a production line or warehouse operation resulting in thousands of dollars of downtime.

How Can You Ensure You’re Getting ANSI Grade A Barcode Labels? 

Make sure that the barcode bars are printed completely dark and the spaces between the bars are light and not shiny. There are specific, technical requirements that allow label companies with the proper equipment and verifiers to produce ANSI Grade A labels. In the spaces between the symbols (bars), materials such as laminates, polished metals, and high gloss substrates will usually cause the barcode to fail verification due to the reflective nature of the background. High-quality printing plates and printing presses, including prepress, help assure the best possible barcode quality. Not all label products companies are equipped to produce ANSI Grade A barcode label solutions.

Still Have Questions About ANSI Grade A Barcodes? 

The Kennedy Group is here to make sure your barcode label products meet your company’s strict barcode requirements. Contact us today with your challenges and questions. Let us know how we can help match your needs with our state-of-the-art, high-quality, and verifiable barcode label products.