Please god let me print some barcodes!
March 2, 2006 3:14 PM   Subscribe

Barcode woes in a manufacturing environment. I am trying to get a Pocket PC device to scan in barcodes and reprint them on a networked printer. Lots more details inside.

I am in charge of a huge new project that needs done yesterday in my company. Basically what we are trying to do is have someone be able to carry around a Pocket PC device, and go to a press, scan in the barcodes from the labels that they need printed, then have the barcodes they scan print to a printer in our label room so our Label Person can scan the new "temporary mask card" into our labeling software and have our label printers print out however many labels are needed.

We shelled out money for a package that is supposed to do this great called Pocket Labelview, but in my opinion its crap. I've spent hours on tech support with them trying to get their software to work properly, but it doesn't even support tabbing through fields, so the person scanning will have to manually click each field before scanning which I feel will bog down the process too much (thats if we can even get their product to work correctly, which is the bigger issue right now)

Does anyone know of a web implementation that is somewhat easy, and reliable that will transform input into barcodes. I can make mask cards for the press that will scan as text and numbers and (normally) tab between fields fine. If I could do this in pocketIE somehow that would really be the shit! If it would take multiple fields then give me a page with the barcodes on it, that I could just send to the printer, that would be fine. It really doesn't have to be fancy, just relieable.. But the clutch thing is that it needs to work on pocket PC.
posted by JonnyRotten to Work & Money (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you're handy with web scripting, there are barcode generating libraries for PHP, ASP, Python, Perl, etc. It'd be pretty trivial to set something up on a local server. The scanners could submit the data to a database on the server. Then you could go to them in a web browser on a PC and access a page with a generated barcode to print out.

If you need the barcodes to print out in real-time as they're scanned, it's a bit more involved but definitely doable, especially on a Linux system.
posted by zsazsa at 3:49 PM on March 2, 2006

It's not hard to generate a barcode with PHP - just make sure it's got gd enabled and install a barcode font, like WASP's FontWare, on the server and write a few lines of code - and it's not too hard in other languages either. Heck, you may be able to get the font from that pacakge (or another) installed on the Pocket PC and just print from Excel. Or you could use other software WASP (and others) provide to do it on the Pocket PC - maybe MobleAsset or something in that vein.

The big thing I don't get here is why the end result of these barcodes need to be re-scanned. Can the label person's software take the input as an Excel spreadsheet? You could scan into Excel and then send the spreadsheet to the software.

(FWIW, the end-of-scan character may be settable in software. I've only experience with Socket scanners but the scanner can append and prepend data to whatever's scanned. You have to do this in the scanner software though - SocketScan in this case - because the scanner itself really just looks like a keyboard to the system in general. This may be different depending on the scanner, though, and probably won't be valid if the software actually does talk to the scanner itself.)
posted by mrg at 4:31 PM on March 2, 2006

The end result of the labels from the pocket pc have to be rescanned because thats just how our ERP/MRP and label sytem work. We use a package called iCARaS which is basically a asp page that interfaces with a sql database to track the labels and generate the serial numbers and all the other goodies that our customer (mostly a major auto manufacturer) wants us to track. So the label person who is printing labels all night, needs to be able to quickly enter all the fields of data on the fly, and there are quite a few fields that get printed on the end end resulting labels.

Pretty good suggestions so far.. Any links for the libraries your talking about zsazsa?

Ideally it would print out a list of the barcodes that were scanned so the label room person can go bing bing bing bing down the list rescan them into our production label printing software
posted by JonnyRotten at 4:50 PM on March 2, 2006

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