Going 3D - The Future of Barcodes
State-of-the-art 3D barcodes are set to revolutionise the pharmaceutical industry and play an important role in the fight against counterfeit goods. British company Sofmat – in collaboration with the University of Bradford – has created a 3D barcode prototype which it hopes to commercialise in the foreseeable future. Sofmat’s 3D barcode technology is designed to protect and authenticate valuable, mass-produced products such as pharmaceuticals, mobile phones, sunglasses and watches. Manufacturers are excited by the technology, as it’s extremely difficult to create or copy a 3D barcode.
Unlike 1D and 2D barcodes, which are printed on adhesive labels, 3D barcodes are physically engraved or etched onto the products during the manufacturing process. 3D barcodes are comprised of miniature (nanosized) grooves or lines, which are positioned in a sliding formation pattern. They can be applied to a diverse range of materials, including metal, plastic and pharmaceutical tablets. An advanced Direct Part Marking (DPM) scanner is required to read a 3D barcode, which is barely visible to the naked eye. Sofmat’s 3D barcode technology, which is currently in final testing, promises to provide manufacturers and consumers alike with added peace-of-mind.