Serial Numbers & Multiple barcodes on part

These questions aren’t directly related to Epicor, but I thought someone her might have run into this (or something like it) before.

“Serial Numbers” are technically character strings. So do you include leading zeros? Most systems would see 1234 and 01234 as different “serial numbers”.

If the supplier of a part is to determine the S/N of the part, there is a chance (however slim) that different suppliers of the same part could provide overlapping S/N’s.

My main issue…
We have PCB’s made for us, and want to add labeling with barcodes to aid in data capture during manufacturing. We want two pieces of info to reside in barcodes - the part number, and the serial number.

Normally we could just put two labels on the PCB, sufficiently spaced to prevent accidental scanning of the wrong one. But on some PCB’s were are severely limited on space.

The P/N format is ##-#### ex: 01-2345
The SN format would be number determined by the PCB assembler. Ex: 987654321

A couple of solutions would be:

  1. Have two labels close to each other and have the program that receives the scan result check if it is the format expected before accepting it. When scanning the P/N it must find a -, else reject it. And the SN must not contain a -. This requires customization of the program expecting the data entry from the scanner.

  2. Have a single barcode that contains both the P/N and SN in a single scan and parse it in the receiving program. This would require deciding if the fixed field lengths or a delimiter would be used.
    Ex: Part 01-2345 with SN 54321

    • Delimiter like / would yield: 01-2345/54321
    • Fixed width with chars 1-7 being the PN, and any remaining being the S/N, like" 01-234554321

    Again this requires customization of the program that receives the scan.

Is it a crazy idea to have a single barcode that needs post processing to break it into seperate values?


I would look at 2 based from the 2 given.

Another option might be to get with a bar code scanner vendor that could do this type of thing at the scanner level. Pretty amazing what they can do now. We moved away from the hardware recommended by Epicor (Honeywell) to a Keyence Scanner and it significantly outperformed it.

Not at all. That is what most retail supply chain barcodes do. Have you thought about QR? You would not have to worry about space constraints. If not, look at some of the other barcode formats like 128 that can hold a lot more info.

I guess it depends on who the intended users of it are. If it’s all internal, it is probably fine, although personally I would avoid it if possible. The more you put in besides the thing you’re trying to read, the less universal/useable it becomes down the line.

@jkane is on to something with the QR being able to address your space concerns. You can jam a lot of info into a tiny space with a QR code.

Maybe you can solve your problem of being able to differentiate between 2 codes by using 2 different barcode formats. We use a combination of QR and code-128 codes to prevent accidental scanning here.

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