SS Technical Article: UCC EAN-128 Barcode Structure and Application Identifiers

by ScanSource Technical Services on January 18, 2011

in Barcode Printing,ScanSource POS & Barcode,Technical Knowledge Portal,Technology

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UCC/EAN-128 was developed to provide a worldwide standard for exchanging data between different companies. UCC/EAN-128 not only encodes the data, but also provides a method of defining the meaning of the data by defining a list of “Application Identifiers” a.k.a. AIs.

UCC/EAN-128 is by itself not a symbology. It is a standard that defines what kind of data is, and how data is formatted. UCC/EAN-128 encodes data using Code128 symbology; therefore the printing requirement of Code128 symbology applies to UCC/EAN-128.
Structure of an UCC/EAN-128 symbol
A typical UCC/EAN-128 barcode has the following structure:

  • A code128 start character (START-A, START-B or START-C)
  • A code128 FNC1 character
  • Application Identifier (AI)
  • Message encoded
  • Check character
  • Stop Character
  • Termination bar

Application Identifier
Every UCC/EAN-128 symbol encodes an AI to indicate that what type of data isencoded. In most of cases, AI also decides the length of the data and the format of the data. All dates are represented in the format YYMMDD. YY values between 51-99 indicates the years between 1951 and 1999. YY values between 00-50 indicates the years between 2000 and 2050. If the AI numbers contain an ‘x’ or ‘y’, that means a single digit needs to be appended to the AI. x digit indicates the length of the following data field; y digit indicates the ordinal of the decimal point in the data field.

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