Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Technology
What is OCR?Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is distinct from linear and 2D symbologies in that it is simultaneously machine-readable and human-readable. OCR does not replace the more robust, secure options of linear and 2D symbologies. For traceability applications, 2D symbols offer the highest level of data security and reliability, and linear symbols offer an intermediate level of security and reliability. OCR alone offers the least. OCR is most effctive when used to complement linear and 2D symbols.
Common industries and applications include date/lot tracking on pharmaceutical or food packaging, sorting mail at post offices and other document handling applications, reading serial number in automative or electronics applications, and many more.
HEROJE-OCR is a OCR reading technology developed by Heroje that offers 99% accuracy on difficult-to-read characters.
OCR vs. Barcode Technology
OCR and bar code technology are both data capture methodologies, and each has advantages and disadvantages. The primary advan-tage of OCR is that it encodes information in a format that is simultaneously machine-readable and human-readable, while linear and 2D symbols are only machine-readable. Data encoded in an OCR string does not require a secondary machine-readable symbol. Data encoded in linear and 2D symbols is considerably more reliable, however. OCR has an inherently high rate of character substitution (particularly the OCR-A and OCR-B fonts)—not typically a concern when using linear and 2D symbols, which offer greater data integrity. Check characters are often embedded in OCR data fi elds and then calculated by OCR readers or vision systems to avoid substitution errors in data output. Many OCR readers have the ability to re-try the decode process a predetermined number of times, since substi-tution rates of as many as one of every 3,000 characters are expected in OCR applications. (See Using Checksums to Reinforce OCR Data Integrity.)
OCR Standard Fonts
OCR-A is a relatively reliable font that supports an alphanumeric character set, along with some additional ASCII characters. It complies with the character shape, size, and printing position requirements for the ANSI INCITS 17-1981 (R2002) standard.
OCR-B is less reliable than OCR-A, but its less angular characters are generally considered to be more aesthetically pleasing. It complies with the character shape, size, and printing position requirements for the ANSI INCITS 49-1975 (R2002) standard.
MICR E-13B is used primarily in the banking industries of the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, the UK, and Panama. It is most commonly seen at the bottom of personal checks, where account information is encoded using magnetic ink (MICR is an abbreviation of “Mag-netic Ink Character Recognition”). MICR E-13B complies with the character shape, size, and printing position requirements for the ANSI X9.27-2000 standard.
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