Laser Scanners versus Imagers in the Warehouse?
  • Jim Southern

Laser Scanners versus Imagers in the Warehouse?



Scanning barcodes is a fundamental requirement for most warehouses and distributions centres, and with RFID never really joining the party so to speak, barcode scanning is likely to still be the leading technology used for many years to come.

Normally the barcode scanner is part of an integrated handheld WiFi terminal which is part of an overall WMS system using smart software and wireless technology. However, the choice of terminal is becoming ever more important as more and more manufacturers are putting item codes, expiry dates and serial numbers in 2D barcodes. The advantage of course is that it only requires one scan to capture and validate all the information it contains.

When most people think of a barcode scanner, they think of the traditional laser scanner which outputs a laser beam (red line). An oscillating mirror moves the beam back and forth across the traditional 1D barcode to create a red laser line to read the barcode using reflected light back to the reader.

​Another approach to reading barcodes is using imagers, which have been around for some time but in recent years the technology has really matured making imagers suitable for industrial warehouse environments. Imagers work like a camera to take a picture of the barcode, translating the image into a digital form and decoding the data into information used by the terminal and the WMS Software.


Modern imagers do a far better job of reading barcodes, they will read barcodes faster than a laser scanner and can better handle poor quality and damaged barcodes. Imagers are also better equipped to adjust to the conditions often found in warehouses, poor lighting, damaged labels, and faint or faded barcodes. All in all, it makes the tasks of the warehouse worker easier and carried out with less frustration and stress.

Datalogic have recently brought out the Falcon X3+ (LRI) Long Range Imager Handheld Terminal which we have implemented at some of our clients sites alongside our Dexterity WMS Software with fantastic results. The improved speed of barcode scanning and readability coupled with the Dexterity WMS software’s capability to manage and understand the multiple data contained in 2D barcodes have revolutionised many of the warehouse processes resulting in positive comments and take up from the warehouse operators.


The big advantage of the new Falcon X3+ LRI scanning terminal is that it can read both 1D and 2D barcodes so you're covered if you have suppliers who use both barcode technologies. Additionally, the imager technology in the Falcon X3+ can read barcodes "near and far" so they are suitable for both on foot workers for item and case picking and fork truck workers wanting to scan pallet labels from their seat in the cab. It's a single device that can handle many tasks so you don't need to allocate different terminals to different jobs and tasks.

So even if you don't use 2D barcodes the Falcon X3+ is a smart choice, it reads 1D barcodes better than a laser scanner and you're covered should your suppliers suddenly introduce 2D barcodes into your supply chain.

Dexterity WMS together with the Datalogic Falcon X3+ LRI is powerful combination for any warehouse, improving operational performance.

We have a wealth of experience in implementing our specialist Dexterity WMS Systems to help clients realise the benefits of a smart Warehouse Management System. Please get in touch for a no obligation and no pressure discussion on how Dexterity WMS could help your business.

#imager #FalconX3 #Datalogic

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