FAQ's

About Matthews

Where is Matthews based?

Matthews is headquartered in Rowville (Victoria), with sales and service offices in Silverwater (NSW); Marleston (SA); Eagle Farm (Queensland); Roleystone (WA) and Auckland, NZ. You can also contact us via phone on 1300 CODING or email.
We also supply certain coding & labelling technologies and well as consumables to Papua New Guinea.

What can Matthews do for me? Why should we choose Matthews?

Matthews has extensive industry experience and is constantly at the forefront of leading change with organisations that include GS1 Australia, the Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP) and Australian Packaging and Processing Machinery Association (APPMA). The main reasons why our customers choose us over other technology partners are:

  • We have a wide range of technology options and best-in-class products that help us deliver the best-fit technology for every application.
  • Our ability to provide a complete solution, including conveyors, scanners, automation software and machine vision, as opposed to “just a printer”. Part of this is a project manager, who manages turnkey projects. 
  • Our in-house technical support team offers 24x7 support, plus we have dedicated service technicians in very state.
  • iDSnet coding automation software eliminates coding errors, automates product change-overs and provides real-time visibility of the production line. 

Do you have local support?

Yes we have technical service engineers as well as sales engineers across Australia. Our service department is headquartered in Victoria and has a paperless field-service management system that assigns a technician, monitors the progress and gives you constant updates. We can also provide phone support 24x7 if required.
We also have support offerings that deliver planned maintenance as opposed to corrective maintenance so that your equipment is maintained well, thus maximising uptime.

What level of support do you offer for your products?

All our products come with a one or two-year warranty. Our extensive Technical Service department has dedicated installation technicians, technical phone support staff as well as service technicians — Australia-wide. We offer 24x7 support for all our hardware technology as well as software solutions.
We also have various support plans to give you maximum uptime; these include planned maintenance plans (PMP) and iQInspect, which have various levels of support offerings. We can talk through your needs to work out your needs. 

Where else have done a similar application to mine? Do you have a reference?

We have thousands of installations across Australia. Please browse through our resource library and look at case studies and videos to see some of the most popular applications. If you don’t find an application similar to yours, please talk to us on 1300 CODING and we can give you a reference site.
We also have access to global installations and best practices through our technology partners, including Linx, Matthews International, Solaris, Avery Dennison and others.

 

Barcode Related

What is a barcode?

A barcode (also bar code) is a machine-readable image used to represent data. A barcode scanner decodes the image and sends the data back to a computer system where is interpreted and processed. Barcodes can be used to identify trade items/products, locations, logistic units/cartons or pallets, and assets in a wide range of industry sectors, from retail to healthcare.

Why do I need a barcode?

In Australia, retailers have adopted the GS1 system of barcoding and numbering. This means that if you are selling your products to a retailer or into the healthcare system, you need a barcode. Some major retailers such as Coles, Woolworths and Metcash will not accept your products without GS1 barcodes. Barcodes can help you and your customers keep track of sales, stock, orders and price information. Using barcodes will reduce costs and increase accuracy and efficiency in your supply chain.

How does a barcode work?

A barcode uniquely identifies your product using a product identification number called a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN). The stripes you see in a traditional barcode are the graphical representation of the GTIN. This number is printed below the image. Today barcodes also come in patterns of dots, concentric circles, and hidden within images. 

Barcodes are read by optical scanners called barcode readers or scanned from an image by special software. When the barcode is scanned at point-of-sale (POS), at a checkout counter or in the warehouse, the information is decoded and sent to a computer where it is processed and interpreted. 

What are the different types of barcodes?

There are different types of barcodes designed for use in various situations. In Australia, the types of barcode include EAN/UPC, GS1 DataBar, GS1-128, ITF-14 and GS1 DataMatrix. 

The most common barcode type is the EAN/UPC barcode family, which must be used at point-of-sale (checkout) and can also be used throughout the entire supply chain. The ITF-14 and GS1-128 barcodes are used to identify cases, pallets and other logistic units. They are not intended to pass through point-of-sale. 

While the most widely known barcodes are linear (EAN/UPC, GS1-128, ITF-14 and DataBar), there are also two-dimensional (2D) barcodes. GS1 DataMatrix is an example of a 2D barcode. The difference between linear barcodes and 2D barcodes lies in the type and amount of data they can hold. Two-dimensional barcodes can hold significantly more data than linear symbols. 

You can learn more about all the barcode types on the GS1 Australia website. 

How do I know which sort of barcode I need?

The type of barcode you need depends on what you require it for and where the barcode is being scanned. The most commonly used barcode is the product barcode, also known as the primary barcode or GTIN barcode, which is scanned at retail point-of-sale (POS). In Australia, these generally use a GTIN-13 format, which simply means the Global Trade Item Number has 13 digits. There are also carton barcodes and barcodes for smaller items, such as cosmetics, where a full barcode doesn’t fit on the packaging. 

As a GS1 Strategic Alliance Partner, Matthews can help you find the right barcode for your application. 

How do I get a barcode?

Before you can get a ‘graphic’ barcode, you first need to get the numbers that go inside the barcode. In Australia, GS1 Australia is the only organisation authorised to register and issue barcode numbers (known as Global Trade Item Numbers, or GTINS). A non-profit organisation, GS1 Australia makes sure the barcode numbers that you receive are unique against other numbers and that no other business is authorised to use your numbers on their products. 

To have barcode numbers registered to your business, you need to join GS1 Australia as a member. Visit the GS1 Australia website for more information on joining

GS1 Australia does not print barcode images or provide you with the digital barcode files. Your graphic design agency can help you create the image of the barcode. As a GS1 Strategic Alliance Partner, once you have your barcode, Matthews can help you put your barcode on your product, carton or pallet. 

How do I convert the barcode number into a barcode image or barcode graphic that I can print on my product?

Once you have obtained your barcode number, the next step is to convert it into an actual barcode image. GS1 Australia has a number of approved solution providers who can create a barcode image for you. As a GS1 Strategic Alliance Partner, Matthews can help you choose the right barcode and the right technology to apply it to your products. Alternatively, you can use software to create a barcode image for your product or ask your packaging designer to create the barcode image for you.

Can I get a barcode from anywhere?

GS1 Australia is the only authorised provider of GS1 barcode numbers in Australia. This helps ensure barcode numbers are unique worldwide. Without a unique GS1 barcode number, retailers may reject your product and you may have to reprint packaging and repackage your product – a costly and unnecessary process.

How much does a barcode cost?

Barcodes are not sold individually. You need to become a member of GS1 Australia and the barcode numbers are then licensed to you on an annual basis. Membership fees are based on company turnover and the number of barcode numbers required. Check out the membership rates on the GS1 Australia website

Why won’t my barcode scan?

There are a number of reasons that can cause your barcode not to scan, including:

  • Software error or other mistake causing a corrupted barcode or the incorrect number to be reproduced on your packaging
  • Print colours used on your packaging – a dark barcode on a white or light background works best
  • Location of the barcode 
  • Insufficient space for the correct barcode size and clear space around it 

The best time to make sure your barcodes scan is at the packaging design stage, as it is very costly to fix once you have printed thousands of labels. GS1 Australia’s Barcode Testing Service can help you test your barcodes, ensure they conform to the ISO 15416 print quality standard and provide recommendations. The service will give you a GS1 Barcode Verification Report, which is requested by many Australian retailers before they will stock your products.  

When you are ready to print your barcodes, Matthews can help you eliminate barcoding errors by integrating any coding equipment into your business and ensuring the right barcode is printed on the right product at the right time. This can be supplemented with barcode scanners and machine vision inspection to verify barcodes on an ongoing basis.

A retailer has asked for a barcode verification report. What is this and where can I get it?

If you plan to sell your products through Coles, Metcash and Woolworths, you need a GS1 Barcode Verification Report. Many more retailers now also ask for this barcode verification report before they work with suppliers. This report gives retailers the assurance that your products will scan easily in the warehouse and at the checkout.

Technical experts from GS1 Australia’s Barcode Testing Service will work with you and/or your packaging designers to ensure your products meet the retailers’ scanning requirements, and at the end, they will generate a barcode verification report. 

How can I print my barcodes?

It depends how many barcodes you are printing and what you are applying them to. For low-volume production lines, cartons and products can be labelled by hand using a label printer. Label printer applicators are used to print barcodes and human readable information onto pressure-sensitive labels and then automatically apply them onto an item. This can be used for cartons and pallets, retail products, metal delivery stillages, timber, steel and pipes. 

As a GS1 Strategic Alliance Partner and the Australian market leader for barcode print and apply, Matthews can help you choose the best solution for your business.

Can I buy barcodes overseas?

Buying a barcode from an overseas company rather than from GS1 Australia could affect your ability to sell to Australian retailers. GS1 Australia is the only authorised provider of GS1 barcode numbers in Australia. 

Buying barcodes from an unauthorised reseller can cause costly problems if you want to sell to large retailers such as Woolworths and Coles. They require barcode integrity to ensure the product does not get confused with other products. 

GS1 helps ensure barcode numbers are unique worldwide. A reseller, on the other hand, may not maintain their licence for the numbers issued or may allocate the same number to more than one supplier. Remember, it will be very costly to change your product packaging should a problem occur. 

Do I need a different barcode for every product?

If your products are exactly the same in every way (size, shape, colour, weight, flavour etc.), you will require the same barcode number, known as a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN). 

If a product is slightly different, it must have a different barcode number so it can be distinguished from other similar products.  Even a small change in size or weight will mean a new barcode is needed. Only packaging design changes do not affect the barcode numbers.

What are retailer requirements for barcodes?

If  you want to sell your product to most retailers in Australia, you will need a GS1 barcode on your product packaging. Many retailers now ask for a barcode verification report before they work with suppliers. This report gives them the assurance that your products will scan easily at their checkouts. They also require suppliers to have barcode labels in a certain format on the cartons and have pallet labels (SSCCs) on their pallets that are not being sold at point-of-sale but are being shipped to their warehouse or distribution centres. 

For more information, visit the supplier guidelines on the Coles, Woolworths and Metcash websites. 

Does a barcode contain price information and a description of the item?

Generally no. The barcode is simply represents the barcode number (GTIN) that uniquely identifies the item. All the information about the item is contained in a computer database, which is retrieved by scanning the barcode at the checkout or in the warehouse. 

Can I make up my barcode numbers?

No, because the numbers for your products (known as Global Trade Item Numbers, or GTINS) must be unique worldwide. Read more about how to get a barcode. 

Do barcodes always have to be printed black on white?

Not necessarily. Scanners read the barcode by recognising the pattern of bars. To do this they must be able to distinguish between the bars and the background colour. While black and white gives the best contrast level, it is possible to use other colours.

There are some rules to follow to ensure ‘scannability’:

  • Red must not be used as a bar colour
  • Blue, green, brown and gold should not be used as background colours
  • Black, blue, green and dark brown are recommended for the bars
  • White, yellow, orange and red are recommended background colours

Speak to Matthews for more advice on barcode printing. 

What is a DataBar barcode?

The DataBar is a new group of barcodes being rolled out in Australia in 2014. The small barcode will be used to deliver enhanced product information at retail point-of-sale. The main advantage for retailers and suppliers is that DataBar can be used on small or hard-to-mark consumer items that could not previously hold barcodes. This will enable the products to be quickly and accurately scanned at point-of-sale. It will also provide for automated markdowns, thereby improving stock rotation and eliminating non-sales at store level. Visit the GS1 Australia website for the latest information on GS1 DataBar. 

What is an SSCC?

A Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC) is used to manage and track goods throughout the warehousing, distribution and transport process. A shipment can contain pallets or containers of mixed products or single products. These are also known as logistics units. Each logistics unit receives a unique SSCC to identify the shipment throughout its lifetime in the supply chain. An SSCC is typically represented in a GS1-128 barcode. To obtain an SSCC for your logistics unit, you need to become a member of GS1 Australia.

Find out more about Matthews’ solutions for SSCCs and pallet labeling.

 

Technology Related

How many products per minute can I print on?

The number of products that can be printed per minute will depend on several factors, such as:

  • the printing technology being used; most of the time, lasers can print much faster than high-resolution technology
  • message length and the number of lines — the longer the message, the longer it will take to print
  • line speed and set-up 
  • the quality of print required 

To get an idea of which technology options will match your requirements the best, use the Technology Selector Tool.

Can I use a laser?

Laser is one of the many coding and marking options available. Naturally, each application needs to be assessed to see which technology is the best fit. Laser marking is often recommended when:

  • line speeds are very high
  • permanent marks are needed
  • a high quality high contrast mark can be achieved at the required line speeds

Don’t forget, a laser needed to be safely installed on the line.

Can I print my logo?

Logos are usually pre-printed on products/Product Labels and cartons but can be printed in-line as well. Thermal transfer overprinting (for products) and hi-resolution printing (for cartons) are two technologies often used to print logos along with other variable information, such as batch numbers and barcodes. Inkjet can print logos as well on cartons.

Can I print a bar code on my carton with inkjet?

Yes, inkjet technology can be used to print high quality, scannable barcodes on cartons. However, major retail chains — such as Woolworths — don’t accept inkjet barcodes, they prefer barcode labels on cartons. Your choice of technology will depend on what suits your application and your customers’ requirements.

Which is better, laser or inkjet?

Laser and inkjet are both robust and reliable coding technologies. If the application can be met by both technologies then the decision should be based on evaluating the pros and cons of each. These are highlighted in an easy-to-read paper.

How can I label this product on my production line?

Products can be labelled using three different types of technologies:

  • Label Applicators (LA) and In-line Labelling systems: If the labels are pre-printed, they can be applied using LAs or in-line labelling systems. These applicators can work with other technologies such as inkjet (CIJ) and thermal transfer overprinting (TTO) to print use-by dates, batch numbers, and so forth, onto pre-printed labels.
  • Label Printer Applicators (LPA): Certain products, say potted plants, need a label to be created with specific details, and these can be printed using LPAs, which can print individual barcodes, product names and so on. LPAs are also perfect for applying barcode labels to cartons. 
  • Label Printers (LP): In some instances with low product volumes, it may be cost effective to print labels with an LP and hand apply them. This solution is very rarely used for primary products, however, is common for pallet labelling.

Do you have an ink that will stick to my product?

We have a very wide range of inks for a wide range of applications. Ink adhesion is something we can test during the trial and sample-marking phase, to ensure the coding solution works for you.
Not only that, we also have other technology options, such as laser marking, if you need a permanent mark.

What are my options for marking onto my products?

We have a wide range of technology options. To get an idea of which technology options will match your requirements the best, use the Technology Selector Tool.

What sort of life expectancy will my printer have? How long does your product last?

The optimal life of the printer is typically five to seven years, but we have printers in the field that have been working — without issues — for 15+ years. The factors to consider are:

  • Are there better and more-efficient technology options available out there?
  • Will it be more cost effective to get a new printer than service the existing one?
  • Does this printer still meet the coding requirements?
  • We also offer rental programs that give you the option to “refresh” your printers and equipment after every four years. This way you get the latest technology and also save on capital investment.
     

Can we print bar codes directly on to shippers?

Yes, inkjet technology can be used to print high quality, scannable barcodes onto shipper cartons. However, major retail chains, such as Woolworths, don’t accept inkjet barcodes — on cartons they prefer barcode labels. Which technology you choose will depend on what suits your application and your customers’ requirements. 

Can you print in solid text onto shippers (as opposed to dot matrix)?

Yes. High-resolution printing technology can be used to print high quality, solid text on shippers.

Can we service this printer ourselves?

There are certain routine maintenance tasks that we will train your operators to do when we install your equipment. For major services we recommend you use manufacturer-trained personnel, who will not only be able to service your equipment but also provide valuable inputs on optimisation and uptime. To make sure your equipment is serviced regularly, we have custom planned maintenance offerings to suit your plant.

Where else have done a similar application to mine? Do you have a reference?

We have thousands of installations across Australia. Please browse through our resource library and look at case studies and videos to see some of the most popular applications. If you don’t find an application similar to yours, please talk to us on 1300 CODING and we can give you a reference site.

We also have access to global installations and best practices through our technology partners, including Linx, Matthews International, Solaris, Avery Dennison and others.

What can vision inspection do?

Matthews provides an advanced range of vision systems for inspection, guidance, identification, measurement, tracking and counting – in many diverse industries.

Have another question? Ask us now.
 

Rate this page

  • Rate as Helpful0% Helpful votes
  • Rate as Not helpful0% Not helpful votes