Connected and compliant 2D barcodes


FSMA, GS1 Digital Link, Digital Product Passports, product transparency, consumer engagement, and circular economy are all industry “hot topics” that benefit from using 2D barcodes for “connected products.” Have you managed to keep up and have your future connected product strategy ready? If not, what is the best way for your brand to get started and catch up?




Over the last year, we have worked closely with leading industry organizations and our engineers to define the ultimate offering for the transition to QR codes on your product packaging. Our connected product and 2D barcode solutions combine state-of-the-art marking and coding technology with proven software solutions and application expertise to implement your connected product strategy and unlock the power of information in codes.



Connecting the traditional 1D code


GS1’s new standard aims to move away from the traditional 1D barcode in favor of a connected 2D barcode that provides more information about a product and enables multiple use scenarios and benefits for brand owners, distributors, retailers, and consumers.

The GS1 Digital Link is a new standard that connects the GS1 application identifiers for a specific product such as the GTIN, with the Internet. The Digital Link enables digital access to all types of digital business-to-business and business-to-consumer information for each specific product, ranging from brand information, product ingredients, manufacturing processes, and distribution traceability to product authenticity, expiration, and e-commerce.

Regulations, for example, like the European Digital Product Passport, Digital DRS, and FSMA, are dependent on this kind of digitally connected product information standard to fully achieve the goal of enabling the sharing of key product-related information that is essential for products’ sustainability and circularity with all the relevant economic players.


Ready to transition to QR codes?


Here are four initial steps we recommend brand owners follow.


Work with a solution provider partner. What are the use cases your company should engage with? Do I need to buy new equipment and software solutions, how much data can I include in my QR code and what’s in it for the consumer? A number of questions will arise when kicking off a QR project and all internal stakeholders will fight for their “must-have”. An experienced solutions provider will partner with you and support your project definition, being the link between what is technically possible, what is needed, and what the company wants to achieve.



Determine and define the use cases and goals of your QR Barcode application. The QR code is no longer only a marketing tool and the use case evaluation should include the entire supply chain. The advantage of the 2D barcode is that it can include multiple use cases in the same code. A different digital experience can be generated depending on whether the manufacturer, distributor, or consumer scans the code, and the scanning device used.



Draft your data management and integration model to guarantee two-way connectivity, capturing, displaying, and monitoring of data. Data will need to travel through the entire supply chain and integrate with the producers, the production line, MES, ERP, CRM, and other digital systems – while complying with integrity and safety regulations. 


Decide between static or dynamic data and review your production line.  Current printing technologies can all print a 2D code but, depending on the data embedded, serialization needs and the size, the quality and readability and finally technology will differ. For example. if you want a 2D barcode with just a static GTIN then pre-printed labels can be enough. If you want highly customized, serialized, and live data in the code you need inline printing. The solution provider partner will help you pick the right technology.


A connected QR code is also a trigger to start rethinking how you engage with consumers and retail partners, and the impact that can have on a product’s packaging artwork, and the implementation of the 2D code has the potential to become a major industry game-changer. Imagine that you no longer need to add the full ingredient list in multiple languages onto packaging artwork. You will save design space; you can optimize your SKU inventory and even go as far as removing the entire packaging material in some cases. 












More food for thought?




Toepfer Babywelt CIJ Coding Markem-Imaje
Andreas Wehl – Head of Packaging Innovation and Cosmetics @ Töpfer

“In conjunction with our system, we ensure that we can send brand, item number, batch number, and more to our marking systems without errors.

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IMA Ilapak Film Coding Markem-Imaje
Andrea Boccolini – VFFS Technical Sales Support Manager @ IMA Ilapak

“Our machines are exported around the globe: IMA IIapak has always found Markem-Imaje to be an excellent partner capable of supporting our clients in every part of the world with widespread support and prompt service in the supply of spare parts”.

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Bioplants Hot Melt Coding Cardboard Markem-Imaje
Xavier Bossard – Operations, Digital and Logistics Project Manager at Bioplants @ Bioplants

“The Markem-Imaje solution proposed to Bioplants was interesting because we could choose the criteria we needed: Before that, we were using a labeler, so one consumable item was created every time we labeled a package. Today we use hot melt ink directly projected on the cardboard allows us to add traceability to the packages, which we did not have before.”
#TouchDry #HighResolutionInkjet

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Mebra Plastik Software CoLOS Markem-Imaje
Nicola Marchesin – IT Manager @ Mebra Plastik

“This (CoLOS) has allowed us to be much more efficient, reducing line equipment times and making it possible to implement new solutions such as automated metrics, fewer ink types, and less waste thanks to more ecological containers and less energy consumption.”
#CoLOS #SoftwareSolutions

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