The new EPC (Electronic Product Code) arises from the need to distinguish unit products of the same type or class. The current coding practice, EAN-13, cannot distinguish between two or more products with the same code.
The solution is clear. For each product code, a numerator is added making it possible to distinguish between two products of the same grouping or class.
On many occasions, it is difficult to introduce a 13 digit bar code for a product, and even more so if the bar code must be 20 or 24 digits - it is not a feasible solution for most unit products.
EPC, the great ally of RFID
A tiny electronic chip of RFID technology, which has a size of 0.3 x 0.3 mm, is capable of storing up to 96 bits of information, i.e. 24 alpha-numeric characters. And in many cases, even the packaging of the product itself can be used as an antenna for receiving and transmitting a signal for reading.
It is now possible that each unit product of the same species can be identified uniquely in anywhere in the world. Basically, the EPC code contains:
- A "HEADER" which indicates the level of product grouping
- The classic "EAN" currently GTIN, which indicates the product coding and contains country, company and product code
- A "NUMERATOR" 13 digits for numbering each unitarily
Additional information useful in the RFID chip
RFID chips have been developed so that today it is possible to introduce many more data available additional reports. Therefore, for monitoring traceability and gaining visibility supply chain in real time, within the RFID chip itself it is possible to code in the user memory data as important as:
- TID, unique and indelible for each chip number, ensuring authentication products
- EAN or GTIN number, which identifies the product and the way embalage
- SSCC number that identifies the number of unique palette for logistics
- Traceable information, such as dates of preferential consumption, production batch, weights and other data itself each sector
- Additional information, internal company codes can be useful in reverse logistics
- Alarm "ANTI-THEFT" with the EAS bit in the case of products for final consumption
EPC code: Standardized and Globally Accepted
The EPC code and coding system unitary products, groups, pallets and containers is standardized worldwide. Today the use of standards in this globalized world is one of the keys to obtaining a traceability without duplicating information or expend unnecessary resources.
See Regulations and Standards