GOMARO s.a. - CH 1123 Aclens - Switzerland Annexe : codes barres

The Electronic Product Code

The Electronic Product Code (ePC) as envisaged by the Auto-ID Center, is a product numbering scheme that can provide unique identification for physical objects, assemblies and systems. Information is not stored directly within the code - rather, the code serves as a reference for networked (or Internet-based) information. In other words, the code is an "address" - it tells a computer where it should go to find information on the Internet.

The ePC might be considered an extended form of the existing Universal Product Code (UPC) or European Article Number (EAN), currently used by manufacturers to identify products.

The UPC and EAN codes are both made up of two component parts:

By contrast, the ePC is made up of:

The ePC has been designed to uniquely identify every item manufactured or produced for sale.

After examining multiple options - scientists with the MIT Auto ID Center have proposed a 96-bit numbering scheme, including an 8-bit header and three data partitions, as shown below.



While the UPC allows unique identification for up to 100,000 manufacturers and SKUs, the ePC will allow unique identification for more than 16 million manufacturers and SKUs.

The third data partition represents the product serial number - allowing every "tagged" item to be uniquely identified. This 40-bit serial number allows for over 1 trillion uniquely identified objects for each of the 16 million-plus SKUs. Taken together, each manufacturer is allowed more than 18 quintillion uniquely identified items - which should be more than sufficient, from now to the indefinite future

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