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UCC/EAN-128 uses normal Code 128 barcodes, but formats the data in a standardized way to identify the type of information contained in the barcode. Code 128 includes four special control codes named FNC1 through FNC4; by convention, the FNC1 code is used to identify barcodes that conform to the UCC/EAN-128 standard. A normal Code 128 barcode is constructed like this:

  • start code
  • data
  • checksum
  • stop code

A UCC/EAN-128 barcode is constructed like this:

  • start code
  • FNC1
  • application identifier
  • data
  • checksum
  • stop code

The Application Identifier is a 2, 3, or 4-digit number that identifies the type of data which follows. A list of many of the standard Application Identifiers appears at the end of this article. By convention, the Application Identifier is enclosed in parentheses when printed below the barcode (the parentheses are only for visual clarity, and are not encoded in the barcode). The FNC1 code is not represented in the readable text. For example, Application Identifier 420 indicates that the data contains the destination postal code, and you will often find this barcode on shipping labels. If the destination postal code (ZIP code in the USA) is 90210 the barcode would look like this:

uccean-128a.jpg (5965 bytes)

When this barcode is scanned, software is alerted by the FNC1 code that this is a UCC/EAN-128 barcode and, since the Application Identifier is 420, it contains a destination postal code. For another example consider the tracking barcode that appears on most packages handled by freight carriers around the world. Application Identifier 00 indicates that the data contains a package serial number; this format is called the "UCC/EAN-128 Serialized Shipping Container Symbol". This type of barcode uniquely identifies every package currently in transit and makes global tracking systems possible:

uccean-128b.jpg (11262 bytes)

  • start code
  • FNC1
  • Application Identifier (00)
  • Package Type (0 = carton)
  • UCC/EAN number system/numbering authority
  • Manufacturer's ID code
  • Package serial number
  • Check character for readable text
  • Check character for entire barcode
  • Stop code

A single barcode may contain more that one type of information. The beginning of each new piece of information is marked by a FNC1 character and an Application Icdentifier. For example, let's combine a Batch Number (Application Identifier 10) and a Sell By Date (Application Identifier 17):

  • start code
  • FNC1
  • Application Identifier (10 = batch number)
  • Batch Number
  • FNC1
  • Application Identifier (17 = sell by date)
  • Sell By Date (YYMMDD)
  • Checksum
  • Stop Code

Here is an example for Batch Number 45566 with a Sell By Date of March 1, 2004:

uccean-128c.jpg (9826 bytes)

Here is a list of Application Identifiers. New ones are added from time to time, so this list may not be complete. The full specification is available from the Uniform Code Council.



00 Serial Shipping Container Code
01 Shipping Container Code
10 Batch or Lot Number
11 Production Date (YYMMDD)
13 Packaging Date (YYMMDD)
15 Best Before/Sell By Date (YYMMDD)
17 Sell By/Expiration Date (YYMMDD)
20 Product Variant
21 Serial Number
22 HIBCC; quantity, date, batch, and link
23 Lot number
240 Secondary product attributes
250 Secondary Serial number
30 Quantity each
310 Net Weight, kilograms
311 Length or first dimension, meters
312 Width, diameter, or 2nd dimension, meters
313 Depth, thickness, height, or 3rd dimension, meters
314 Area, square meters
315 Volume, liters
316 Volume, cubic meters
320 Net weight, pounds
330 Gross weight, kilograms
331 Length or first dimension, meters logistics
332 Width, diameter, or 2nd dimension, meters logistics
333 Depth, thickness, height, or 3rd dimension, meters logistics
334 Area, square meters logistics
335 Gross volume, liters logistics
336 Gross volume, cubic meters logistics
340 Gross weight, pounds
400 Customer purchase order number
410 Ship to location code (EAN-13 or DUNS)
411 Bill to location code (EAN-13 or DUNS)
412 Purchase from location code (EAN-13 or DUNS)
420 Ship to postal code
421 Ship to postal code with 3-digit ISO country code
8001 Roll products: width, length, core diameter, direction, splices
8002 Electronic serial number for cellular telephones
90 FACT identifiers (internal applications)
91 Internal use (raw materials, packaging, components)
92 Internal use (raw materials, packaging, components)
93 Internal use (product manufacturers)
94 Internal use (product manufacturers)
95 SCAC+Carrier PRO number
96 SCAC+Carrier assigned container ID
97 Internal use (wholesalers)
98 Internal use (retailers)
99 Mutually defined text


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