Ruggedness of 2D code printed on grain tracers for implementing a prospective grain traceability system to the bulk grain delivery system Academic Article uri icon


  • Two-dimensional Data Matrix (DM) barcode printed on a food-grade tracer to carry simulated identifying information about grain in a prospective grain traceability system was evaluated for its ruggedness on different formulations, coating materials, and order of coating and printing. The key factor in evaluating the tracers was their ability to be read with a code scanner after being removed from a batch of grain at any point in the grain supply chain. After printing, the tracers were measured for initial readability, subjected to ruggedness tests involving abrasion and impact and the effect of moisture conditioning, and measured for final readability. Fourteen treatments involving two tracer types (sugar-based and cellulose-based), two coating materials (edible shellac and hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, or HPMC), and four coat-print procedures were considered. One particular treatment performed very well, whereas most others did not, having either low initial readability rates or low final readability rates after they were subjected to ruggedness testing. The treatment of interest consisted of cellulose-based tracers, printed in DM code with food-grade ink, and coated with HPMC after printing. Initial readability of this treatment averaged 98%, and final readability after ruggedness testing ranged from 89 to 99%, depending on the ruggedness test applied. These readability rates are considered acceptable for intended application. Since barcode printing on information-carrying tracers was an essential part of requirements for implementing the proposed grain traceability system, most major tracing system and technological components are now available in prototype form for the next phase of research and development for practical application of the system in the grain supply chain. 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Liang, K., Thomasson, J. A., Shen, M. X., Armstrong, P. R., Ge, Y., Lee, K. M., & Herrman, T. J.

citation count

  • 20

complete list of authors

  • Liang, K||Thomasson, JA||Shen, MX||Armstrong, PR||Ge, Y||Lee, KM||Herrman, TJ

publication date

  • January 2013