How Security Bar Codes Work

Thanks to bar code technology, we can track cash packages and log data faster than ever before. But how exactly do security bar codes work?

A security bar code is made up of two parts:

  1. The machine-readable bar code
  2. The human-readable number

The first bar code was designed in the 1970s as part of the Universal Product Code (UPC), which is what retailers use to scan items at checkout. Today, security bar code technology is used in many industries, such as science, the military and health care.

A bar code scanner reads the black-and-white design of a security bar code and feeds that information to a computer that can identify the bar code using a database. A security bar code scanner works quite simply:

  1. The scanner emits an LED or laser light onto the security bar code.
  2. Light reflects off the bar code into a light-detecting component called a photoelectric cell. The white areas of the bar code reflect the most light while the black areas reflect the least light.
  3. As the scanner reads the security bar code, the photoelectric cell generates a pattern of on-off pulses corresponding to the black and white stripes in the bar code.
  4. An electronic circuit connected to the scanner converts these on-off pulses into the digits of the bar code.
  5. These digits are then sent to a computer connected to the scanner to be checked against a database.

Bar code technology is what allows financial institutions and cash-in-transit companies to quickly log, organize and transport security bags. Today, bar codes are printed directly on security packaging to make this process go as quickly as possible.

Top 3 Retail Asset Protection Solutions

Theft by shoplifters and employees has been on the rise for the past four years, according to the 27th Annual Retail Theft Survey from Jack L. Hayes International.

Last year, more than 1.2 million individuals were nabbed for theft by the 25 retailers participating in the survey, helping stores to recover over $225 million in stolen assets.

Overall, one in every 38 employees were detained for stealing. This is a 7.1 percent increase from the number of employees apprehended by retailers in 2013. Shoplifter apprehensions increased by 7.4% over the prior year, according to the survey.

As the survey shows, theft is a very real threat that today’s retailers must deal with. Thankfully, there are solutions available to help deter thieves and prevent merchandise from walking out the door.

Review the top three security solutions retailers can implement within their stores quickly to help stop shoplifting:

EAS Tags Reinvented

EAS tags have become a favorite security solution for the retail industry, and it’s easy to see why. These intelligent systems ensure that all items are monitored and that shoplifters cannot simply walk out the door with stolen products.

Today’s EAS tags are even more advanced, and can help make sure that shoplifting doesn’t go unnoticed, no matter the circumstances. CONTROLTEK’s new Ink Tags are a unique way to prevent theft. These tags house small ink capsules that break if an attempt is made to remove them. When tampered with, the ink will permanently stain the item and render it useless to the shoplifter.

Affordable RFID Readers

On occasion, thieves will rearrange merchandise to make it easier to steal. This could involve taking a high-price item from a display and camouflaging it with other, lower-cost products. However, with affordable technology like RFID readers on the retailer’s side, the store can always keep track of their merchandise. CONTROLTEK offers state-of-the-art handheld readers, including the which can easily be connected to Bluetooth-enabled mobile devices.

Intelligent Security Packaging

Merchandise isn’t the only retail asset that needs protecting. The store’s daily revenue should also be put under lock and key – not only while at the store, but during transport to the store’s financial institution.

There are more than a few options for retailers when it comes to Intelligent Security Packaging, enabling them to select a combination of solutions that will best suit their needs. These include deposit bags, coin bags, security seals, and cash vault shipping bags. Best of all, CONTROLTEK also offers top-notch consulting services to help store owners identify their unique requirements and find the ISP solution that will provide the highest level of protection.

To find out more, contact CONTROLTEK today.


Since 1976, we have been delivering unique products and solutions to the cash-transfer and asset protection industries to address specific business challenges. Our company has grown steadily based on the quality of our products and the quality of our service. Our commitment to research and development is combined with a willingness to listen to the people who everyday depend on our products. By relentlessly researching and introducing new materials and new features, we are proud to say we have impacted the way assets are secured globally.

With experience gained through research and collaboration within the financial and retail sectors, we actively charted a course over the past several years to bring added value, new thinking and viable approaches, addressing the dilemmas and challenges that frustrate business professionals today.

During this process, we realigned our resources within CONTROLTEK, creating three silos (ISS, ISP and IVS). This enables us to focus more specifically on the needs of our Clients and their specific challenges they face on a daily basis. Additionally, CONTROLTEK has aligned itself with Global partners to provide holistic solutions that solve today’s challenges.   Whatever the application, CONTROLTEK resources stand by ready to deliver results that enable commerce and effectively secure assets at financial institutions and leading retailers across the globe.

CONTROLTEK Works to Harmonize and Increase Knowledge with ICCOS

CONTROLTEK is a proud sponsor at the 2015 The Americas Cash Cycle Seminar (ICCOS), a premier global seminar for commercial cash management, distribution and circulation. Held in Fort Worth, Texas on December 7-10, ICCOS is a dynamic seminar that is connecting and educating the currency industry.

CONTROLTEK’s Director of Product Management, Kris Doane, will present, “What You Measure, You Can Improve,” Tuesday, December 8 at 11:20 a.m. This session will discuss how to utilize data to observe what is actually happening in your business and discover ways to improve critical processes.

Calling all Stakeholders in Cash Circulation

The ICCOS offers three distinct educational formats: general sessions, an exhibition area, and focused breakout meetings. Stakeholders can share their ideas, best practices, and cost-saving technologies. In the exhibition area, sponsors feature their latest technologies, and this is where CONTROLTEK shines.

A Long History of Creating the Future

CONTROLTEK has been a longtime leader in the financial space, as well as a provider of security packaging solutions to other markets. Because of CONTROLTEK’s long history in this sector – we’ve been at it since 1976 after all – we have been able to witness how the cash circulation industry has changed over the years. But these changes are more marked today than in years past. As you may already know, CONTROLTEK is committed to bringing solutions to our evolving industry.

CONTROLTEK’s Solutions

Through breakout sessions and educational general sessions, we welcome the opportunity to hear from a variety of speakers and learn from their expertise. We also look forward to sharing our ideas and the successes we have had with our cost-saving products and services. With our Intelligent Security Packaging (ISP), we have been hard at work refining our offerings. From our retail deposit bags to our highly secure cash vault shipping bags, we provide industry-leading solutions for the cash-in-transit sector.

New Era for Tracking Devices

Colorful Stickers, Paper Labels, No Longer Suitable for Inventory Movement

Digital tags are changing the way businesses double down against not only theft but also absent-mindedness.

Intelligent Security Packaging (ISP) notes that radio frequency identification (RFID) is increasingly common for tracking and tracing packages, making a lot of older methods obsolete.

The fast pace of technological advances, moreover, is placing pressure on many industries that have been lagging.

RFID for packages is very much like E-Z Pass with cars. Couple that with GPS (Global Positioning System) monitoring, and it provides real-time data to identify inventory and its location.

For travelers, luggage movement and retrieval for decades had inspired the use of colorful tape, stickers, or ribbons to differentiate one suitcase from many other look-alikes.

Airlines, though, now are looking at ways to reduce luggage mixups, the New York Times recently reported. British Airways is testing a digital tag, Air France-KLM is planning a smart-phone app, and Airbus has for cellular use a Bag2Go trial of a digital tag with GPS tracking.

Nevertheless, inadvertent swapping of bags still occurs, some of it because of haste and some from inattention to claim-check numbers or those old-fashioned handwritten name-and-address tags attached to handles.

Many businesses, though, have already put themselves ahead of the curve by using digital control systems, notably with chain-of-custody transfers.

Many applications are in place to foil pilferage, hijacking and the like, whereas others greatly improve the efficiency monitoring of goods in transit.

The ISP security packaging methods can help businesses make big strides in their need to modernize their inventory-handling methods.

CONTROLTEK Provides Protection of Cash Transfers, Assets and Inventories Through Its 3 Divisions

By focusing on customer needs and delivering product solutions within specific vertical markets, CONTROLTEK’s three divisions have become a single source for many companies in the United States and around the world. These customers are seeking products that protect inventory and assets, including cash deposits and currency.

In the retail industry, for example, guarding against inventory theft is a major concern. More than $13 billion worth of goods are stolen from retailers each year, according to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention®.  Shoplifters steal from all types of stores, including: department stores, specialty shops, supermarkets, drug stores, discounters, music stores, convenience stores and thrift shops. In the banking industry, the use of currency security bags can help prevent tampering and ensure accountability of the parties involved in the transfer.

Many savvy retailers and financial institutions seeking innovative security solutions turn to CONTROLTEK to meet their tough standards of quality and reliability. Under its umbrella, CONTROLTEK’s products range from deposit bags and coin bags for banks and retailers, to security tags, detachersand Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS),RFID systems and software for retailers.

Guarding Against Losses

Security packaging aims to foil filchers who’d erode your business

With industries victimized by illegal siphoning of products from the supply chain and a resulting financial drain amounting to billions, there’s an increased urgency and importance surrounding security packaging.

CONTROLTEK, the provider of security packaging with offices in Cranford, N.J., advises that tampering, counterfeiting and substitutions, pilferage, diversion and resale, willful damage, and even shoplifting persist with a vengeance.

Much of modern packaging, an item’s outermost barrier, is designed to thwart these attempts.

Special plastics and seals are among the new materials, as are tracing and tracking devices implanted within any cargo. Another innovation is security printing.

Security printing has evolved into a range of sophisticated techniques. Some can be done with a digital or traditional press, whereas other printing is highly specialized. Moreover, certain temperature-sensitive inks can respond to a finger’s touch.

To inhibit counterfeiting, holograms and specialty labels can assure a product’s authenticity.

Inasmuch as radio frequency identification (RFID) chips are becoming more common for tracking and tracing packages, CONTROLTEK offers this kind of security tagging.

After brands become expensively developed and promoted, counterfeiting is a particular risk that has become equally expensive to deter. And methods employed in protecting a brand have mushroomed into a growth industry unto themselves.