When each verifier leaves Axicon it has been checked and tested at several stages to ensure that it conforms to the international standards for barcode verifiers, and that it is able to be calibrated by the user with a traceable calibration card.
The regular calibration ensures that the verifier is measuring reflectance correctly, as its performance is affected by each computer it is connected to, its temperature and the ambient light. This calibration does not maintain the verifier in perfect condition, as its performance will change over time - the LEDs will not necessarily all be as consistently bright as they were when new, dust can settle on some of the optical components, and the buttons and cables may be wearing out through use.
This is why we recommend that every verifier should be returned to us every year for a verifier conformance and alignment service or VCAS. During this process we examine, clean and reset the verifier, changing any components that may be wearing out, and ensure that it works as well as it did when it was first manufactured. We also supply a new calibration card as its values will slightly change over time.
(Our calibration cards are made by the same company, Applied Image, that manufactures the primary reference standards, the Conformance Calibration Standard Test Cards that are traceable to the USA’s NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) reflectance standards. Our cards are NIST-traceable because their reflectance values are checked against these primary reference standards.)
Servicing and testing options
VCAS (verifier conformance alignment service)
Our VCAS service can only take place at Axicon, so a verifier must be returned to an Axicon office, and these are in England, France, The Netherlands, and the USA. This will take about a week, taking into account the time taken for despatch and return by couriers.
Each verifier is thoroughly examined, cleaned and serviced, then quality control checked before being returned to you. After VCAS you will receive a new certificate of conformance for the verifier, and a new calibration card.
For users who do not want to be without their verifier for this time, we offer a rigorous remote checking service called eCert which will provide you with a new calibration card, and a new verifier certificate of conformance if the verifier passes certain checks.
The user carries out these checks with specially produced barcode test cards, and submits the results to an Axicon web platform for analysis. The results are then checked by one of our technical staff, and if the verifier is still providing correct results, we will send you a new certificate of conformance.
The verifier will often pass these tests, but should it fail, the verifier can then be returned to Axicon for VCAS at no extra charge other than transport costs. The servicing will take about a week.
IQ/OQ/PQ test protocols
Some users, especially those in the pharmaceutical sector, want to be able to check the performance of their verifiers formally much more frequently than once a year, so we have designed Installation Qualification, Operational Qualification, and Performance Qualification protocols for them to do this. The PQ test component includes a different set of specially produced barcode test cards, and users are able to self-certify that their verifier is working in conformance with the international ISO/IEC standards.