EAN-128 / UCC-128 is the same as Code 128, except, EAN 128 defines a set of application identifiers (AI's), and associated rules for defining a code. UCC/EAN-128 encodes data as well as defining what that data represents. SSC 14 (UCC 14, DUN 14) and SSCC 18 (UCC-18) can be encoded via UCC 128 by using appropriate application identifier.
UCC/EAN 128 is mostly used in the shipping industry for marking containers.
It is one of the most complete, alpha-numeric, one-dimensional symbologies available today.
UCC/EAN 128 includes a set of application identifiers, which defines the rules of interpreting data. Hence, UCC/EAN 128 cannot be used as a general purpose barcode.
UCC/EAN-128 encodes data using Code 128 symbology. The difference is the use of defined application identifiers with data encoded into the code 128 symbol.
UCC/EAN-128 uses three different character sets (A, B and C), that facilitates the encoding of the full 128 ASCII character set. It is made up of a leading quiet zone, a Code 128 start character A, B, or C, a FNC 1 character, data (application identifier plus data field), a symbol check character, a stop character, and a trailing quiet zone. The function 1 (FNC 1), which follows the start character, enables scanners and processing software to auto-discriminate between UCC/EAN-128 and other barcode symbologies, and subsequently only process relevant data.
An Application Identifier (AI) is a prefix code used to identify the meaning and the format of the data that follows it (data field). There are application identifiers for identification, traceability, dates, quantity, measurements, locations, and many other types of information. For example, the AI for batch number is 10, and the batch number AI is always followed by an alphanumeric batch code not to exceed 20-characters.
One can use Label Flow™ barcode software for printing UCC 128 shipping and container barcode labels or use Asset Track (inventory management software) for managing inventory.