4 min read

QR Codes: What Are They and How Are They Used?

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Quick Response codes, known more commonly as QR Codes, are 2-dimensional barcodes that are capable of storing large quantities of data. We see them everywhere, from business cards to posters to shop windows, but what are they? How do they work? How can you apply them to your products? Let's take a look!


choosing-a-marking-system_-types-of-laser-marks_largeWhile they may look fairly straightforward, QR codes are capable of storing lots of data. They are a collection of pixels that
 when scanned, allow the user to access information instantly – hence why it’s called a Quick Response code. QR codes can contain thousands of characters of data, so it’s really easy to encode a website URL and other information that you don’t have space for with a standard barcode. Most smartphones today are capable of scanning and interpreting QR codes using their standard camera function, but there is a multitude of free apps available which do the job too. Here's an example that you can test right now!

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QR codes have been around since 1994 and slowly they’ve begun to appear more and more, to the point where today we can see them almost everywhere. QR codes are becoming a standard for product identification. Laser engraving these codes can be done at a very high speed and the marks are simple to create. With specialized laser marking software, QR code laser engraving systems can directly mark QR Codes onto products made of almost any material. Some examples of where you might find a QR code include:

  • Medical Bracelets and ID Tags
  • Medicine Packaging
  • Automotive Parts
  • Tools & Machinery
  • Links to websites

QR codes are great for communicating a variety of different pieces of information, such as serial numbers and barcodes. For example, by scanning the laser-engraved barcode with a smartphone, depending on the application provided, a person can know when the last service of a machine or piece of equipment took place.

Here is a demonstration of a laser engraving machine producing a simple QR code!




While QR codes are great for storing and sharing specific data, did you know that you can print and/or mark codes to share your favourite songs? Apps such as Spotify have developed their own scannable codes which, when scanned in the same way as a QR code, will take you to a specific song on their app. For those who produce personalised products, this could be a great offering for your customers! We tested it out and we are really happy with the result!


So, there we have it. QR codes are a great way of communicating complex data that would otherwise take up more space and potentially more ink! We hope this blog has been helpful and has given you some inspiration as to how you might add QR codes to your laser marking applications.


If you'd like to learn more, then contacts us today:

Call: +44(0)1948 660011
Email: info@needhamlaser.com

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