Edmund Schwartzel 060518 posted:
How about this theory....There are 12 numbers in the UPC bar code on a Lionel box. The 6 means the first 6 digits which is the manufacturer which is always the same. The next 5 are the 5 digits of the product number and the 12th digit could represent some unknown item like production run or if the item has a different number car numbers???
What makes the new system more complex is that the car or engine number is not printed on the side of the car like in pre and postwar so moving to a UPC based system makes sense,
The 12th digit in the bar code is just whats called a check digit, based on formula of the first 11 digits. Whats strange with the barcodes is Lionel in the beginning simply used the 5 digits in the SKU as part of the barcode. For example, item 16200 would have a barcode like 02392216200x where X is the check digit. This system was in place for quite a long time, then a few years back the 5 digits in the code became no longer related to the SKU number. Makes it more difficult for scanning barcodes, as you need a master list to correlate the bar code to the SKU.
To further confuse matters, some of the new 7 digit PN barcodes simply show the last 5 digits of the SKU. Which means for a new item for example 1919200 the bar code label would look like 02392219200X , which was a barcode label number already used for item 6-19200. Possibility exist for the same barcode label tied to 2 different SKUs. Seems very confusing to say the least.