The electronic product code EPC is an international product identification. Each product can thus be identified worldwide and it is intended to replace the European Article Number (EAN).
The EPC is stored in an RFID transponder. The code is primarily used to identify a product but may contain additional information such as production location, whereabouts, or shipping information. The EPC allows individual items to be uniquely identified, and companies generally only need a software update for the readers in use in order to implement the new RFID standard. In addition, transponders and codes already in circulation remain readable (upward compatibility).

Information in the Electronic Product Code

In addition to the GTIN and the SSCC, the Electronic Product Code also stores the following information:

  • Global Location Number (GLN),
  • Global Returnable Asset Identifier (GRAI) (multi-transport packaging)
  • Global Individual Asset Identifier (GIAI)
  • Global Document Type Identifier (GDTI)
  • Global Service Relation Number (GSRN)

Components of EPC

The electronic product code consists of the following components:

  • Data header – specifies the EPC version and the coding scheme.
  • EPC Manager – designates the manufacturer’s identification number.
  • Object class – contains the product number e.g. an article number.
  • Serial number – is used for serial identification of the product.

Responsible for the electronic product code is GS1, an international organization with members in over 100 countries. They design and implement various, global standards and solutions around value chains and administer the EPC systems.

For more information on RFID, see RFID – Active transponders.

Image Source: © Benjamin Haas –

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