Part ID & Tracking with Data Matrix Code Read / Verify Systems

Machine-readable identification holds the key to manufacturing efficiency.

Machine-readable identification is used to automatically identify a variety of products. Manufacturers are marking parts with machine-readable, permanent two-dimensional (2D) Data Matrix codes that are placed directly on the part itself. Then the part can be tracked throughout its entire life cycle, including manufacturing and supply chain operations. This is called Direct Part Mark Identification (DPMI), or Auto-ID. Established industry DPMI specifications and 2D marking guidelines are listed in the table below.

DPMI enables many tangible benefits for manufacturers. This practice:

  • Improves manufacturing process performance
  • Identifies quality defects through in-service tracking
  • Eliminates manual part data entry errors
  • Supports data logging and automated data collection
  • Increase yields, and
  • As a result, reduces the direct and indirect costs of manufacturing.

Many manufacturers rely on Auto-ID as well to track high-value parts to prevent theft or counterfeiting, identify parts for maintenance and returns, and to resolve warranty issues and liability claims.

Data Matrix symbol structure

The two-dimensional 2D Data Matrix code consists of an arrangement of small dots or squares, marked as either a square or rectangle. Invented by RVSI Acuity CiMatrix, the Data Matrix Code is a digital 2D, machine-readable symbology that is capable of storing large amounts of information within a small physical space. This code has been adopted by many industries, including aerospace, automotive, and electronic, as the best symbology for reliable, direct part marking. Compared to linear barcodes, Data Matrix encodes much more data – 25 to 100 times more information – into a smaller area, allowing code placement on a wide range of product configurations. Data Matrix requires less contrast (as low as 20%) between the code and the marking surface than linear barcodes. This allows the code to be marked on difficult surfaces of metal, non-metallic, and plastic components. Built-in error correction allows the encoded information to be captured even if the Data Matrix symbol is somewhat degraded.

Dapra Marking Systems offers a wide variety of marking systems to encode 2D symbols directly on parts. These include dot peen and laser marking systems. We also supply both fixed-station and hand-held Data Matrix readers and verifiers from Cognex.

Data Matrix Code Read / Verify Solutions from Dapra:

Hand-Held Data Matrix Code Readers

Hand-Held Data Matrix Code / Barcode Readers

Cognex DataMan 8600 Series readers offer portable, reliable 2D code reading under the harshest industrial conditions, including Data Matrix codes and QR codes. Communication options include serial, Ethernet, WiFi and Bluetooth.

Data Matrix Code Verifiers

Data Matrix Code Verifiers

Cognex DataMan verifiers provide easy Data Matrix code mark quality verification and data validation. Hand-held and fixed-mount configurations available.

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Industry Specifications & Guidelines – Data Matrix Codes

International Standards

  • ISO/IEC 16022 – Bar Code Symbology Specification – Data Matrix
  • ISO/IEC 15415 – Bar Code Print Quality Test Specification – Two-Dimensional symbols

Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) Standards

  • B-1 – Bar Code Symbology Standard
  • B-4 – Parts Identification and Tracking Application Standard
  • B-13 – 2D Symbology White Paper
  • B-14 – Guidelines for use of Two-Dimensional Symbols with the B-10 Trading Partner Labels
  • B-17 – 2D Direct Parts Marking Guideline

U.S. Dept. of Defense (DoD) Standards

  • MIL-STD-130 – Identification Marking of U.S. Military Property

Air Transport Association (ATA) and International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG) Standards

  • ATA Spec 2000 Chapter 9 – Automated Identification and Data Capture
  • AS9132 – Data Matrix (2D) Coding Quality Requirements for Parts Marking

NASA Standards

  • NASA-STD-6002 – Applying Data Matrix Identification Symbols on Aerospace Parts
  • NASA-HDBK-6003 – Application of Data Matrix Identification Symbols to Aerospace Parts Using Direct Part Marking Methods/Techniques

Electronics Industry Association (EIA)

  • EIA 706 – Component Marking
  • EIA 802 – Product Marking

AIM Global

  • AIM DPM-1-2006 – Direct Part Marking (DPM) Quality Guideline