Accurate direct part marking requires careful processes of selecting the marking methods and considering all the aspects involved with it.
The automatic identification technology that is recently being used by NASA, Pharmaceutical manufacturer, auto makers, aerospace industry and also by the Department of Defense (DoD) is direct part marking (DPM) method. This technique of marking the parts and assets assures permanent marking of unique identification for effective tracing and tracking process. Equipments and machinery in the petrochemical industry, engine pistons and transmission parts, surgical instruments and high-value tools, tires, etc. are the parts that are directly marked. As parts manufacturing is going global, many companies use the DPM technique of marking to ensure authenticity.
There are certain important aspects of consideration while implementing direct part marking.
- 2D data matrix codes are the perfect solution for direct part marking that requires error-free, small size and high data encoding capacity. The size of the codes is determined considering available space to enter data, amount of data to be entered, surface roughness, etc. However, it is important to meet the industry specifications with the marking.
- It is the component design that is crucial to determine the marking process of the item. dot peening, electro-chemical etching, laser marking, and ink-jet printing are the primary methods of applying direct part marking that are machine readable 2D data matrix codes.Working environment, part life expectancy, production volume, material composition, surface texture, available space are the other factors deciding the selection of direct part marking method.
- Deciding the location of the code is crucial for it affects the readability of data. The marking should be placed on the item that is clearly and prominently visible to the readers.Flat surface is the best choice for direct part marking. Reliable code reading involves etching the codes with perfect shape and size, and consistent individual module.
- Verification of the marking procedure is important to detect any error in the marking. It is essential to find out if the error is due to damage to the machine or wrong settings during part exchange, or poor part fixturing. A code verification system is also important for feedback in the marking process.
- There are specific types of decoder for direct part marking are fixed-mount readers, presentation readers, and hand-held readers. These readers differ in their functionality and application. Selection of the code is crucial and it is better to select one that will help consistent code reading and tolerate a wide range of code deformations.
- Network connectivity of the direct part mark reader enables the reader to transfer the output to the reading to the connected PC.
The direct part marking methods are increasingly becoming a commercial practice among many industrial sectors across the world. The 2D barcodes provides convenient and accurate method of data usage and storage for better management. The 2D barcodes used for the DPM enables storing data more efficiently in 2 directions the quality of the code is specified by the component definitions. In brief, direct part marking is a process that enhances item tracking process and aids to the management process of the items in a cost-effective way to produce quality.