Laser marking on plastic parts

Datamatrix Codes for Automatic Identification

Definition

In Datamatrix codes the information is encoded in a two-dimensional data matrix which allows the code to contain a large amount of decodable information quickly and safely, without having to access a database where it is stored The information related to this code as it usually happens in the case of one-dimensional barcodes.

The security that they are able to incorporate these codes makes them almost invulnerables to the aggressions and the elements. To spoil the readability of a one-dimensional bar code, simply add another bar at the beginning or end of the symbol or draw a line parallel to the bars anywhere within the code. Datamatrix 2D codes can be constructed with many degrees of redundancy (security), thus doubling the information in its entirety or only vital data. Redundancy increases the dimensions of the symbol but the content security increases noticeably.

Datmatrix codes can be scanned at much lower contrast levels than are required for bar codes, which is very useful when coding has been damaged or affected by liquids, paint, scratches or dirt, as well as in cases where Have been directly produced on reflective metal surfaces (eg micro-percussion-labeled codes). It is possible to decode all information contained in a Datamatrix code even though it has been completely damaged around 30% of the complete code.

As with linear bar codes (1D), the Data Matrix code has a mandatory “silent zone” zone. This is an area around the symbol that should not contain any graphic element that could make it difficult to read the code. In the case of Datamatrix codes this zone is equivalent to the X-dimension of the symbol on each of the four sides.
Datamatrix Symbologies

ECC 200
The Data Matrix ECC 200 consists of two separate parts: the pattern finder used by the scanner to locate the symbol and the data encoded in it. The pattern finder defines the format (square or rectangular), the size, the X-dimension, and the number of rows and columns in the symbol.

The solid dark side solid trace is called the “Pattern Finder L”. It is mainly used to determine the size, orientation and distortion of the symbol. The other two sides of the pattern finder are alternating light and dark elements, known as “Tracking Clock.” This defines the basic structure of the symbol and can also help determine its size and distortion. The data is then encoded into an array within the Pattern Finder. This is the translation to characters (numeric or alphanumeric) of binary Data Matrix symbology.

Each Data Matrix symbol consists of a number of rows and columns. In the ECC 200 version, the number of rows and columns is always an even number. Therefore the ECC 200 code always has a blank “square” in the upper right corner. Obviously, this corner will be dark if the Data Matrix symbol is printed in negative (complementary colors).
The Datamatrix ECC 200 code symbology is mainly used in identification and marking applications for industrial parts and products.

QR Code
It is a Datamatrix code with a general purpose matrix designed for rapid information scanning. The QR code is efficient and was designed by Toyota to encode Japanese Kanji characters. The QR code is square in shape and can be easily identified and at very high speed thanks to its pattern of dark and clear squares in three of the corners of the symbol.
Currently the QR code code is imposed in applications for automatic data capture in communication, commercial and advertising applications.
Advantages of Datamatrix codes

Datamatrix codes have been created to identify objects and facilitate the automatic capture of the information contained in them, eliminating the possibility of errors in data entry.
Some of the numerous advantages in using Datamatrix codes on other identification procedures are:

  • Great information capacity; Alphanumeric up to 3116 characters and numerical up to 2335 characters.
  • Symbology of small dimensions (from 2 x 2 mm).
  • Multi-directional reading 360º, does not require alignment of the scanner.
  • Symbol highly robust front error reading thanks to error correction.
  • Reproducible through the current marking and printing systems.
  • Barcode reading and printing equipment is flexible and easy to install.
  • There are virtually no delays since the information is read until it can be used.
  • It improves the accuracy of the data, there is a greater accuracy of information.
  • You can have better quality control, better customer service.

Applications

Thanks to the combination of the DataMatrix symbol features, (small size, high data storage capacity, can be marked on paper, plastic, metal, glass) the uses and applications of this type of symbols are multiple.

In the industry, it allows to mark components individually identifying to the manufacturer date of manufacture, lot number etc. Likewise, it allows the identification of very small items (such as electronic components).

It also allows the labeling of hazardous materials (radioactive, toxic etc.) for long-term control and storage, as well as the marking of components for quality control.

In the health sector, it allows the storage of information on composition, prescription, serial number, dates, lots, etc. This allows a traceability system to be set up in the medicines that can reach up to the individual dose.

They also have applications in e-commerce, since the DataMatrix symbology allows to encode web addresses that can be captured by the camera of a mobile phone.

It has applications in the postal service to automate and sort the mail, since it allows the encoding of a postal address in a two-dimensional symbol and its subsequent printing on envelopes, letters, etc …

It has applications in lottery tickets, restaurant checks etc. where specific information about the customer can be coded to avoid the possibility of fraud. It has applications in financial institutions ensuring safe transactions by coding information in checks.

Among many other applications we can mention:

  • Control of materials in processes
  • Inventory control
  • Motion Control
  • Time and attendance control
  • Access control
  • Point of sale
  • Quality Assurance
  • Control of shipments and receipts
  • Document control and document tracking
  • Precise Tracking in Activities
  • Accurate tracking of transported goods
  • Electronic order picking
  • Billing
    Etc…