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What is Direct Part Marking (DPM) – Frequently Asked Questions Answered (FAQ)


1. What does Direct Part Marking mean?

Direct Part Marking code on metal
Direct Part Marking creates a permanent connection between the part and its information

Typically, information on a part or component comes with some sort of label or button affixed to the part. Direct Part Marking takes a different approach. As the name already indicates, directly marked parts in manufacturing and production processes carry relevant product information on the part itself.

The idea behind DPM is to create a permanent connection between the part and its information. This connection remains intact over time and has proven itself to be very resilient to external influences or wear and tear.

2. Where is Direct Part Marking being used?

Direct Part Marking is used in a wide array of industries. Whether in automotive industries, mechanical engineering, or electronic manufacturing – there are applications galore for Direct Part Marking!

A typical scenario is marking a car part for later track and trace purposes. The car manufacturer benefits from the fact that he can exactly trace back when and where a faulty part was produced.

3. Which materials are suitable for Direct Part Marking?

Basically, every material except paper can be used for Direct Part Marking. The most common materials used include plastic/synthetic materials, metal, and glass.

4. How does Direct Part Marking work?

There are several different ways of directly attaching the information to a production part. Direct Part Marking often uses DataMatrix codes. These DataMatrix codes carry information in a compact way and don’t take up much space. Additionally, they are more reliable than standard barcodes.

Here are three of the most frequently used methods to place DataMatrix codes on production parts:

  • Laser Etching: The DataMatrix code is etched on the surface by a laser. This method is often used to mark printed circuit boards (PCBs) in electronics manufacturing, or to mark metal parts in automotive industries. Through its precision, it also allows extremely small DataMatrix codes.
  • Dot Peen Marking: The DataMatrix code is pinned into the material by a needle. This method ensures very robust and durable codes and is often used to mark metal production parts.
  • Ink Jet Marking: The DataMatrix code is sprayed onto the material with an ink jet. This method ensures a high contrast, but has disadvantages when it comes to durability. Simply put, the codes don’t last very long.

5. How is Direct Part Marking information read and transmitted?

Depending on the individual application, the most convenient way of reading out information on a directly marked product is either a stationary or handheld 2-D code reader. In most cases, a flexible handheld is the best solution. All of the Direct Part Marking methods require a reading device with illumination capability to reliably detect codes, and special decoding functions to read out the information and pass it on to your software system.

Direct Part Marking Handheld Reader OHV1000* – the Direct Part Marking expert

Our 2-D Code Handheld Reader OHV1000* makes handling Direct Part Marking codes easy
Our 2-D Code Handheld Reader OHV1000* makes handling Direct Part Marking codes easy

Surfaces vary widely and are often times highly reflective — posing a stiff challenge to 2-D code readers. Our 2-D Code Handheld Reader OHV1000* makes handling Direct Part Marking codes easy! It automatically adapts to different code symbologies on different surfaces, and reliably reads and transfers the information.

  • Reliable reading of all common DPM codes
  • Detection of all common and 1-D and 2-D code symbologies
  • Easy adaptation to different code sizes due to dual lens and 1.2 megapixel resolution
  • Unique parameterization tool "Vision Configurator" enables individual output string formatting to transfer detected data directly into ERP systems
  • USB and RS-232 interface for comfortable connection
  • Programming of complete applications directly on the handheld via JavaScript