Direct Parts Marking

Direct Part Marking is simply a process used to permanentlymark parts with a barcode. This allows that part to be tracked through themanufacturing, distribution, use and maintenance of a product. A specific parts metrics such as diameter,hardness, etc., can be encoded as well as a unique serial number. There are several marking technologiesconsidered as DPM, the primary ones are dot peening and laser etching.

UDI and UID are 2regulatory based applications for DPM. The Electronics Industry Association (EIA), Automotive Industry ActionGroup (AIAG), the Department of Defense(DOD), Air Transport Association (ATA), International Aerospace Quality Group(IAQG) andGS1 (for healthcare) have all adopted DPM standards.

All of the standards spell out the format and qualitystandards required. To determine if a code is up to standards, DPM verificationis used. AIS's Scanalyst3 platform is one of theDPM verifiers available.

The benefits to DPM include a higher level of permanencewhen compared to labeling or packaging. In addition, it is usually one of the lowest cost methods.

The difficulty is that you really have to knowwhat you are doing to get a reasonable chance of success. In addition to lighting and fixtures, thereare usually lots of variables to consider that will impact the quality(readability) of the code. Some partsrequiring DPM can be quite expensive. Engine blocks, transmissions, jet engineparts, medical implants, tools, etc. are some of the common candidates. Putting an unreadable code on an expensive partcould be a nightmare. Value destroyed rather than added. You will want to make sure you are doing itright.