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Direct Part Marking (DPM)

Direct Part Marking DPM is a process to permanently mark parts with a barcode.

The interpretation of 'permanent' often depends on the context the part is used. In the aerospace industry an aircraft part may be in service for over 30 years. Within telecom and computer industries the life cycle may only lasts a few years.

Direct Part Marking DPM is often used by automotive, aerospace, pharmaceutical, surgical instruments and electronic manufacturers to facilitate a reliable identification of their parts. This can assist in data logging for safety, warranty issues and satisfy regulatory requirements.

Also the United States Department of Defense demands a physical mark on tangible assets in conjunction with the Item Unique Identification.

They are many way to encode information to a machine-readable code. The preferred code are the Data Matrix and the QR Code. Data Matrix is used by Motorola. It is also preferred by NASA to mark parts. In the automotive industries also the QR Code is used. This is founded in the fact that this code was initially developed by Denso Wave (a global automotive components manufacturer) for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing.

Direct Part Marking Solutions - DPM

Tracking individual components can be a costly proposition when standard product labelling techniques fail to measure up over time. Direct Part Marking - DPM provides a permanent marking solution that ensures readability throughout the life of your products, even when subjected to harsh environments during the manufacturing process.

Meet traceability requirements imposed by regulatory and government entities, such as the U.S. Department of Defence, with high-performance DPM readers from Motorola's cost-effective alternative to standard vision systems.

Enjoy flexibility and performance.

Give your production line and quality teams the flexibility they need to read DPM when and where they need to, while performing a variety of other tasks. Available in multiple form factors - a handheld or fixed-mount scanner, or a rugged mobile computer - Motorola DPM Readers read a wide variety of marks, including:

  • dot peening
  • laser etching
  • chemical marking
  • molding
  • casting methods
  • Abrasive blasting
  • Adhesive dispensing
  • Cast, forge or mold
  • Scribe
  • Electro-chemical etching
  • Embroidery
  • Engraving/milling
  • Laser marking
  • LaserShot peeing
  • Stencil (mechanical cut, photo process, laser cut)

On multiple substrates, including:

  • metal
  • plastic
  • glass

Minimize investment and process changes.

Track, monitor and manage parts ranging in value from pennies to millions of dollars with minimal investment or process change. Maximize production efficiency while leveraging the same DPM product investment to perform quality, warehouse and other line-side functions. Much less complex than traditional vision systems, Direct Part Marking solutions from Motorola are rapidly deployable with minimal user training.

Key benefits that can be realized include:

  • Increased worker productivity
  • Streamlined data collection
  • Improved data accuracy
  • Improved product quality
  • Cost-effective compliance with traceability regulations
MC70 Handheld Mobile Computer
Your business becomes mobile with a cell phone, PDA, computer, scanner and imager combined into a single rugged unit.
Symbol DS3400 Series of Rugged 1D/2D Imager Scanners
Omni-directional digital scanners that read 1D/2D bar codes — as well as direct part marks — and capture and transfer images.
MC70 MC3000 Handheld Mobile Computer (Gun Configuration)
This pistol-grip device scans a variety of bar codes, freeing your mobile work fleet with a highly customizable real-time mobile computing.
MC70 Symbol MiniScan MS4400 Fixed Mount Bar Code Scanner
Big performance in a small space with an imager that reads 1D and 2D bar codes, direct part marks and images.
MC3000 Handheld Mobile Computer (Brick Configuration)
This handheld device gives your mobile work fleet a highly customizable mobile computer for real-time computing.
MC70 Symbol DS6707-DP Handheld DPM Digital Imager Scanner
Premier imager scanner captures 1D/2D/PDF/postal bar codes, images and direct part marks – including the most challenging mark, dot peen.
MC70 MC909X-G Rugged Handheld Mobile Computer
This device offers advanced data capture and integrated wireless WAN/LAN/PAN for anywhere anytime voice and data connectivity.
MC70 Symbol DS3478 Series of Rugged, Cordless 1D/2D Imager Scanners
This series of cordless, digital, omni-directional scanners reads 1D/2D bar codes and DPM.

Direct Part Marking (DPM)

Tracking individual components can be a costly proposition when standard product labelling techniques fail to measure up over time. Direct Part Marking (DPM) provides a permanent marking solution that ensures readability throughout the life of your products, even when subjected to harsh environments during the manufacturing process.

There are many business benefits to the implementation of Direct Part Marking:

  • True "Cradle to Grave" traceability of product
  • Improvement of Manufacturing Processes
  • Identification of quality defects throughout the Manufacturing Process
  • Eliminates Manual Data Entry and therefore Human Error
  • Supports Data Logging and Automatic Data Collection
  • Consequently reducing the overall cost of manufacturing  

Initially, the code has to be marked in some way and the method is dependant on the material to be marked, the required lifespan of the mark, the accessibility of the area to be marked, production speed / volume etc. The most common methods of marking are Laser-etching, Dot peening, Ink-jetting and Chemical-etching.

Dot Peening
Dot Peening is achieved by pneumatically or electromechanically striking a carbide- or diamond tipped stylus against the material being marked.
Advantages: Low initial cost, permanent mark
Disadvantages: Slow, Contact / Impact marking
MC70 Laser Etching
Laser Etching applies heat to the surface of a part that causes the surface of the part to melt, vaporise or change in some way to produce a mark.
Advantages: High quality mark, non-contact, permanent mark
Disadvantages: High initial cost
Ink Jet Printers
Ink Jet Printers precisely propel ink drops to the part surface, after which the fluid evaporates and leaves a coloured die that creates the pattern of modules that make up the mark.
Advantages: High speed, low initial cost, non-contact
Disadvantages: Consumable costs, less permanent
MC70 Electro-Chemical Etching
Electro-Chemical Etching is a process whereby the mark is produced by oxidizing metal from the surface being marked through a stencil impression
Advantages: Low initial cost, not surface-changing
Disadvantages: Slow, consumable costs



Verification is required in many instances to check the quality of code, particularly at time of marking. This can provide immediate feedback as to any changes to the marking process. For example, the verifier can monitor tip wear on a dot peen machine by monitoring dot size, and flag the operator.

At the marking stage, during the manufacturing process and throughout the products lifecycle, the mark will be required to be read. Depending on the situation and the environment, this could be with a handheld reader tethered to a host computer or with a remote Bluetooth connection.

The information could be gathered with a Mobile Computer with inbuilt reader and wirelessly transmitted back to the host. Fixed Position readers are used for automatically collecting the data on some form of automated transfer or a presentation type reader used in an application where the user needs to be "hands-free".