I recently visited one of our EMS customers in China. We have been working with this customer for several years on various traceability applications for their electronic manufacturing lines. They just acquired a new project from a high-value customer who uses direct-part-marked electronic components in their designs. These components were marked with 2 mil 10 x 10 Data Matrix symbols. The end-customer demanded full traceability of all parts throughout the manufacturing process. This application would require us to read extremely small DPM codes. I picked up one of the components and could hardly see the code. At first I thought I might need new glasses. I had to hold the component up to the light at just the right angle to see the code, as it was marked on a very shiny and reflective surface. At that point the production manager admitted that they had tried readers from several other manufacturers, all without success. Fortunately, I had my systems engineer with me and we had one of our MicroHAWK ID-40 Ultra-High Density autofocus readers with us. These units are specially designed to read very small symbols. We set everything up and booted the laptop. As always, we simply opened a browser and connected to the reader. The production manager mentioned how happy he is with WebLink, as it allows him and his team to configure readers in the application without having to install any software on a PC. He told us that this saved his team several hours, since any software installation must be performed by IT and requires approval. You can imagine how much time is lost waiting around for those things to happen.
So, we put the part under the reader in a variety of positions, but couldn’t get a decode. The surface was too reflective. But, fortunately, we had a polarizer with us and installed it quickly. In no time at all we heard the familiar, reassuring beeping – good reads – and saw the decodes start to pile up in the WebLink interface. We tested the MicroHAWK ID-40 on several other parts with the same results: we could read all of them. The customer will be installing the new readers in the following weeks.
Another day, another project saved by Omron Microscan.
You can learn more about MicroHAWK barcode readers here.
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