Verification system selected for automotive powertrain traceability

MAY 12--The Acuity CiMatrix division of Robotic Vision Systems Inc. (RVSI; Nashua, NH; www.rvsi.com) has been selected as the preferred supplier to provide the DMx Auto ID+Express reading and verification system for a worldwide traceability initiative by a leading automotive company.

MAY 12--The Acuity CiMatrix division of Robotic Vision Systems Inc. (RVSI; Nashua, NH; www.rvsi.com) has been selected as the preferred supplier to provide the DMx Auto ID+Express reading and verification system for a worldwide traceability initiative by a leading automotive company. The automotive manufacturer's initiative calls for the implementation of component-level traceability of all automotive powertrain components over the next two years. Each part will be marked with a unique serial number encoded in a machine-readable, two-dimensional Data Matrix symbol. This symbol will allow the part to be tracked and identified, starting with the manufacturing process and then continuing throughout its performance life cycle.

The system selection was made by Indicon Corp. (Sterling Heights, MI), a system engineering and integration firm that serves large automotive manufacturers. The traceability initiative is designed to eliminate the expense of broad recalls to rectify problems that may affect only a small percentage of vehicles.

RVSI expects to ship its first products under this traceability initiative in the current quarter. The company believes that shipments to the automotive manufacturer and its first-tier suppliers will exceed $1 million over the next 12 months.

"Linear barcodes printed on paper labels have no place in an application such as this," said John Agapakis, vice president--products for RVSI Acuity CiMatrix. "This is an environment in which parts are moving at high speeds and with considerable build-up of heat, dirt, and other contaminants. Similarly, data tags or buttons that must be physically attached to a part will interfere with the part's operation.

"Automotive power trains are an ideal application for Data Matrix marks applied directly to parts via ink-jet printing, dot peening, or laser etching. Two-dimensional barcodes represent an important technology improvement in that they store substantial amounts of information in a small space and allow for error correction to be built into the mark," Agapakis said. "A Data Matrix mark a millimeter on a side can encode enough information to provide a complete manufacturing history of the component. In addition, two-dimensional codes such as Data Matrix encode information digitally provide the ability to print them directly on the part at a very low contrast."

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