2D code laser marking (Data Matrix and QR codes)

Data matrix codes are a type of industrial identifier. They are high density bidimensional 2D barcodes enabling the encoding of text or numeric data. A 2D code is composed of black and white cells arranged in a square pattern.

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There are several advantages of 2D codes compared to standard one dimensional barcodes.

First, the surface area covered by datamatrix codes represents dimensions that are generally much larger than the width of the lines making up a 1D barcode. This makes the 2D code more easy to detect on uneven or cracked surfaces. In addition, the 2D barcode can contain more information than a 1D barcode of the same dimension. Another important difference between the 2D and the 1D barcode is the type of detection system used. A 1D barcode is generally detected with a laser based detector that scans a laser beam across the lines of the barcode. The reading is based on the time between the detection of the reflected signal from the black and white lines (black reflects much less laser energy than the white spaces between the lines). This time signal is analysed to find the coded message. Standard 2D barcode detection, such as datamatrix or QR codes, works differently. It uses an image analysis algorithm to analyse an image acquired by a camera. This type of detection can be also tuned to detect 2D codes presenting a non optimal contrast. It is important to understand that the bigger the identifier is, the more time it requires to mark it. For a given identifier type and size, the time necessary to mark it is proportional to the laser power of the marking system.

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