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by Kyle O'Brien on February 3, 2011
posted in Other Topics

Microscan is a company that likes to give back to the community and strongly believes in supporting local science and technology education. Microscan hosted a Science and Technology Day at a local Massachusetts public middle school. Over 50 6th graders took part in an interactive day learning about barcodes and illumination. Kyle O’Brien, Microscan’s Manager of Product Management, and Thomas Driscoll, Microscan’s Engineering Manager located in Nashua, NH traveled to the McCarthy Middle School in Chelmsford, MA to educate these 6th grades on imaging, barcode and lighting technology.

by Kyle O'Brien on October 15, 2010
posted in Solutions & Applications
I am often asked by customers implementing UID solutions, "Under what MIL-STD-130 do I need to comply with?" and "What verification standard should I use?" These are both good questions, and in fact are quite simple to answer.

The History of MIL-STD-130

The table below shows the history and high lights the changes in MIL-STD-130 Department of Defense, Identification Marking of U.S. Military Property.

Since the initial release of the UID mandate, MIL-STD-130 has progressed along with Data Matrix verification standards to help ensure the best quality measurements are used to grade UID marks. The most recent release of MIL-STD-130N in December 2007 includes the complete set of suggested lighting from the AIM DPM-1-2006 Quality Guideline. AIM DPM-1-2006 is the most recent industry verification guideline published for Direct Part Marking.

Oct. 10, 2003
ISO/IEC 16022
All marks
Dec. 21, 2004
MIL-STD-130L, Change 1
AS9132/IAQG or ISO/IEC15415
AS9132 for DPM ISO/IEC 15415 for labels
Dec. 2, 2005
ISO/IEC 15415 then AS9132
No rotational averaging Contrast and Modulation allowed to go to "C"
Lighting requirement 660nm Use ISO/IEC 15415 first then AS9132
Jun. 15, 2007
MIL-STD-130M, Change 1
AIM DPM-1-2006
For DPM, all lights except Dome, added 45° light from ISO/IEC 15415
December 2007
AIM DPM-1-2006
Addition of AIM DPM -1-2006 Dome Illumination for curved parts.

Read the Contract

What MIL-STD-130 do you need to comply with depends on the date of your contract that you are working under. The date of your contract determines the date of the MIL-STD-130 applicable to the contract. Therefore, a contract date of January 1, 2006 would have MIL-STD-130M, and a contract date of January 1, 2008 would have MIL-STD-130N applicable. Contracts can be amended to include more recent releases of MIL-STD-130, however this often requires a contract amendment and approval from the Contracting Officer. For this reason a company with multiple contracts with UID requirements need to ensure the UID verifier they choose is backwards compatible to MIL-STD-130. By way of example, both the Microscan DPM and LDP Verifiers pictured below provides for easy compliance to all of the MIL-STD-130 releases.
by Kyle O'Brien on June 22, 2010
posted in Solutions & Applications
If you take the time to review the current 2D Data Matrix verification standard published by AIM Global, the AIM Direct Part Mark Quality Guide (AIM DPM-1-2006) you will see that proper verification of Direct Part Marks (DPM) require multiple illumination techniques. AIM realized to properly illuminate all DPM marks, that multiple illumination techniques and angles were required for different marking methods, materials and surface characteristics. For this reason the AIM DPM standard, recently adopted by the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) in the B-17 Direct Parts Marking Guide and by the U.S. Department of Defense under their Unique Identification (UID) program, specifies verification of a 2D mark using illumination from 10 different lighting angles. These include 90º lighting where light is illuminated directly onto a part, Dome lighting where diffused light is emitted at multiple angles, 45º quadrant lighting where light is emitted from 4 sides at a 45º angle to the part, 30º quadrant, 30º twin North/South, 30º twin East/West, and 30º single where light is emitted from a 30º degree angle from different directions.

Let’s look at an example of a laser etched Data Matrix code on the curved surface of a gun barrel...
by Kyle O'Brien on February 9, 2010
posted in Solutions & Applications

Because Microscan has a specialty product line for reading 2D direct part marks (Hawk products) we are often asked by our customers to recommend what marking methods are best to use. Particularly with metal parts, clear and consistent marking is critical and this give an overview of four common methods.

There are many methods to directly mark objects. Selecting the best method for the application is critical to achieving success. Since each method has its own advantages and limitations, it is important to review and experiment with as many methods as possible before selecting the appropriate one.

Common methods for marking metal substrate include electro-chemical etch, laser etch, and dot peen on regular or machined metal.

Chemical Etch on metal:
  • Results in typically medium contrast, square element shape
  • Used in industries such as electronics, semiconductor and medical device manufacturing; Dept of Defense and aerospace suppliers
  • Advantages: Permanent, high quality mark, no debris from the process
  • Disadvantages: Potentially toxic material byproduct, low-volume use only