Tracking everything down to the last screw
The quality of complex industrial products may depend on the quality of each and every component. Failure of a component within an assembly often results in the entire batch being sorted out as potentially defective. This may result in costly product recalls. Traceability of even small, inexpensive components is the key to process optimization and hence to quality and sustainability.
Marker-free component identification by means of individual surface structure
Established tracing methods use component markers and often fail due to the costs incurred. The marking process involves additional production steps such as applying RFID labels or data matrix codes. Many marking techniques also affect the component's functionality, as is the case with engraving serial numbers on sealing surfaces or placing barcodes on decorative items. Furthermore, while some components are simply too small to be marked, those that can be are at risk of having their markers counterfeited.
Track & Trace Fingerprint Inline makes use of the existing individual microstructure of component surfaces for identification, so there are no additional costs per unit.
Data matching at the rate of production
On closer inspection, almost all technical surfaces reveal individual, incidental characteristics such as microstructures or interwoven colors. The Track & Trace Fingerprint Inline camera system takes high-resolution images of defined areas on the component’s surface. The specific structural patterns captured by the image and the way in which they are positioned relative to each other is used to generate a characteristic bit sequence, i. e. the fingerprint code. This fingerprint code is then stored in a database, combined with an individual ID. This process can be repeated to identify the component at a later date by taking an image of the very same component area and matching the newly generated fingerprint code to the codes stored in the database. If this there is a match, the component is clearly identified by the respective ID, which also allows attributing additional information such as measurement or production data to any individual component. Data synchronization is performed at production speed, making Track & Trace Fingerprint that can be used in inline.
Suitable for a wide range of materials, component geometries and sizes
Track & Trace Fingerprint Inline has been designed to enable traceability of different component sizes and geometries, from circuit boards with very small detection areas to cross-sectional areas of steel profiles. The method also works for rotationally symmetrical components and even their curved lateral surfaces. A wide range of materials, from plastics to precision machined aluminum, cast iron and varnished surfaces can be identified.