Bumpy, or 3-D, Bar Code technology reads a bar code that is directly embedded – etched, stamped, molded – into a product. This technology permits data collection in environments where standard black and white bar coding techniques are ineffective. These environments include many industrial settings, such as tire manufacture, aircraft parts, and metal castings.
MECCO, specializing in part-marking for traceability, verification, and part identification, is an innovator in the Bumpy Bar Code arena. MECCO equipment is used to both imprint codes on products and product molds, and to read the codes using systems that combine hardware and software. Using MECCO technology, manufacturers can track their products and product components throughout their life cycle. Applications of traceability technology include analyzing the durability of different manufacturing lots, product or component recall, and distribution tracking. “We’ve been at this a long time,” says Dean Frenz, MECCO’s President. “We’re well over 100 years old, and we’ve seen our industry transform from making products like rubber stamps and metal type to today’s complex traceability systems that require sophisticated technology.”
MECCO’s technology needs led them to turn to Critical Link, which helped design a flexible traceability solution that met MECCO’s demands for data acquisition and transfer, as well as its needs for both fixed-mount and hand held versions of the product, low power consumption, a unique form factor, and both serial and USB connectivity.
“Critical Link was especially attractive to us because of the breadth of their engineering expertise,” said Frenz. “They have the talent to help us out with hardware, software, and mechanical design. They seem to have a really strong ability to grasp the big picture, and to help optimize how all the pieces come together to form that picture. This was invaluable to us.”
Working closely with MECCO, Critical Link engineers have been involved in all aspects of their Bumpy Bar Code reader development, including initial research and development efforts, optics design, de-coding algorithms, DSP processing, hardware design, mechanical packaging design and production management.
Recently acquired by new investors, MECCO is very focused on profitability, and the cost effectiveness of a MityDSP solution made working with Critical Link very attractive. “We estimate that, by working with Critical Link, we spent less than one third of what it would have cost us to develop the processing platform in house. Those savings flow directly to our bottom line,” Frenz said.