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BUMPY BAR CODES Zero Contrast Readers

Harsh Bar Code Tags

There are several different methods of generating Bumpy Bar Code tags for labeling Line Replaceable Units (LRU), panels and other appropriate parts. These methods include embossing, indent marking, and chemical etching.

Embossing machines generate Bumpy Bar Code tags in steel, aluminum, and plastic. The mark is obtained by a male and female die simultaneously (one from below and the other from above) punching the tag to form the character. This is the same process used to make credit cards. Tag sizes range in height from .5 inches to 3.6 inches and in length from 1.2 inches to 4.6 inches allowing ample room for multiple bar codes and other desired human readable characters. These tags can be attached to an LRU via rivets, machine screws, welding or hand wire.

The table-top embossing machine is controlled interactively using a Windows™ based software program which allows serial bar code generation or direct control from an MRP or ERP system. The embosser currently supports Bumpy Bar Codes in Code I 2 of 5 and PosiCode. An automatic feed option allows generating many tags in an unattended mode.


Indent Markers
Indent markers (also known as dot peen markers) can also generate Bumpy Bar Code tags on a low volume basis (less than 500 tags per shift per machine) in aluminum and stainless steel tag stock. The indent marker can generate both Bumpy Bar Codes and human readable characters.

For serial number tags, the Bumpy Bar Code mark can be created by a pneumatically driven "chisel" stylus impacting the metal to create bars, and a "dot" stylus impacts the metal to generate the human-readable characters. The stylus is accurately moved incrementally in each successive impact to create the series of bars in the Bumpy Bar Code. For a part number, both the Bumpy Bar Code and the human readable characters are often created via die stamping.

Indent markers can mark flat metal as well as pipes and other curved surfaces. Table-top models are used for small parts, while models that mount directly over an assembly line are used for larger parts. The machines are controlled interactively using a computer controlled software program which allows serial bar code generation or direct control from an MRP/ERP system.


Chemical Etching
Chemical etching is an offsite method of generating Bumpy Bar Code tags. First, a photo image of the bar codes is placed on a sheet of metal. Then the metal is treated with light and run through an "acid shower". The acid disintegrates the metal where the bars and human readable are located. This process can generate multiple bar codes and any required human readable characters. The size of the bar code tags can vary from very large (20" by 20") to very small (.375" by .75"). Chemical etching can generate Bumpy Bar Code tags in aluminum, stainless steel, titanium, inkanel, hastoloy and other aerospace metals.

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Last modified: March 21, 2006