Control Micro Systems is an industry leader in manufacturing custom computer controlled industrial laser systems. CMS' latest endeavor is a turnkey laser marking system for applying 2D Matrix Codes to beer kegs.
With the ever-increasing cost of stainless steel, the kegs used to distribute a company's product represents a sizeable investment. Many companies traditionally track their beer kegs through the sale/delivery/return distribution network with the use of preprinted paper barcode labels containing the keg's serial number. This system suffers from the impermanence of the paper labels resulting in frequently damaged or lost barcode serial numbers.
To solve the problem, Control Micro Systems developed a laser marking system designed to apply and verify ECC 200 2D matrix symbology directly on stainless steel beer kegs of various sizes. The 2D data matrix code was selected because it can store a significant amount of information in a much smaller area then a barcode and is readable in low contrast conditions. The 2D code incorporates very robust error checking algorithms that can be successfully read even if over 25% of the code has been damaged.
The marking system, utilizing a Ytterbium fiber laser, quickly and permanently marks the 2D matrix code on the surface of the keg without compromising the strength of the pressurized keg. The Ytterbium fiber laser is a “0” maintenance device with none of the realignment or optics maintenance required with other types of marking lasers.
The system also features a combination barcode/2D matrix code reader. The reader is initially used to scan the preexisting paper barcode label to retrieve the keg serial number. If the label is missing or illegible, the operator can enter the serial number on the system computer. After marking, the reader confirms both the content and readability of the laser engraved 2D matrix codes.
This laser marking system will help companies improve tracking of their assets and improve theft prevention of the valuable kegs.