Columbia Marking Tools, Inc. Awarded Patent and Trademark on New Square Dot® Scribe Marking System for Imprinting 2D Matrix Codes


Chesterfield Township, Michigan - Columbia Marking Tools, Inc. has been awarded a U.S. Patent and Trademark on their programmable CNC scribe marking machine technology. The patent relates to marking scribes that encode data onto hard materials and more particularly to marking scribes that encode data represented by two-dimensional matrices i.e. 2D Matrix codes.

The new marking technology is referred to as the UID/Matrix 2D(TM) marking system. UID refers to the U.S. Department of Defense acronym for Unique Identification. (Reference MIL-STD-130L) On January 1, 2007, all "mission sensitive" components and parts purchased by the U.S. Department of Defense must be marked with 2D Matrix codes. The trademark for the marking technology is Square ◙ Dot®.

The basic design of the programmable CNC UID/Matrix 2D(TM) marking system utilizes an x-y-z axes slide arrangement that is driven through precise linear ballscrews. Standard machines are all electric but air-operated units are also available for extra deep marks. The scribe head, mounted on a platen that is linked to the slides, uses a diamond stylus to quietly scribe text or graphics into hard or soft surfaces producing fully-formed lines, curves, and in this case, 2D Matrix codes. The control of the head movement is provided by a programmable controller that interfaces with standard Windows® systems using special software which allows the user to create the 2D Matrix codes.

The key element of the patent is the ability of the Square ◙ Dot® scribe marking system to, in essence, displace material in a manner leaving a specifically recessed area formed of grooves and surrounded by ridges of displaced material that to the eye, or a camera, look like round dot-like indentations. These grooves and ridges form a very reflective multifaceted data cell with extremely high contrast between the grooves and the unscribed surface to enable a vision system to clearly and accurately distinguish where the grooves are, even in the presence of extraneous interfering marks or deposits. By interfacing the highly-accurate movement of the scribe head and x-y axes with CNC control, 2D Matrix codes can be marked at very high speed with Grade "A" readability, the highest standard rating, equivalent to 1,200 reads per second with no variations.

Initial government applications include the marking of a wide variety of military vehicle components. Other applications include placing Square ◙ Dot® 2D codes on tooling, automotive components, NASCAR engines, medical components, and aerospace components.

Columbia Marking Tools is a leading designer and manufacturer of metal and plastic marking equipment including stamps, roll marking dies, roll marking and impact marking machines, fully programmable peen/scribe marking and UID/2D Square ◙ Dot® machines, numbering heads and special marking machines.

Caption for Photograph
(Fig. 1 CMT141A) - New Columbia Marking Tools UID/2D Square ◙ Dot® scribe marking system has been patented, trademarked and meets the specifications for the U.S. Department of Defense acronym for Unique Identification. (Reference MIL-STD-130L)

Send inquiries to:
Sales and Marketing Department
Columbia Marking Tools,
27430 Luckino
Chesterfield Township, MI 48047
Telephone (800) 469-MARK
FAX (586) 949-8401
Email: tjp@columbiamt.com

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