Coding and controlling for the automotive sector

Posted on 10 Jul 2014 by Callum Bentley

A modern vehicle contains thousands of individual components, many carrying a specific part number, so there is no room for error in the selection of coding and marking equipment.

From suppliers manufacturing the smallest parts to vehicle makers relying on the correct coding for traceability through the assembly process and beyond, the coding of information which stays in place is a crucial part of the process.

Whether printing onto metal, rubber, plastic, glass, fabric or card the importance of robust coding for traceability and supply chain management is clear. Manufacturers are looking to global traceability and containment solutions, to maximise their responsiveness and minimise the impact of vehicle recalls due to faulty parts.

Direct part marking, especially with the use of 2D codes, can combine with the use of vision systems to make the traceability process as smooth as possible.

And the cost to a vehicle manufacturer of dealing with the consequences of a defective part can be huge, taking into account not just recall costs, but possible fines, loss of share value and damage to reputation.

Effective coding can help in the fight against counterfeit auto parts such as brake pads, tyres, suspension components, steering linkages and other accessories.

Linx’s own Voice of Customer research in 2014 suggests that the key coding and marking requirement in the vehicle components industry is the no-compromise demand for effective codes for traceability, plus the need for coding and marking equipment to work reliably.

Inks which are resistant to heat, dust or oil can deliver longer-lasting codes in even the harshest production environments, with high contrast pigmented inks offering better clarity.

The latest coders are easy to set up and manage on highly automated production lines. Simple message selection, intuitive user interfaces and a large message storage capacity help ensure the right code is selected first time, every time. Automated message selection and remote monitoring (even by smartphone) further reduce the risk of code errors.

Effective coding and marking technology delivers robust, legible and traceable coding on any substrate, with the ability to print with permanence, in a range of colours and styles.

The leading coders are built for durable coding during continuous operation, with long service intervals and low-cost maintenance to maximise production performance while minimising operating cost.

IP55 and IP65-rated steel enclosures offer protection against water and particle contamination such as carbon or rubber dust, preventing stoppages and offering high quality continuous coding. Other features help towards reliable operation even in exceptionally dusty production environments.

Built for busy production lines where coding requirements frequently change, coders can be linked to a central PC to reduce the chance of manual errors when producing multiple products or for multiple customers.

Some printers are easily transferrable between lines, giving extra flexibility and saving time in production. Traversing printheads give greater flexibility for larger components, such as sheet metal, or across multi-lanes.

And with vehicle manufacturers often managing their supply chain on LEAN principles, effective coders mean you are well positioned to react quickly to fast-changing customer requirements.
In an industry which requires information to be printed onto individual components at various stages of the process, coding and marking equipment must be able to meet complex demands comfortably.

An effective coding solution, tailored to the manufacturer’s requirements, can help facilitate smooth manufacturing and assembly processes, as well as helping vehicle manufacturers deliver top-quality after-care to drivers.

For more information about coding and marking for the automotive industry, read the white paper at