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Compressed symbology for direct parts marking

Each year, NASA must track millions of parts,even tiny electrical parts no larger than a dime.While the use of bar code labels has savedNASA millions of dollars annually, the labelsdid not work well on smallparts. Compressed Symbologyis a term that describes themarking of a permanent matrixbar code symbol directly on thesurface of a part. The code canthen be read with a chargedcouple device scanner similar tolaser scanners in grocery stores.This two-dimensional symbolmarking system, developed byHarry Schramm, addresses theinherent need in the aerospaceindustry for parts tracking.The evolution of the technology is the result ofpartnerships with eight commercial partners,including CiMatrix and its parent company,Robotic Vision Systems, Inc. In theagreements, NASA provided parts and materials, while its partners provided labor andexpertise. To date, the technology has beensuccessfully applied to more than 80 differentmaterials, including metal, plastics, paper,fabric, and ceramics. TheCompressed Symbologytechnology was inducted into theSpace Foundation Hall of Famein 2001.The primary benefit of thistechnology is the elimination ofpaper bar code labels that fall offor cease to function. Because themarking is permanent,identification information can beread accurately for the life of apart. Compressed Symbology willultimately have a broad customerbase in numerous industries, includingautomotives, aviation, and defense.
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