4Jet Technologies, based in Alsdorf, Germany, has won the Innovation Award at Reifen 2016 in the ‘Service Concept and Process Optimisation’ category. The award was won for the company’s development of a solution to individually mark every tyre with a unique and permanent QR code that can be identified with most smartphone camera apps.
The laser marking process engraves an individual QR code in tyre sidewalls. The high contrast engraving can be read using public domain apps available for Apple iOS or Android devices. The Scannect solution – short for ‘scan and connect’ - enables the ability of tracing tyres through their life cycle and to get in closer touch with the tyre industry’s end customers.
Compared to conventional laser marking, which only leaves a low contrast mark on the black tyre surface, the Scannect process creates a deep black marking on the bottom of the engraving, providing enough contrast to be read with cameras in mobile devices. Marking is performed by the latest version of 4Jet's line of T-Mark systems. Laser engraved QR codes are recessed into the surface of the tyre, protecting them from wear.
Such a direct link provides advantages for all stages of the tyre value chain. Manufacturers can get to know their end customers and address them with specific marketing campaigns, such as warranty extensions, winter tyre promotions and social media campaigns. Car tyre manufacturers can employ QR codes as a means of assuring traceability and reducing the impact of product recalls. Commercial fleet managers can use laser markings to organise inventory, track usage and prevent theft. End customers can retrieve valuable technical and commercial information about their tyre specs, suitable replacements or quickly enter online market places for replacements or to sell used tyres.