Laser marking QR codes on tyres arrives in mass production of automotive OEMs
4JET Technologies' solution to individually and durably mark tires with a machine-readable QR code has arrived in mass production of automotive OEMs. First volume models of the BMW Group are fitted with the new technology since fall of 2018.
At the same time, two leading manufacturers of truck tires have chosen to introduce QR codes for new projects scheduled to go into mass production in 2019.
At this year's TIRE Technology Expo in Hanover 4JET informs about the significant progress: Already today approximately 20 tire factories on three continents are able to meet the requirements for durable and machine-readable codes at economical cost. Several automobile and tire manufacturers are planning follow-up projects at the moment.
The SCANNECT™ (short for "scan and connect") application allows for tires to be traced throughout the entire life cycle. 4JET has developed an extensive technology package:
Core of the solution is a laser process allowing for the tire marking with individual QR codes that are engraved into the side walls durably and protected against abrasion. The high contrast of the engraving enables the code to be read reliably by optical reading methods. Industry proven reading systems have been developed for use in tire logistics that ensure reading rates of > 99,9 %.
Furthermore, 4JET has developed the SCANNECT™ App, a software module to be integrated in mobile apps that allows for reading QR codes on the low-contrast black side walls of a tire. The "app-in-app" solution enables easy integration of code reading into mobile applications like online shops or fleet management solutions.
For quality control of the process 4JET has developed a grading solution. It allows for the evaluation of the code quality inline or by means of a desktop device.
The method has advantages over and complements current marking technologies:
Invisible and not yet standardized solutions for RFID tags in tires are perfectly complemented by the machine-readable, human-visible and durable QR codes.
Machine-readable paper barcodes only have a limited life cycle in contrast to the engraved QR codes.
Vulcanizing information via inserts in tire molds requires extensive logistics and is error-prone.
The SCANNECT™ application offers a durable individual marking that can be directly connected with a web-based CRM database. Such a direct link has advantages for all parties in the life cycle of a tire:
- Tire or automobile manufacturers can register their end customers in the course of warranty prolongations or other campaigns and target marketing actions – for example for winter tires.
- The improved traceability reduces the possible amount of product recalls by tire or automobile manufacturers.
- Fleet managers can use the laser markings to organize their stock, track the use and avoid theft.
- End customers may retrieve valuable technical and commercial information about their tires, find appropriate spare tires or sell their used tires on online platforms easily.
The QR codes can be engraved either at the tire plant, after the remolding or before being delivered. The technology enables to add customer specific sidewall information to stock tires after their production. Adding graphics or information in plain writing is no problem.
The industry-proven 4JET T-Mark marking systems are already used successfully by tire manufacturers all over the world to engrave serial numbers or logos.