Compact Multi-Code Reader for Reliable Identification of Data Matrix and 1D Codes


The Multi-Code Reader from ifm efector inc. is designed to read 2D Data Matrix Codes and 1D bar codes in high-speed industrial automation applications. The versatile Multi-Code reader can identify, verify and qualify most marking methods including dot-peened, laser-etched and printed DMC codes as well as printed barcodes. With a list price of $850.00 (U.S.), ifm states that the Multi-Code Reader is a new benchmark for price / performance in reliable identification of Data Matrix and 1D Codes.

The solid-state, robust metal housing measures 80 x 42 x 53 mm and is designed to withstand harsh environments and perform in fast-moving applications. The Multi-Code Reader features a maximum target speed of 7 meters/second. The unit reads three types of 2D and data matrix codes:  ECC200, PDF-417 and QR as well as 19 different styles of printed barcodes. The reader can identify data matrix codes in a variety of applications such as laser-etched code on glass, dot-peened code on highly reflective metal parts, and printed code on plastic.  

ifm’s Multi-Code Reader incorporates a high-performance CMOS images sensor with digital signal processor and an integrated lighting system. The camera features four individual lighting segments that can be turned on or off to achieve the proper brightness and contrast for readability. The unit does not require external lighting yet can interface to external lighting. The camera’s smart algorithm enables the unit to read code placed in any orientation. Even partially damaged or worn codes are reliably identified.

The Multi-Code Reader is easily setup in an application using the camera’s visible red beam for alignment. Its fine focus adjustment and auto recognition eliminates time-consuming setup. The camera can be configured through its on-board menus or through a PC-based software package. For application flexibility, the unit can mounted 2” to 30” from a code. A variety of mounting brackets are available for easy setup.

Application parameters are quickly established using the camera’s Setup Wizard which is used with a PC.  The Setup Wizard guides the user in a few steps to configure the application. The camera’s integrated verifier system matches read codes with user-defined codes and communicates the decoded data matrix to a controller. The reader has an integrated switching output for digital I/O and an Ethernet TCP/IP or serial RS232 for data transfer. Through the Setup Wizard, individual data matrix modules can be enlarged or reduced to improve readability.  

Two 24 VDC models are available with a VGA resolution of 640 x 480. Models are defined according to the required field of view and operating distance. The list price for the Multi-Code Reader is $850.00 (U.S.) which is 50% less than competing systems on the market.

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