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Laser marking technology for QR codes on tires enters mass production
Release time:2019-01-11 16:09:48 Writer by: David Belforte
4JET Technologies (Alsdorf, Germany) has developed a laser marking solution to individually and durably mark tires with a machine-readable QR code, which is now in mass production for automotive OEMs. Luxury automaker BMW (Munich, Germany) has been fitting its first-volume models with the new technology since the fall of 2018. At the same time, two leading manufacturers of truck tires have chosen to introduce QR codes for new projects that are scheduled to go into mass production in 2019. 
At the upcoming TIRE Technology Expo (to take place March 5-7, 2019 in Hannover, Germany), 4JET will inform attendees about its significant progress. Approximately 20 tire factories on three continents are able to meet the requirements for durable and machine-readable codes at economical cost, and 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. Core to the solution is a laser marking process that allows for the tire marking with individual QR codes, which are engraved into the sidewalls durably and protected against abrasion. The high contrast of the engraving enables the code to be read reliably by optical reading methods. Reading systems have been developed for use in tire logistics that ensure reading rates of >99.9%.
Related: 4JET intros laser marking solutions for the 'Internet of Tires'
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, the company has developed a grading solution that allows for evaluation of the code quality inline or by means of a desktop device. 
The QR codes can be engraved either at the tire plant, after the remolding, or before being delivered. The technology enables adding customer-specific sidewall information to stock tires after their production, as well as adding graphics or information in plain writing. 
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David Belforte Chief Editor, Industrial Laser Solutions
David is an internationally recognized authority on industrial laser materials processing and has been actively involved in this technology for more than 40 years. His consulting business, Belforte Associates, serves clients interested in advanced manufacturing applications. David holds degrees in Chemistry and Production Technology from Northeastern University (Boston, MA). As a researcher, he conducted basic studies in material synthesis for high-temperature applications and has held increasingly important positions with companies involved with high-technology materials processing. He co-founded a company that introduced several firsts in advanced welding technology and equipment. David's career in lasers started with the commercialization of the first industrial solid-state laser and a compact CO2 laser for sheet-metal cutting. For several years, he led the development of very high power CO2 lasers for welding and surface treating applications. In addition to consulting, David is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Industrial Laser Solutions magazine and contributes to other laser publications, including Laser Focus World.
For these, and other achievements, he received the prestigious Schawlow Award, he was elected to the  Ukraine Academy of Engineering Sciences, and appointed a Distinguished Expert/Professor at Zhejiang University of Technology. He is a Fellow and Life Member of the LIA, a Life Member of the SME, and a Gold Life Member of the AWS.
David is author of several hundred papers and articles and he has chaired numerous international laser events, including the first U.S./Japan conference on laser material processing (the predecessor to ICALEO), the first Laser/Robot conferences, and presented on laser processing at dozens of global conferences. He is the co-author of the Industrial Laser Annual Handbook series and other books.
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