We have collected frequently asked questions (FAQ) about matriq’s DynamicMold® (DM) marking technology and have categorized the answers for various provider in the value chain. 

addressing mold makers:

How is DM marking technology integrated into a mold tool?

A small 8mm diameter mold insert is foreseen in each cavity of the mold. These inserts are integrated similarly to temperature or pressure sensors, at the location where the marking should be placed on the plastic product. Thin cables are wired from the insert to the DM-controller that is placed on the side of the mold. matriq provides CAD files (step) for the insert and can also support the integration planning. 

What needs to be regarded when designing for DynamicMold marking?

Generally, there is a high flexibility for the placement and integration of a DynamicMold Insert. It should be considered that the lower the temperature at the position of the marking Insert is, the better the code contrast and the longer its lifetime. As a rule of thumb, further away of the injection point, larger distance to a hut runner, lower pressures and lower mold temperatures are advantageous.  

Can DynamicMold be retrofitted into an existing mold tool?

Yes, this is most often possible. The DM-Insert needs an 8-mm diameter hole with a slightly wider opening in the back (refer to our drawings in the download area), also accommodating the cable channel in each cavity, comparable to a temperature or pressure sensor. In some cases, an existing manual date stamp can be replaced by an DM-Insert. Since the insert need a cable connection, cooling channels and ejecting mechanics should not block the way.

addressing injection molders

What hardware is necessary to install DM marking?

Marking by matriq requires three hardware pieces: a DynamicMold Insert that is incorporated into each mold tool cavity, a DM Controller sitting on the side of the mold that connects all Inserts, and the LinQ that provides the power and the network connection aside of the forming machine. In our first version of the system, up to 4 inserts are driven by one Controller. 

Does the DM product require additional space or infrastructure?

As a strong advantage, marking by matriq’s DynamicMold® technology needs no additional footprint at the production site. It does not require any additional equipment nor process steps and takes only milliseconds, right inside the fabrication machine, not affecting the product cycle time. We help freeing space for other equipment in the production area. 

Which polymer types can DM technology mark?

The DM-insert has meanwhile been tested for marking polymers and copolymers of many types, among such as PP, PS, PC, ABS, PA, PC/ABS, PC/PET, TPE, COP, PET, and PE. DynamicMold® allows marking also for other polymers. Apart from the polymer type, the code contrast also depends on the filler, the additives used, and the employed forming process (temperature, pressure), along with the shape of the plastic part and the placement of the insert. Therefore, we offer testing of your polymers with your requirement (e.g. pressure, temperature) on our own injection molding machines. Please contact us. 

Are fiber- or particle-filled (reinforced) polymers markable by DynamicMold? To what filling factor?

We strive to develop our DM technology to be suitable for any polymer and any application. Our focus is achieving the highest code quality and contrast on the marked part, along with a long-lasting performance. Here, pressure and temperature of the process, the employed polymer (the flow curve of the polymer melt, i.e. the viscosity versus shear rate in the log-log scale), and the shape and location of the DynamicMold Insert all determine the marking performance. Adding fibers to the polymer might change these performance indicators in a way that the native surface of the plastic device cannot remold the pixel of the code in a sufficiently high quality. Fill factors of glass fibers up to 15 to 30% yield most often good contrast (depending on the viscosity of the matrix polymer), Polymers filled with talc are performing well with our technology. Also, polymers with flame retardants work well. We offer testing your specific materials on our machines. 

What is the lifetime of the DM-insert before replacement is required?

Today, the DM-insert lifetime is shown to have more than 150’000 cycles (DM-date). We are currently testing enhanced insert variants with coding durability of at least 250’000 cycles, with a final target of over one million shots per insert. We use state-of-the-art hard coatings to enhance the durability of the mold inserts. The lifetime of inserts is also influenced by the abrasion properties of the polymer and its filler used and the pressure and temperature of the forming process. 

What interfaces / connectivity is DM providing?

DM is operated by a DM-Controller mounted on the outer side of the mold. The triggering of the marking is independent from the forming machine. Single cables connect all the inserts mounted in the mold cavities to the Controller. The Controller only needs a power supply (LinQ) and can handle the marking completely autonomously. The inserts are indeed equipped with temperature sensors monitoring the molding/forming process and self-triggering the marking. The connectivity to MES or SCADA systems of our customers or to the cloud solution are provided by OPC UA or TCP/IP. 

Is specific software available?

DM hardware is complemented by a software and GUI allowing the machine operator to monitor the marking process using a browser interface on a tablet or a separate computer. Two key parameters generating optimal contrast and achieve the highest code quality on the final part. The status of all inserts and all pixels is recorded continuously. Also, the marking information (date/time or serial number/code management) is determined. 

Can DynamicMold marking also be used after the parts have been produced?

Principally, marking a plastic product after it has already been formed (down-stream) is possible. However, the marking process requires much more heating energy, might reduce the Insert’s lifetime, and loses its advantageous edge. We do not recommend using DynamicMold outside the forming process. 

addressing product owners / OEM:

Why do we need marking?

Regulations and European directives aim at stronger liability and enforce circular economy for plastic manufacturer. Marking plastic products helps tracking and tracing your device for individualization, identify, quality control, and protection. It adds value to the single part by association information to the very single object. In certain markets, marking has become even mandatory: with a unique device identification (UDI) enforced by regulations for an always increasing number of products, especially in the MedTech and in-vitro diagnostics market. The rationale behind is clear: quality control and traceability. In other sectors, such as automotive and industrial, having a unique identification code on each part would ease the management of recall campaigns and the association to its origin and manufacturing parameters. 

Which plastic forming process is the DynamicMold® technology compatible with?

The DM-technology was originally designed for marking in injection molding processes. However, thanks to its versatility and plug-and-play nature, it is compatible with other plastic forming processes such as thermoforming, blow molding, and hot embossing. 

Which type of products can the DM-date Insert mark?

We can mark any product totally or partially made of plastics (coming out of a forming or reshaping process). We are providing our marking services for different applications: MedTech, life science, pharma packaging, automotive, electronic/electric, consumer goods, and various other industrial use. 

Is it possible to mark curved objects?

It depends on the radius of curvature of the object to be marked. Our actual inserts have a diameter of 8 mm producing a 2D code of 5 mm by 5 mm. This requires a flat surface matching the Insert’s diameter or a flattened spot on the round surface. (For thermoforming and blow molding of curved objects, the softened polymer accommodates for these flattened areas well, yielding good results). 

What is the smallest size of codes matriq can provide?

Our first product DM-date issues – as the name suggests – a digital date and time code on the plastic product surface with a resolution of 1 hour. This type of code will occupy an area of 4mm x 5mm. Our next generation product called DM-qode produces DataMatrix codes that will occupy a chip area of 4.3 mm x 4.3 mm (and an area of 3.92mm x 3.92mm for a 14x14 pixels code). Even if it is possible by our technology to have other designs and sizes for codes, we are today focusing on a 14x14 DataMatrix code generator in an 8mm round diameter housing. 

What is a DataMatrix Code (DMC)?

A Data Matrix is a modern ISO standard two-dimensional (2D) code consisting of dots or pixel arranged in either a square or rectangular pattern (a matrix). The information to be encoded can be text or numeric data of any type. The DataMatrix code has a built-in information redundancy such that it can retore up to 53% of missing or “defect” pixels. The storage capacity depends on the number of pixels: a 14x14 DataMatrix encodes 16 numbers or 10 alphanumeric characters, using the ECC200 standard. 

Which types of code can the DM-insert enable?

The DM-insert basically allows marking of different types of codes that are constructed by specially arranged pixels. As products today, we provide a binary code for date/time marking and we are about releasing a 196 pixels DataMatrix code. QR-codes, an older standard, are principally feasible, but require much more pixel for the same information content at lower error correction rates. QR, however, are not in our short-term focus. Moreover, we are able to integrate optical features to embed your company logo in our marking and enable brand protection. This is particularly suitable in case your product is facing copyfraud. 

addressing customers / end users

How can the code be read?

Products marked by DynamicMold carry a code on their surface that generates optical contrast – it is essentially a direct part marking. Industrial code reader cameras or standard handheld readers can read these DataMatrix codes on the plastic device. Proper lighting enhances the contrast of the code. DataMatrix is an ISO standard 2D code that is widely used in the industry – algorithms to read and interpret these codes are common. Given the individualization of every produced parts, all process data (e.g. temperature, pressure, …) and origin parameters (raw material, supplier, machine, mold, cavity etc.) of the specific product are associated, i.e. - linked to the issued code - in a cloud infrastructure and can be retrieved by scanning the code (for DM-qode) along the value chain as well as by the product final user. This allows the connectivity of our marking solution to the fullest along the whole value chain. 

Can the code be read by smart phone cameras?

Reading DataMatrix codes written by DynamicMold is possible by smart phone / mobile cameras. The 2D codes are industry (ISO) standard. Today, not all native camera apps on android or IOS phones can interpret DataMatrix codes directly, some need a separate app (such as provided by Cognex, by scandit, or by others).As always, a good illumination (stray light, ring light) is essential to achieve a good contrast. 

Is traceability a key enabler of circular economy?

Regulations and European directives aim at stronger liability and enforce circular economy for plastic manufacturer. Traceability and transparent value chains become imminent. Following plastic products along their life cycles till end-of-use (aka traceability) is possible when each part carries its own identity (by marking) that can be read and associated with all data of that very part. The global standardization organization GS1 for the identification of products promotes the “product pass” for an end-to-end traceability to enable circular economy. Our mission is to build the greenest and most easy-to-use marking technology in the world, fitting well with SDG 9.4, to make industries sustainable with increased efficiency.