Drives and Controls Magazine
Novel barcode technology boosts 2D read rates
Published:  11 February, 2015

Cognex has developed a technology for reading 2D matrix and DPM (direct part mark) barcodes even when they do not have visible perimeters. The texture-based PowerGrid location algorithm takes “a unique, inside-out approach” to reading codes, and is claimed to increase read rates “dramatically” in applications where a part’s geometry, poor lighting or print-registration errors make it difficult to capture an image of the entire code.

Unlike conventional feature-based algorithms, which start by locating the finder pattern, the new technology looks for a pattern of alternating light and dark modules within the code. It can locate and read codes even when they is significant damage to – or complete elimination of – the finder pattern, clocking pattern, or quiet zone.

“Cognex is constantly seeking opportunities to improve our decoding algorithms,” says Carl Gerst, the company’s senior vice-president for ID Products. “After analysing images of codes that we couldn’t read, we determined that a high percentage showed significant finder pattern, clocking pattern, or quiet zone damage. Our engineers came up with a completely new and innovative technique that can find and read these codes without relying on the finder pattern. The result is nothing short of incredible.”

'Nothing short of incredible': the new barcode-reading algorithm is available on Cognex's DataMan 300 readers

The PowerGrid technology is now available on the X models of Cognex’s DataMan 300 fixed-mount barcode readers.