The Future of Barcode Technology and Direct Part Marking-AKA DPM | Business Data Collection Tools

What is Direct Part Marking (DPM)?

Direct Part Marking or DPM is similar to the use of barcodes on products. However, in this case, a two-dimensional barcode is physically etched with a laser, onto the part or piece, usually metal or glass.

Who uses DPMs

DPM is used by a variety of industries:

  • The automotive industry started the trend of DPM by etching QR codes onto automotive parts. Toyota used the QR codes to track their parts and car inventory. This trend may become more important as we enter an age of counterfeiting products.
  • The Department of Defense uses it to track equipment and utilizes a special code, Unique Identification Marking. They also use barcodes and QR codes as DPMs.
  • It’s a growing trend in medical equipment in order to track its detailed history, to eliminate places where bacteria can hide and grow, to meet certain standards, and to keep track of it’s lifecycle/end of usefulness. Organizations like the FDA refer to DPM as Unique Device Identification (UDI).

Why use DPMs

Having an etched barcode on a product ensures that a barcode isn’t going to get lost or destroyed by being in a hot warehouse or outside in the weather. This certainly makes sense for automobiles.

When it comes to smaller items, DPMs can be tiny in proportion to the part – as small as two millimeters square. That takes up a small portion of a part surface, yet packs a powerful punch when it comes to parts management.

How does that relate to you and your business? Consider that barcode scanning can simplify manufacturing, supply chain processes, and even project management.


The future of scanning DPMs

At one time, smartphone apps couldn’t process the scans of DPMs. In order to process the information, companies had to purchase large, expensive, and bulky DPM scanning equipment.

Since we love solving scanning problems, we took on the issue of scanning DPM barcodes with a smartphone. Now we have clients who can use our iOS app, Scan to Spreadsheet, to scan DPMs, which wasn’t easy! Codes etched into glass aren’t the perfectly straight lines you see in standard, printed barcodes.

For example, our solar company client can have their workers download the app onto their smartphones, then send them out to get the work done. They scan the solar panels that have DPMs etched into the glass, log the work that’s been done on the spreadsheet, and they are good to go. They don’t even have to be online in order to use the app!

We're proud of the work we've done to make DPM Barcode Scanning possible!

Want to know more? Give us a call at  1-651-560-9464, or email us at for more information!