Data Matrix

What is Data Matrix?

The Data Matrix Code enables standardization in logistics

Traceability is one of the most important maxims in logistics. We are already familiar with this from our private lives when we check online where the package we have ordered is currently located and when it will arrive. In the business world, the whole thing takes on yet another dimension, which has an impact on customer management as well as internal distribution and goods handling.

Over the decades, technical support has made it possible to ship goods ever more efficiently, securely and traceably - and to guarantee that the products arrive as planned. The Data Matrix Code plays a central role here.

Definition Data Matrix: Standardization and normalization help to achieve success

The Data Matrix Code is a code system that is similar to the QR codes now also known in private use. This means that the code is read in quickly and thus displays the most important data. In principle, this is a 2D code, i.e. something that can be easily printed. The code usually consists of the following three components and can also contain color elements:

  • A "finder pattern" helps the readers to quickly find the Data Matrix code and thus locate what needs to be read.
  • The "Data Region" forms the core and represents the most important data that can be automatically recognized and individually assigned.
  • A final element is the "Alternating Pattern", which provides information on the frequency required for reading.
  • The documentation is simplified by an increased information content and at the same time the Data Matrix provides increased inspection reliability.
  • Combinability with other code systems is still available, allowing the Data Matrix to be used in a targeted manner.

To ensure that the whole thing really works, the Data Matrix Code also relies on standardization. The international standard ISO/IEC 16022:2006 is used for this purpose, which, among other things, standardizes the described properties and thus guarantees machine readability. The ISO/IEC TR 29158:2011 standard is also important, as it further defines the print quality for the required legibility.

Advantages of the Data Matrix compared to other systems

In addition to the Data Matrix, there are other systems with similar benefits. Two-dimensional codes include, for example, the classic barcodes that have been used in retail for decades. However, systems such as the classic barcode or the well-known QR code have certain disadvantages, which is why the Data Matrix, as a two-dimensional barcode, now plays a central role in logistics. The following advantages speak in favor of the Data Matrix:

  • The print documents can be quite variable. Although it is important that the code is displayed clearly and legibly and that the colors are correct, slight curvatures, for example, are not a major problem for legibility.
  • The code matrix can be reproduced extremely small and thus printed in a space-saving manner. This is an advantage both for small products and in terms of economy, especially for large quantities.
  • The code matrix allows it to be read extremely quickly by machines, which avoids delays in the logistics process.

In practice, the Data Matrix has consequently become widely established in a wide range of industries that rely on high data security, fast and simple logistics processes and flexibility.


Logistik-Lexikon Data Matrix

Picture: MIKHAIL GRACHIKOV / Shutterstock

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