Data Matrix: “A two-dimensional code consisting of black and white dots, or cells, arranged in either a square or rectangular pattern. The cells, or bits, are encoded with either text or numeric data that provides product information.”
Invented around 2005, today data matrix is found in almost every aspect of our lives as it inconspicuously connects complex processes. Take, for example, the data matrix which provides the highly specific information that’s printed on consumer products during manufacturing. That information then moves through a series of steps or processes which enable each product to be identified as it’s:
- Scanned, replicated, and printed on packaging.
- Transferred to a shipping manifest.
- Entered as “received” in the store’s database system.
- Used again to record a purchase, as well as reorder inventory.
And, in most cases, this product information is transferred at each step without significant human intervention, thereby eliminating the chance for costly errors and unnecessary delays.
File-to-finished products are made possible with Connex.
Muller Martini understands Industry 4.0 to mean the digitization and connectivity of processes and systems that have to a large extent been made possible by the invention of data matrix. Our Finishing 4.0 philosophy is about producing quality customized and variable print products in a cost-efficient, highly streamlined manner despite increased complexity on the production line. And, our Connex Workflow System utilizes data matrix to achieve extraordinary automation, whether for saddle stitching, softcover or hardcover production.
Connex’s modularity enables a highly efficient and expedient file-to-finish workflow process as it utilizes entered information from an MIS system from pre-press, to press, to finishing and then back to the MIS system. One Connex module, LineControl provides high-level production planning, delivery and setup data for each machine, beginning with the printing press. In addition, validation, a very important part in today’s growing VDP print environment, is aided by LineControl as it provides production XML files identifying incomplete products which need to be reprinted.
We’ve come a long way these 15 years in terms of harnessing the ability to both process and interpret data. This “smart” intelligence has also enabled the connectivity of processes. All good news for a labor-challenged industry whose customers continue to embrace the opportunities presented by digital print.