What makes the "Perfect" Product Code and what coder should you use?

  • By Jon Hall
  • May 01, 2020
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Coding and marking is such a unique industry because of its specificity. Each partner has specific goals, specific substrates, specific lines and needs. When we enter a new facility, we need to ask ourselves what their goals are, how we can achieve their particular needs based on several different factors including the speed of the line, and perhaps most importantly, the substrate that we're coding. 

Every Domino North America coding technology on offer applies something physical (ink, ribbon transfer, label, etc.) to create a contrasting code on a customer’s product. That is, except for one - Laser.

Instead of a physical material, lasers actually apply “energy” and any contrast from the surface of the substrate that is created is completely dependent upon the material absorption and reaction to the laser energy. The understanding of how various materials absorb and react to laser energy is called Material Science.

Without a material science understanding, the laser sampling process becomes one of complete trial and error. As one would image, trial and error would never be the right approach - especially in a field using high-powered lasers. Material Science plays a big role within the Coding and Marking industry because Domino Amjet engineers are asked to create perfect legible codes on so many different types of substrates - from glass to cardboard to metal and everything in between. 

There is a true science to making sure the right technology codes onto the right substrate resulting in fully legible, completely accurate codes - 100% of the time. We have only one question for you: How confident are you in your laser coding process today?

Improve your Process & Eliminate Guesswork 

Domino takes the guesswork out of that for you and can assist customers in recommending proper substrates, testing or setting up a process for the codeability of such materials. With the material science understanding, coding performance can be significantly enhanced.

Have you ever tried to code onto a material you have used before, and the code just doesn’t measure up? Consider this – A cardboard carton looks exactly alike when put side by side. The natural assumption is that the same coding technology and set-up would produce the same quality of code, right? When in fact, this may not be the case. Since “codeability” is not part of the specification of any cardboard material supplier, customers are then left to have to qualify their packaging materials themselves and install a Quality Control process to avoid material related problems.

Material Sciences provides the basis for determining the most effective laser configuration and the optimum substrate characteristics for best coding results. This knowledge can be used to provide guidance to the customer’s material supplier on what characteristics are most important to maintain good laser codeability.

Finding the perfect solution

Domino uses a series of scientific tools and processes to characterize a customer’s substrate. We can scan the material to determine its unique identity and determine how much it absorbs and which laser will be most effective. The scan will also cross-reference to a database of scans of similar materials and projects.

We can create high-magnification, 3D images of the code interaction with the substrate to ensure it is creating the desired effect. 

To minimize any negative influence of the substrate on code quality, the Domino sample lab has tested over 90% of the commonly used materials, and can provide guidance for material suppliers to prevent any batch-to-batch variations which could affect code quality, greatly reducing downtime.

So that being said, there is more to meets the eye and that comes in the way of testing and aligning with a supplier who understands that anyone can put a code on a product. It’s understanding the science behind the technology that result in the best code for your needs. A quick sample review with Domino can make all the difference in the world – even if you are not a Domino customer today. We can help.

We encourage you to visit Domino at Pack Expo. We will have our experts onsite to discuss Material Sciences in more detail, as well focusing on common challenges related to: Flexible Packaging, Foils, Carton Variations and lastly Serialization codes.

For any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly. Additionally, for more information on the Science behind laser coding, you can watch several new videos specific to this topic.


Jon Hall,

Senior Product Marketing Manager, Laser

Phone: 1-847-596-4806

Email: jon.hall@domino-na.com


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