Motorola points to DPM to lessen WEEE burden

Motorola points to DPM to lessen WEEE burden

Industry-wide adoption of DPM posited as way to assist channel comply with WEEE

Direct part marking (DPM) could help the channel to comply with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive by making products easily identifiable on their return.

David Barnes, EMEA product marketing manager at Motorola’s Enterprise Mobility business, said: “The WEEE initiative has the potential to place a heavy burden on manufacturers, many of which already operate in competitive, lean industries. With the volume of electrical goods sold every year growing, there will be corresponding growth in the pressure on manufacturers. The ability to quickly and easily identify a product, its constituents and whether or not it can be recycled will become increasingly important over the next few years if companies are to manage the costs of WEEE without a significant impact on profits.”

DPM works by etching, lasering or spraying a data matrix code direc-tly on to the product. A traditional barcode is known as a 1d symbol, while data matrix is a form of 2d coding. 2d codes can store a lot more information about the product than 1d codes, helping to track pertinent data across the manufacturing cycle.

To date, DPM has traditionally been used by the automotive and aerospace industries. However, Motorola believes the electronics and IT industries could also benefit from DPM, particularly now that the WEEE directive is in place.

“It is increasingly clear that what the IT industry requires is a form of identification that can mark and carry data about the product or

component throughout all of its lifespan,” said Barnes. “Faster identification of products will reduce storage time and allow businesses to see what needs to be recycled, safely destroyed or passed on to component manufacturers.

“DPM provides permanent marking that ensures readability throughout the life of products - even during the manufacturing process,” said Barnes. “And that will mean a much easier task when it comes to following WEEE.”

Jon Godfrey, managing director of LifeCycle Services, said he fully supported the idea of labelling, but it would require industry-wide adoption. “The challenge will be getting vendors to adapt DPM to their products and then get resellers using scanners to read the marks at their end of life. The readers and scanners are not cheap, so for DPM to be adop-ted in the channel it would need to be cost effective.”

Barnes, however, revealed that Motorola has developed handheld DPM readers that cost 50 per cent less than competitors’ products. “It’s a case of waking up the industry and telling it that this technology exists.”

DPM is also an opportunity for resellers. Paul Cunningham, managing director of VAR Acrovision, said: “Although fairly niche at the moment, DPM will be a big growth area. We sell a total DPM package - from the DPM machines to the verifying equipment to the readers.”