Canadian Packaging

Microscan celebrates 20 years of Data Matrix codes

By Canadian Packaging Staff   

Automation Design & Innovation Coding & Labeling 2D coding Data Matrix code I.D. Matrix International Data Matrix Microscan Spectris

2D code is a key part of Microscan's lineage.

RENTON, WA—Microscan, a global technology leader in barcode, machine vision, and lighting solutions, celebrates the 20th anniversary of the two-dimensional (2D) Data Matrix code.

The Data Matrix was invented in 1994 by International Data Matrix, Inc. (I.D. Matrix), a key innovator in Microscan’s 30-year lineage.

In the past 20 years, 2D Data Matrix codes have become an integral part of tracking and traceability in manufacturing and production facilities around the world, from direct part marks (DPM) on automotive parts and PCBs to printed codes on pharmaceutical products, where small size and readability are vital.

A single Data Matrix code can hold thousands of characters. Its compact size, data carrying capacity, and generous reading tolerance set Data Matrix apart from other barcode symbologies.


Data Matrix can be read at lower contrast ratios than most barcode symbologies, which is a beneficial characteristic in environments where codes may be obscured and in cases where the code is directly applied to metal and other reflective surfaces through various marking methods.

Data Matrix codes with scratches, tears, or stains can be successfully read without data loss, even if more than 20 percent of the symbol is damaged. For this reason, Data Matrix has been selected by many government organizations as the code of choice in data tracking and traceability regulations and standards—for example the U.S. FDA (Food & Drug Administration) and EU (European Union) regulations for the packaging of medicines within the pharmaceutical industry.

“We achieved much of our early success engineering aggressive imagers and direct part mark readers to read 2D codes like Data Matrix at virtually any resolution, size, substance, or quality. Our product history has been guided by the codes that we read, and I’m proud to pay tribute to I.D. Matrix and celebrate all the benefits that the Data Matrix has brought to manufacturers and consumers in the past 20 years,” says Microscan chief executive officer Scott Summerville.

For more information about Microscan—a Spectris company—and the Data Matrix, visit


Stories continue below

Print this page

Related Stories

Category Captains 2023