Applications For QR Code Etching and Engraving

etchedqrcodeEven as QR (quick response) codes become more commonplace, these two-dimensional bar codes remain fairly disposable and forgettable. But a number of new applications are bucking that trend by etching or engraving the codes for a more permanent link.  Depending on the surface on which the code will be placed, laser engraving or etching in plastic enables a more readable, long-lasting code.

Engraving parts with serial or identification numbers is a long used strategy for tracing and tracking valuable inventory or products. And etching a QR code allows for much more information to be embedded and connected with that item. When a code is scanned with a smart phone and a barcode scanner app, it may point to a website URL, a phone number, a map, an email address, a business card or any number of other pieces of information.

Here are some current applications for QR code etching and engraving.

(1) Laser engraving a QR code onto parts or products manufactured by your company is like having a brochure permanently attached to the item. And given the curiosity factor, many people are more likely to scan the code just to see what's there. The engraving process is fast and easy and offers the option of placing the code directly onto a part or onto a tag that can be attached to the product.

(2) A company in the Seattle area that creates burial monuments etches QR codes onto plastic and then uses an adhesive to attach the square to a headstone or memorial monument. Because these pieces of plastic are constantly exposed to the elements, durability is key. For this reason, the company uses a special type of plastic coated with copper to withstand heat, cold and moisture.

The QR codes can be placed on tombstones, mausoleums, headstones, garden benches, sundials and even cremation urns.  In many cases, it's also possible to add a small plaque with one of the codes near where cremated remains were scattered. The etched codes can also be attached to public memorials. The makers estimate the readable life of these squares at seven to eight years.

(3) Pet owners have long used embedded microchips for identification, but several companies now offer QR codes engraved onto collar tags. The code links to an online profile set up by the owner which may include a contact number or address, vaccination information (can be used by the vet), and anything else about the animal that could be helpful.  Advocates also suggest the QR code could be used to communicate additional and constantly changing information to a kennel or pet sitting service.

With the explosion of smart phones, QR codes are becoming more commonplace, and scannable by a growing portion of the population. The number and quality of applications reading these codes continues to grow. And that means more and more businesses will find ways to apply the codes more permanently for improved traceability, security and visibility.

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