Additive Marking - Efficient marking of digital product data for Additive Manufacturing processes

Traceability is often mentioned as one fundamental requirementto reach the vision of Industry 4.0, the next industrial revolution. Additive Manufacturing (AM) as a technology with high relevance in the scope of Industry 4.0 offers the potential to directly produce markings for traceability during the manufacturing process. Even industries that are not focusing on products with critical functionality can benefit of markings for quality management and liability exclusion. The identifiability of products is a valuable outcome. Markings can be understood as a kind of individualization of parts. As individualization does not increase production costs when using AM the only effort results from the integration of markings in the digital product data.


A solution to mark products individually for AM is highly desired byindustry. Using usual CAD software tools it is possible to integrate a marking for traceability manually. Doing the same for a whole batch of products that need an individual marking the effort is not reasonable in relation to the achievable benefits. Therefore the development of a software-driven solution has been focused to allow efficient integration of markings in digital product also for high batch production.


Analysing the current workflow from designing a product to the start of the additive manufacturing process digital product data are converted in the STL file format during the preparation phase. Thus the software tool focuses on this format to allow a broad application along different branches using different CAD solutions with proprietary data formats. A pattern defining dimensions of a marking to be generated during AM can be placed in the STL file. Duplications of this pre-marked file inherit the defined pattern so that the effort is no longer depending on a batch size. Now individual markings can be generated based on this pattern following specific rules of creation. Position and orientation of each single part can become part of alphanumeric or machine-readable codes. Compared to existing software tools this is the most time and cost efficient software solution. The pattern can be placed on a surface, in a surface or even under a surface so that obviously visible markings are realizable as well as invisible markings for example for authentication matters.

Promising applications

  • Marking of spare parts e.g. usually manufactured by injection molding so that the products‘ marking has generated by the mould.
  • Test specimen with a need of traceability to its position, orientation and process parameters
  • Products for safety critical applications with need to traceability following legal regulations

Additive Marking supports industry to be prepared for a potential but still fictive headline of the future: “New EU directive regulates by law that products made by additive manufacturing have to be marked”.


The Project was funded by Industrial Consortium of DMRC.


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Dipl.-Ing. Ulrich Jahnke

Computeranwendung und Integration in Konstruktion und Planung (bis 2022)

Quality Management, Intellectual Property Rights and Prevention of Product Piracy

E-Mail schreiben +49 5251 60-2290