From permanent markers to stamping hammers and marking dies, there are several part marking methods. But when it comes to parts traceability, laser part marking is by far the most advanced and permanent. Despite lasers’ many efficiencies, companies hesitate to make the initial investment. But fear not: lasers have come a long way, and will save you time and money in the long run. Here’s how:
As technology has advanced, so have laser systems. These aren’t the machines of the good ol’ days, they’re far simpler to use but way more powerful. At one time, laser systems were difficult to operate, needed routine maintenance, and specialized technicians. They also required intensive training and programming skills. But not anymore. Now, laser marking machines have user-friendly, graphical interfaces and function like your average desktop computer. Additionally, fiber lasers rarely fail and often see over 100,000 hours of use before maintenance is required. Due to these advances, the costs of laser equipment, training, and maintenance have significantly declined in the last 20 years.
Simplicity means automation and speed. It only takes a matter of seconds to:
· Place the part
· Close the door
· Transfer the keyed-up barcode, serial number, logo, or text from the computer to the part’s surface via laser beam
Some lasers can permanently mark a ¼” diameter in a fraction of a second. With lasers, throughput remains consistent and speedy.
Lasers are not only extremely accurate and quick, but they’re flexible. Their power output, speed, and settings can be altered, which means they can etch intricate details and more characters for traceability purposes. Additionally, the strength of the laser can be modified for mark depth. Medical implants, for example, must have an undisrupted surface and the only way to achieve this is through laser annealing for survival of the passivation process. For components that will be used in harsher environments, like auto parts, lasers can be programmed to leave a deeper mark.
So, for shops that have an array of products and materials, lasers are your best bet. And while the initial investment of a laser system might seem daunting, its ease of use, speed, and versatility makes it all worthwhile in the end.
At Laser Marking Technologies, we’ve developed hundreds of laser part marking solutions for part manufacturers and businesses. If you are looking for a better way to mark your parts, please give us call. We’re happy to help in any way we can.