Part marking is an essential process that most industries consider to achieve traceability and branding. Part marking, like any industrially applicable process, has its set of difficulties. For example, no standard solution for engraving texts, characters, or logos on any product exists.
Most marking enthusiasts capitalize on the fact that the material you want to mark plays an important role in the choice of marking. This is true. However, there are other things you should consider, especially in industrial part marking. The following parameters should be taken into account as they can assist you in narrowing down alternatives when choosing a marking method to use for your project.
Type And Number of Materials to Be Marked
The material you are working with will influence the marking system you can use. There are two categories of materials you can work within this context, and below is a brief explanation of what you need to consider.
· Organic Materials
Organic materials such as wood, paper, and plastic leather have a malleable structure, making it challenging to use contact marking techniques such as dot peening and roll stamping. Using any of these marking systems can lead to a distortion in the material’s surface. However, where the surface integrity of the materials is not important, they may be applicable.
Laser marking machines are the best for such types of materials. For example, the HS-CL30 CO2 Laser Marking Machine is a popular industrial laser marker applicable to the large-scale marking of organic materials.
Another marking system to consider is the inkjet marking system. Aside from its efficiency, it is also suitable for large-scale marking with the automatic inline inkjet printer championing such cause. However, it would be best if you were sure of the chemical compatibility between the printing ink and the organic materials.
· Inorganic Materials
Marking non-organic materials such as steel, iron, aluminum, and brass can be effectively done using non-contact and direct marking methods. In this category, you can consider other things we will discuss below.
For the most efficient permanent marking on inorganic materials, Dot peen markers such as the HS-PE Series and laser marking machines such as the HS-FL20 are the most common due to their functionality and efficiency. You can also check other fiber laser marking machines.
Type Of Mark to Be Made
After considering the type of product you are dealing with, you should consider the type of markings. With conventional machines, simple markings such as letters and text can be easily marked. For example, our HeatSign laser marking machines and the Dot peen markers can effectively and efficiently make permanent markings on different surfaces.
However, some types of marks, such as barcodes, 3D, and 2D marks, can need software as they are more complex. Therefore, you should look for software supported marking system. For example, the HS-FL20 runs on laser technology and is software enabled for better control during marking. Below are other things you should consider related to the type of markings you want to make;
- Number of characters
- Number of lines of texts
- Total number of marking area
Width Of the Product
also considered the material’s dimension before choosing a marking system. Products with small sizes are movable, easily aiding easy transport to the marking location. However, larger parts are not that movable; hence, the marking process will be challenging without the right marking system and machine.
A simple solution is bringing the marking machine to the workpiece. Therefore, the right marking system must-have handheld or portable marking machines. For example, the 20W/30W Handheld Portable Laser Engraver are common marking machines that support a laser marking system. The HS-PM and HS-PC, and other dot peen markers are other portable machines for materials supporting direct part marking.
Other things you must take note of as regards the width of the product are:
- A direct marking approach may not be suitable for small parts or parts with relatively low surface area for marking.
- Some regulations control the depth of the marking.
- Customer’s requirements
It would be best if you also examined the exact spot where the mark will be made on the product. Consider if the location is within reach or if certain features may hinder access to the location. The type of marking machines that is best when the marking instrument must touch the material’s surface may be different when it does not necessarily need to make contact.
Although subtle, the product’s shape plays an important role in the marking machines you can use. Generally, most enthusiasts work with either a flat or curved surface. A flat surface is markable using any marking machine. For example, our laser and dot peen markers can deliver quality markings on any material. For curved materials, you need a contactless marking system or a direct part marking optimized for such a shape. Using laser marking machines is an easy decision as a contactless machine. Roll stamping can be the ideal direct part marking feature you can also use.
Ease of readability
The markings must be highly readable; this depends greatly on the type of marking system you use. Take note that readability is different from permanency. Below is an explanation of each marking system’s readability profile.
- Dot peen marking machines produces permanent markings with low contrast and low readability.
- Laser marking machines produces permanent markings with high contrast. Hence, they are a favorite for those who desire easy readability.
- Inkjet machines are also highly readable. However, most people worry about readability and the compatibility of the printing ink with the materials. Also, in some materials the ink is removable. You can contact us on the best inkjet machine to get and what to do regards compatibility and removability of printing ink.
For marking systems with low readability, you can use post-processes treatments to improve the readability and the markings lifetime.
Production volume also determines the marking machine you should consider. Production rates are expressed as parts/ hour, parts/shift, or parts/day.
For low production volume (i.e., production rates of less than 100 parts/day), a simple marking machine with manual operation capable of enduring a higher duty cycle for production rates of more than 100 parts/day is ideal. A semi-automated or completely automated marking machine requiring minimal human involvement is ideal for higher production volume.
The marking procedure employed must not change the material’s shape or value. The material may end up being structurally altered or rendered useless as a result of the marking process.
For materials that require minimal alteration, laser marking procedures such as laser annealing and etching are the perfect options. Laser engraving removes a little bit of the material surface and should be avoided if total alteration is needed.
Dot peen markers do not cause heat shock, making them suitable for product surfaces unprotected from an intense pressure difference.
Inkjet markers are the best as they don’t alter the material. However, issues such as compatibility of ink with the product and printing ink being removable are prevalent and limits their use.
Environment of Marking
When selecting the most appropriate device for your project, the location must also be considered. You ought to examine the level of expertise of your worker’s skill level. Also, you need to decide if the marking device will be used inside or outside.
The environment should be clean, and dirt and grease should also be avoided. Also, the marks are safe and do not fade away.
The initial cost of the marking technology and maintenance cost should be considered before getting a marking machine. Even though the capital cost of purchasing laser marking equipment might be high, ensure that the cost of maintenance and running it is low. However, dot peen marking equipment is relatively cheap, and its operating cost is high. Though this does not directly affect the marking process, it can influence the marking device purchased.
Part marking process at the industrial level does not have to be complex using our ten things to consider in industrial part marking. At HeatSign, we can help you get the right machine for your project. Do you have any challenges with industrial part marking? Our YouTube channel might have the answer, and if that is not enough, our door is always open.