The Aerospace industry is an ever-increasing one with no signs of slowing down in its pace of growth. According to a study, the aviation industry is expected to grow to 29.3 Billion USD between 2019 and 2038. Furthermore, there is an ever-increasing demand for spares, rotables, and consumables to keep up with the pace of the growing aviation industry. To keep up with the increase in the number of aircraft in the world, more and more manufacturers are stepping in to provide for the increasing demand for replacement parts. Subsequently, the requirement for marking solutions for the Aerospace industry is increasing every day. According to a report by Accenture the supply chain in the Aerospace industry is highly stretched.
Why Mark the Aerospace Parts?
Marking of Aerospace parts is more important than perhaps any other industry. This is because the industry requires for traceable parts that can be traced back to origin if required. Furthermore, the need for replacement of an exact part number. This is because the aerospace industry is highly sensitive and the fitment of the wrong part can easily cause a catastrophe that cannot be afforded. Thus, it is extremely important to mark every part that is being fitted to an aircraft.
Marking of Aerospace Parts:
To keep up with the growth in the aviation industry, there is a need to provide rapid marking technology for the bulk produced parts.
What parts need to be marked?
Every part of an aircraft is marked with a unique serial number and a part number. However, not all the parts are replaced frequently hence we will have a look at the main parts of an aircraft that are replaced frequently and thus need an effective marking system:
- Turbine components like (fins, blades, flanges, vanes, discs, rotors, etc.)
- Fasteners (nuts, bolts, washers, screws, rivets, etc)
- System Components (pumps, motors, generators, movable shafts, flight control parts, electronic boxes, etc)
- Airframe parts (landing gear, brake discs, thrust reversers, etc)
- Power Plant parts (nozzles, combustors, gears, assemblies, transmission systems, etc)
- Autoflight parts (lights, switches, control panels, displays, computers, etc)
Thus, it can be seen that there are a plethora of parts in the aircraft that need to be marked. And it is pertinent to note that every part from the wing to even the minutest of nuts on the aircraft has a unique part number and serial number. Hence, it can be seen that the Aerospace industry and the aviation industry are in great need of marking systems that can provide accurate and efficient marking schemes.
Main types of material to be marked in the Aerospace industry?
Another important factor to note before moving on to the selection of the laser marking system is the types of material that are majorly used in the aviation/aerospace industry. Here is a list of the materials that are majorly used on the aircraft and require frequent replacement, hence, require rapid marking schemes:
- Aluminum: Majorly the aircraft’s body is made of Aluminum. Thus, there are a lot of components and aircraft structures like the flaps, ailerons, etc, that are made of Aluminum and require marking.
- Platinum: Platinum is mainly used in engine components like fuel nozzles, turbines, and other heat exchangers. Thus, calling for a high production rate and requirement of replacement and marking.
- Composite Material: With the advancement in technology, a lot of the aircraft are using frames and body parts that are made up of composite materials. i.e. Carbon reinforced materials. A good example of this is the radome, which is often in need of replacement due to bird strikes and other such incidents.
- Plastics: Most of the interior of an aircraft contains plastic. Moreover, there is a very grave shortage of ancillary equipment and other on deck components due to shortage in production. Companies are now trying to increase their production however, there is still a huge gap between supply and demand.
- Tools Marking: Another major marking product is the tools. According to major regulations of EASA and FAA all the tools that are used on the aircraft need to be serialized and properly marked. Often, these parts come marked from the manufacturer, however, some organizations want to serialize the tools on their serial numbers for the satisfaction of their local regulatory bodies. Thus, this creates a great scope for marking schemes to be offered to Aerospace organizations at all levels.
What Regulations should the Laser Marking for Aerospace Industry follow?
The Aerospace industry is highly regulated. This is once again due to the critical nature of the parts installed and the need to provide fool-proof safety to the passengers/crew. Thus, there are several regulations that the marking scheme or the part must pass when it comes to the laser marking for the aerospace industry. Although the manufacturers need to follow a few of the local regulations and requirements, there are a few like:
For USA and FAA Approved Countries:
- AS478-3 Marking Standard: These are the marking standards that describe the methods and means to be used to mark parts for commercial aviation in the USA.
- MIL-STD-130: These standards provide guidelines for marking components for the defense aerospace industry.
- EASA Part 21 Subpart Q. regulations for designing and identification of each part produced.
Other standards include:
- Airline industry’s (ATA, A4A) Spec 2000
- AIM-DPM (Automatic Identification and Mobility association’s standard on Direct Part Marking).
- SAE International’s marking standard AS9132.
- Rolls-Royce JES and RRES standards.
- US Department of Defence (DoD) UID standards for 1d and 2d codes.
Other manufacturing requirements need to be confirmed from the local regulating bodies of the manufacturers.
What Marking Systems Best Suit the Aerospace Industry?
As we discussed above there are various materials that are included in the Aerospace industry. Thus, multiple solutions can be provided when it comes to marking. The two main options that can be used to mark the Aerospace parts are Dot Peen Marking and Laser Marking solutions.
Dot Peen Marking Solutions for Aerospace Industry
The Aerospace industry is fond of using Dot Peen marking as a go-to method for marking components. The main reason behind this is the permanent markings of the Dot Peen that are left behind. This is extremely important since the Aerospace industry requires marking schemes that are unique, of high quality and do not wear off easily. Furthermore, the working conditions of most parts are under high temperature and pressure.
Here are a few benefits of Dot Peen marking systems in the Aerospace industry:
- Durable and reliable marking solution.
- The rugged solution that can bear the extremities of the operation. And provide great marking solutions for the Aerospace industry.
- High-quality markings stay intact over longer periods.
What are the Best Dot Peen marking Machines for the Aerospace Industry?
There is a wide range to choose from when it comes to selecting the Dot Peen marking machine that will best suit the marking in the Aerospace industry. Here are a few good machines that can be used in the Aerospace industry for marking solutions.
- HS-PE01 and 02 – Hand Held Dot Peen Marker
The most basic marker that you can use for the product marking is the HS-PE Dot engraving machine. This machine has good speed when it comes to marking. Moreover, since its handheld, you can easily mark Aerospace parts on the move. This means that small parts and plates can be marked even away from the industry. Plus, the software enables you to easily serialize the parts’ marking scheme without having to put a lot of manual input. You can check out more details about this product here.
- HS-DP and HS-DP-R Pneumatic Marking Machines
This is a great series of Dot peen markers that can easily be used for the Aerospace industry marking. Although the marking will be slower than the handheld markers, still the quality will be slightly higher. Furthermore, these kinds of markers are suitable for round surfaces and flanges. Also, these markers have a good printing speed. You can implement them at Aerospace tools marking.
- HS-PM and HS-PC Portable Dot Peen marking machines for Aerospace Industry
For the heavy-duty parts and accessories of the Aerospace industry, you can use the HS-PM and HS-PC series of markers. You will not have to move the heavy parts as these markers are portable and can be transported to the manufactured part.
There are other models of the Dot peen markers that you can use too. However, you must ensure that the final product fulfills the regulations that are required by the Aerospace standards.
Types of Lasers for the Aerospace Parts Marking
Fiber Laser Marking:
Fiber laser marking is becoming the go-to technology in the industry. This is mainly because the fiber laser marking is flexible, has a wide range of applicable material and can be easily incorporated into existing systems. A few other benefits of the Fiber laser marking include:
- Ideally suitable for metals and metal alloys, which are frequently present in the aerospace industry.
- Higher output power and excellent beam quality.
- Provide deeper engraving on metals.
- Greater focus stability to create high-quality markings/engravings.
- Pulse energy and pulse peak power are not dependent on the repetition rate. Thus, creating a homogenous marking pattern.
As a result, the fiber laser marking should be the ideal choice for marking on metal and metallic alloy parts used in the Aerospace industry.
CO2 Laser Marking:
CO2 laser marking systems electrically stimulate the laser from CO2 gas. This type of laser is mainly applicable on marking non-metallic materials like plastics, etc. Here are a few more benefits of using CO2 type laser marking in the Aerospace industry:
- Ideal for furnishing and decorative equipment marking on the aircraft.
- It has a high beam efficiency, hence, high quality of markings.
- Faster engraving speed with low power input.
Hence, the CO2 laser beam is very good for marking interior parts of the aircraft. This means that CO2 laser marking will have a very huge application in the aviation industry since a lot of parts exist on the inside of the aircraft. Furthermore, the interior parts of the aircraft undergo frequent replacements and are always high in demand.
YVO4 Laser Marking:
YVO4 laser operates based on solid-state technology. These lasers are also called orthovanadate lasers because of the orthovanadate crystal used as the gain medium. Moreover, there are different wavelengths at which this laser marking technology works. These wavelengths can be termed as the infrared, green light and ultraviolet ranges. Each of these has its benefits as will be explained below:
- Suitable for ferrous and non-ferrous metals.
- Works best on stainless steel, Aluminum, titanium, coated metals, and some plastics. This makes it an ideal marking option for the Aerospace industry.
- Ideally suited for heat marks, laser etching and laser ablation.
Green and UV Light
- Works best on highly reflective metal and synthetic polymers.
- Ideal for PCB board markings, solar and semiconductor materials.
- UV lights are best for marking on glass and ceramics. Glass is mostly available for the window panes and other decorative panels. Thus, the UV light marking system is ideal for decorative panels and windows ad glare shield marking.
Benefits of Using Laser Marking Solutions for the Aerospace Industry
The Fastest Method for Marking
Where most of the other marking methods like chemical etching/marking require time for etching and drying, laser marking can be executed within minutes. And that too without having to wait for the cooling/drying time of the chemicals.
- No Water Waste Treatment Plant Required
In most of thee chemical-based marking schemes, there is a need for extensive use of water treatment and chemical handling. However, the laser marking system frees you from all of the hectic setting up.
Chemical etching or ink marking are vulnerable to the high pressures and temperatures that a few areas of the aircraft experience. As a result, over time these marks tend to fade creating difficulty for people to read the part number. Whereas, in the laser marking system the marks are long-lasting and can endure the high temperatures and pressures of the flight. Moreover, laser markings are known to show great results in space too, where there is a total vacuum.
The laser marking scheme is the most economical option among the various marking methods available in the industry.
With ink markings or other chemical/acid marking schemes, there is always an impact on the environment that has to be taken care of. On the other hand, laser marking schemes are extremely safe and oppose no danger to the environment. Furthermore, it also does not create and waste for you to take care of.
Thus, it can be safely said that the laser marking machine is the best and most suitable method for marking in the aerospace industry.
Best Laser Marking Machines for the Aerospace Industry
Although Laser Marking is still new in the Aerospace industry, it can be of the good effect very shortly. However, we can say that the most relevant laser marking solutions for the Aerospace industry are as follows:
- HS-FL 10, 20, 30 and 50 variants
The HS-FL series is a multipurpose fiber laser marking solution for the Aerospace industry. You can choose from the various variants depending on the part that you want to mark. For instance, you can choose the FL-20 or 30 variant for marking on light metals and parts that do not have to face high temperatures and pressures. Whereas, you can use the FL 30 and 50 variants for marking parts that undergo high levels of wear and tear. Thus, the choice is left upon the marker plus the guidelines in the various regulations.
- HS-CL-20/30 and the HS-9060
These are the top of the line laser marking machines when it comes to the CO2 laser marking solutions. Since we understand that Aerospace parts fitted to the interior of the aircraft mostly contain plastics and other composite materials, the CO2 laser is best for such parts. Thus, you can go for either of these machines depending upon the type and quantity of parts that you want to mark at one time.
HSUV03 is the top marking solution for the Aerospace industry in the UV based laser marking systems. Although the trade-off is the price that you will have to pay for the machine that is also negotiable once you have finalized the requirements.
Summing up, HeatSign is here to help you and guide you with the various marking solutions for the Aerospace industry. All you have to do is contact us via one of the methods listed here and we will guide you through the rest and help you fly higher.