In this article, we are going to talk about metal marking machines. Are you looking for a compatible marking machine? Allow us to give you a detailed walkthrough of the types of marking machines that can be used for marking metals.
Have you ever imagined that each and every product that you use, regardless of its material of manufacture, is marked with some useful information? Yes, that’s true that every business requires metal marking machines that can mark its products with useful information.
This information ranges from Batch Nos, Serial Nos, and much more useful information. But, one question remains unanswered. What type of marking machine should be used for your product?
All about Metal Marking Machines that you need to know
Types of Metal Marking Machine
Although we are moving towards new types of materials being used in industry steel or roughly metal still remains the king of the industry. It goes without saying that every metal part being manufactured in a factory needs marking tags for identification.
There are three types of marking machines available in the market that can be used to transfer information on metals, namely fiber laser marking machines, dot pin or dot peen marking machines, and handheld inkjet printers.
All three of these marking machines have different characteristics and operations. To choose the right machine for your marking needs, it would be better to get to know these types briefly.
Fiber Laser Engravers or Marking Machines
If you’re looking for an all-rounder marking machine, fiber laser engraver is the name. It can mark any kind of information on your metallic parts. Be it a logo, a serial number, a bar code, a pattern, or anything, a fiber laser engraver does it all smoothly.
These marking machines use the latest technology that can help you mark your product efficiently and professionally. It has a very high operating speed thus it can save you some precious minutes or hours.
In case you don’t have a marking machine or you are using manual stamps, you can shift right now to this latest technology. It helps you distinguish yourself significantly as a professional in the market.
Fiber Laser engravers can also mark plastics with permanent impressions but the most commonly used materials are metals mainly aluminum and stainless steel. These machines employ a solid-state laser source.
As the name suggests, these engravers consist of optic fibers which transfer information in the form of light which is then translated into a laser beam. The laser beam is eventually responsible for marking which can happen through various ways like engraving, removing the surface layer, color change, etc.
In order to choose the best fit fiber laser engraver, one must check all these specifications:
- Laser power output
- Type of material that can be marked
- Marking depth, area, and speed
For most marking machines, an integrated system is available that feeds the command to the marker. For others, there is inbuilt programmable software that runs the information. It depends on the usage of the customer. If you’re looking for some portable needs, you need to find portable fiber laser engravers.
HeatSign produces some best portable fiber laser engravers and it is indeed their specialty. The price range usually varies from $2700 and upwards. Rush to Alibaba now to avail the Super September sales so that you get a big fat discount on these amazing machines.
Some of the big names in fiber laser manufacturers are Heatsign, Trotec, Dalemark, Borries, and Epilog. Before buying one, go through the websites of these manufacturers first. This will give you a good idea of the product range that each one of these has to offer.
Dot Peen Marking Machines
Dot peen marking machines also known as dot pin marking machines offer permanent or direct engraving on a metallic part. Most commonly the marker of the dot peen markers is made up of carbide. Since carbide is a relatively very hard material, it can engrave your product with ease.
The carbide knobs or pins cut the material by moving hundreds of times in seconds. This makes it almost impossible for the naked eye to register the movement of the pin. The speedy the movement, the better finishing of the marking. This hardened carbide material also offers reliable operations.
Dot peen markers can create two types of engravings; dots and continuous lines. It only depends on the need of the customer. If you happen to be a manufacturer of dog tags, you’d need to switch on the dot mode.
If you’re an automobile part manufacturer where you have to engrave metal number stamps, a continuous lines’ setup is the one to use. In order to narrow down your choice of dot peen marking machine, you have to look for the following specifications:
- Marking Area and speed
- Surface type of the material to be marked (Round, Flat, square, etc.)
- Operation type (Pneumatic, electric, electromagnetic)
Some dot peen marking machines are portable while other machines need a system to feed the information. If your operations require you to move around the product, go for portable handheld dot peen marking machines. Engraving on uneven surfaces is always a challenge because it requires a certain level of finishing and detailing.
To make your marking look professional, go for portable markers. They don’t require any separate system. They come preloaded with a touchscreen that can take up your design immediately. Pneumatic dot peen markers employ an air compressor to run their operations whereas, in electromagnetic dot peen marker, the base is electromagnetic.
Famous Dot Peen Metal Marking Machines
Although, dot peen is a cheaper option as compared to the fiber laser it can also vary in price. If you are an automobile parts manufacturer, you’d have to go for a dot peen marking machine instead of a fiber laser engraver. Here are two dot peen products that can be found up to the mark.
If you want to replace your handheld marking machine, this HeatSign dot peen marker is the one to look for. It comes along with a system to feed the information to the marker. It can easily print any kind of data from serial numbers to data acquired from touch screen software and also can customize to be automated units like PLCs. Also, it comes up with a reasonable price tag start from $ 2k.
This Maiman marker is as simplistic as this whole concept is. It can easily be run by any personal computer. There is default software needs install on your computer and then feeds the information to the machine. This information is automatically converted into machine language by a built-in electronic board. It works well with the pneumatic type. The price tag starts from $1.15k.
Dot peen marking machines also come preloaded with a CNC-controlled computer. The CNC runs the commands and feeds them to the marker. Dot peen has some variants that contain a chuck that can hold a rotary product. This gives an edge to dot peen when it comes to marking an uneven or circular object.
Handheld inkjet printers
Lastly, we have handheld inkjet printers which are the most basic type of marking machine available in the market. They are cheap and lightweight. Their portability makes them really comfortable to use.
The marking impressions are created by ink and not by engraving the surface of the material. Because of employing an ink, the impression isn’t a solid one but still, they offer great service.
Let’s talk about the specifications you need to look at before buying a handheld inkjet printer:
- Marking area and speed
- The resolution of the print in DPI (Dots per Inch)
- Battery Life
- Feeding system
Mostly handheld inkjet printers consist of integrated touchscreens to make them easy to use and portable. All you have to use is to make your design on the screen and start printing it on the metal. It can also make letter punches, letter stamps, and serial numbers on a product.
These handheld printers also come in with automated systems. In case of automatically increasing the numbers of serial codes, this automated system helps. In addition to the touchscreens, the design can also be made on a computer which can then be fed into the marker via a USB. This is as easy to use as a toy is.
Inkjet printers have a great edge over the former two markers in terms of price. The price range varies within $1000. You can start from $350 and go all the way up depending on your use.
Comparison and Analysis of Metal Marking Machines
Now that we have a fair knowledge of the three types of marking machines, we can deduce our conclusion.
- Detail and Resolution of Marks
When it comes to the finishing of the marking, dot peen marking machines lag behind the fiber laser machines. Since dot peen markers engrave the metal, they can’t create intricate impressions with fine details. The diameter of the carbide ball also comes into play. The minimum width of impression can be as low as the ball’s outer diameter.
This puts a constraint on dot peen marking machines. On the contrary, fiber laser marking machines can create complex impressions with finer details and with high resolution. One can even engrave a bar code on a metal surface using a fiber laser marker.
- Maintenance and Repair
Cost is one of the major factors when choosing a machine. Since fiber laser employs the latest technology, the initial cost is higher. Dot peen marking machines are however cheaper in comparison as compared to the fiber laser. Inkjet markers are the cheapest marking machines available.
When it comes to the maintenance and running cost, dot peen costs you more than the other two types. Since dot peen markers are mostly made up of mechanical components, they require regular care and maintenance. The carbide ball has a hardness of HRC 60.
Hence, in the case of a material harder than HRC 60, the carbide ball will break. This would result in damage repair costs and will certainly waste some precious time. Such costs persistently increase the running and maintenance cost of dot peen machines. In the case of inkjet, the cost of ink is a variable factor.
- Marking Speed
Sometimes, speed is a major element during marking operations. If you are an automobile manufacturer and your assembly speed is fast, you would require a fiber laser marking machine or an inkjet marker. Fiber laser employs light as a medium to transfer information hence the speed is really fast.
Dot peen lags in speed because it drives on a basic marking principle of engraving. It dives into the material and creates engravings thus making it a slow and time taking procedure. The main competition between both types is between the light and the mechanical parts. It goes without saying that light wins the race because of its speed.
In all fairness, when it comes to operations, fiber laser wins the race. But, dot peen wouldn’t lose its ground because it is still needed where permanently direct engraving impressions are required.
The choice of the marking machine depends on the type of marking you need and the material to be marked. If it is a metal and you need a high finished product, go for fiber laser marking machines. If the material is still metal but you need deep engravings, go for dot peen marking machines.
It goes without saying that the latest the technology, the more the price. If you can’t afford a fiber laser marker, you can still go for dot peen marking machines. If you can’t even afford a dot peen marking machine, inkjet machines are always there to support your cause. Look out for the best manufacturers on the internet.
Some of the best names have already been mentioned in the article above. Try comparing the prices and the specifications. After reading this article, you can easily narrow down your choices. Just remember one thing; use the right machine for the right job!
If you have any specific metal marking requests, you also can contact us to get a free solution.