Marking Machines You Definitely Need for Your Project
Choosing the right marking machine is an important decision you should make with your eyes towards achieving quality and efficiency. There are many types of marking machines, and several factors play a huge role in your decision. At HeatSign, our belief is centered on quality, whether while marking your products or selling our products. Therefore, on careful analysis of each marking process of relevance today and the features required for successful marking, we have three marking machines you should consider.
Hand-Held Electric Portable Dot Peen Marker
Mechanism: Dot Peen Marking System
- Portable Design, Deep and Permanent marking
- Marking speed – 30-40mm/s
- Power supply – AC 110 V or AC 220V
Portable HandHeld Inkjet Printer HS-PT01
Mechanism: Inkjet Printing System
Weight – 0.89kg
Printing resolution: Max 600 DPI
Printing height: 2mm ~ 12.7mm
Variable number: 1–8-digit variable serial number
Portable Fiber Laser Engraver HS-PFL20S / 30S
Mechanism: Laser marking
Handheld part weight: 1.5 kg
Output power: 20w / 30w (JPT Laser)
Touch screen: 7 inches
Marking area: 100mm x 100mm
Whole machine weight: 12 kg
Power request: 110V or 220V （Optional: battery version）
Power source request: 220V or 110V
Every company, business, industry, or manufacturer would have at one point in time needed a design etched on a material. Therefore, it is safe to say that almost all companies have heard of the word marking machine/markers. Marking machines and their corresponding processes go a long way in designing. For example, manual engraving has been a craftsman tool for centuries and is still relevant.
Now, there are many markers used nowadays for marking designs on different types of objects. Each marker has its features and application, making some more suitable for a particular material and project than another. There is a lot of information to take in. However, most people are not familiar with the different kinds of markers used nowadays. To make it easy for you to choose the right marker, this article will discuss every marker used in marking products. This will be in terms of the process, mechanism, and applications.
What are Marking Machines?
A marking machine or a marker is a device applicable in the creation of marks (any form of design, e.g., logo, name, serial number, bar code) on materials. Such designs are important in product identification, branding, and tracing of products. Consequently, many industries at least have one marker in their inventory.
Dot Peen Marking System and Machines
Dot peen marking machines are common in industries that deal with heavy-duty materials and products. It is a machine that works based on the dot peening marking system and is employed in a situation where a laser marking machine is not suitable for marking.
A dot peen marking machine is made up of a stylus that strikes the material to be marked electromechanically or pneumatically. This forms successive and precise dots that create the required design. You can watch how a dot peen marker works here.
Advantages of Using a Dot Peen Marking Machine
- High speed
- High accuracy and precision
- Suitable for marking hard materials such as plastics and steel
Types of Dot Peen Marking Machine
Checking through catalogs of manufacturing product selling sites such as Amazon, Alibaba, HeatSign will expose you to different designs of dot peen markers. Generally, we have three types of dot peening markers. Each one has unique features making it suitable for its applications. Below are the three-dot peen marking systems and where you can employ them.
· Benchtop Dot Peen Machines
Benchtop dot peen markers are suitable for making products with flat products. The materials must have the necessary features as required by the dot peen marking system. These types of dot peen machines are the most popular in small volume production.
· Portable Dot Peen Machines
Portable dot peen markers from their name are portable, i.e., easy to move from one place to another. They are not stable as their operator determines how stable they are. Nevertheless, they are the best dot peen marker if you want to mark heavy products that cannot move. Due to their portability, and their non-continuous nature, they are more suitable for small volume production.
· Integrated Dot Peen Machines
Integrated dot peen markers are important machines in the industry with the production lines. Here, they are integrated into the production plan. They are common in the automobile industry in marking parts not markable by laser marking machines.
Applications of Dot Peen Marking Machine
Dot peen markers are suitable for a wide range of products made from metals and hard plastic. Consequently, many industries use it in their production plan. Examples of such industries include:
- Automotive Industry
Dot peen markers are used in the automotive industry in adding VIN numbers, chassis numbers for cars and trucks. Here they help in assuring quality, identification, and traceability.
- Aerospace Industry
Dot peen marking machines are very much preferred by aerospace manufacturing industries due to their stability and permanent markings.
- Agricultural and Heavy Machinery Industry
The dot peen marking machine is suitable for marking metallic equipment used in the agricultural industry as it can create a good marking depth which improves visibility. Also, it does not erode the surface to a higher degree than the laser marking machines.
- Building Products Industry
Building products are also marked using dot peen markers as they create good and permanent marking depth which aids visibility.
Other industries that use dot peen markers are:
- Oil & gas industry
- Metalworking industries
- Electronics components
- Transportation and logistics industries, etc.
Laser Marking Machines
Currently, laser markers are the most popular marking machines used in industrial settings due to the ease of marking, efficiency, quality, wide material compatibility, etc.
A laser marker works by focusing laser beams on the surface of a material. The laser beam depending on the type of laser marking process and the power used can lead to different forms of alteration in the material.
How Does a Laser Marking Machine Works?
There are many types of laser marking systems, and each one uses a laser marker via a different mechanism. The three popular lasers marking procedures are:
– Laser Engraving
Laser engraving is the most popular laser marking process based on efficiency and permanent markings. It involves using a laser engraving machine to remove part of a material. Laser engravers have optimal frequency, speed, short pulse, and high peak power and are suitable for non-reflective materials and products not used in wet and saline environmental conditions
– Laser Etching
Laser etching is a similar process to engraving. It involves the use of a fiber laser marking machine, which produces a laser beam that raises the surface of the material. Hence the marking. Laser etching produces a white, gray, and black color.
– Laser Annealing
Laser annealing involves using a laser marking machine to color the surface of the material. This occurs as a result of the increase in temperature of the material causing oxidation of the point of contact. It is the only non-eroding laser marking method out of the four laser marking systems highlighted and is commonly used for marking surgical instruments.
– Laser Foaming
Laser foaming involves using a laser marking machine to heat the material so that it begins to foam. This leads to the surface of the material bulging forwards, producing textured marks. Laser foaming is a suitable method when a clear marking is required as it gives a localized height change.
Types of Laser Marking Machines
There are four types of laser marking machines that you can consider for marking a product. Each one has its features and material compatibility, making knowing them very important before selecting one.
· Fiber Laser Marking Machine
Fiber laser markers have a wide compatible material, mainly metals, plastics, and glasses. They are efficient, reliable, cost-effective, and deliver quality and permanent markings. Fiber laser marking machines are compatible with the types of laser marking systems discussed above. However, unlike other machines, it is the only machine suitable for laser etching because of the wavelength at which it operates.
· UV Laser Marking Machine
The UV laser markers are suitable for marking plastics, metals, and glasses. The machine uses UV light which marks by breaking the bond between atoms holding the material surface together.
UV laser marking machines do not cause peripheral heating, unlike fiber laser markers and CO2 laser markers. Therefore, it does not pose any risk to the material integrity after use. Nevertheless, UV laser marking machines are effective and efficient. Watch the video below on what the right and UV laser marker can do for you.
· Green Laser Marking Machine
Green laser markers are the ideal machine for marking products that are heat sensitive. This is because they operate at a wavelength of 532nm, i.e., it is a low-powered machine with a lesser tendency of burning materials such as soft plastics.
· CO2 Laser Marking Machine
CO2 laser markers are a very powerful type of laser marker that uses a CO2 gas mixture. They are the suitable laser marker for marking any non-metallic material such as acrylic, PVC, rubber, leather, etc. Consequently, they are a huge part of the printing and packaging industry, advertising industry, model industry, etc. Watch the video below on what the right and UV laser marker can do for you.
Applications of Laser Marking Machines
Laser markers have wide use in different industries in marking different designs, based on their compatibility with different materials. It is suitable for marking both no-metal and metal materials, including stainless steel, aluminum, silver, gold, etc.
Applications of Laser Marking Machines
Chemical Etching Machines
A chemical etching machine is an aggregation of different components that works to create a permanently etched image on different materials. The machine harnesses the corrosive action of a chemical (mostly ferric chloride) against the material to be marked at a high temperature and pressure.
Chemical etching results in better colors and should be your targeted machines if your design requires more color. This is unlike dot peen markers and laser markers that only produce white, black, and gray.
How a Chemical Etching Machine Work
An etching machine uses a chemical spray to dissolve parts of a material to give the required design. Etching a particular part is possible by covering other parts in non-degradable components. This is further explained in the steps below:
The first step is to clean the metal surface thoroughly. This is because the presence of debris can lead to irregularities during etching.
Laminate the metal properly before using a UV-sensitive photoresist film. There are other options you could use, with popular ones being dry, wet-dip, and roller lamination.
Place the photo tool containing the desired design on the laminated metal and expose it to UV light. The UV light passes through the laminated film, hardening it and giving it acid-resistant properties.
Develop a resist film on the non-exposed area to reveal the desired image. You should also heat to improve acid resistance.
Place the developed metal in an etching machine and spray it using chemical spray (the common spray used is ferric chloride). The chemical spray etches the exposed metal part
Strip the resist manually or with a stripping machine. You can then begin any post etching process to further make the metal part aesthetically good.
Advantages of Using a Chemical Etching Machine
- Inexpensive, flexible tooling for quick prototyping and design changes
- Metal properties do not change
- Low-cost process for products with complex designs
- Quick turnaround
Inkjet Marking Machine
An inkjet marking machine (thermal inkjet printer) has three main parts: host, power supply, and print head. The machine marks the product by using ink traveling at high speed. This is heated to above 300 ℃ to form numerous tiny bubbles which travel at high speed in the process, expanding to larger bubbles. This forces the ink droplet to be ejected from the print head to form the desired text, numbers, barcodes.
After expansion, the bubble fades back into the resistor leading to the ink shrinking back from the nozzle. This will generate a suction that draws new ink to the ejection area for the next cycle. This mechanism of action makes printers are widely popular in the market and used in almost all industries.
Inkjet Marking Machine at Work
How Many Types of Thermal Industrial Ink Printer?
There are two types of injection thermal ink printers you can use for quality marking. The classification is based on portability and industrial function.
· Handheld Inkjet Coding Printer
HandHeld inkjet coding printers are portable, making them ideal for marking products with complex designs or big dimensions. Irrespective of their size, they have suitable for printing high-quality text, barcodes, numbers on products of different materials such as paper. Furthermore, handheld inkjet printers are not costly, and they provide colorful marking solutions
· Online Or Inline Industrial Printers Machine Systems
These types of thermal inkjet printers are used in batch coding. Their designs make them applicable in product printing, date printing, serial number printing, and other forms of batch printing. They have a wide industrial application, and the continuous quality of marking/print is high.
Advantages Using Inkjet Printers
- The initial cost of an inkjet printer is really cheap.
- Finer and smoother detailing,
- Inkjet printers do not require heating the printer before printing
- Compact, light-weighted, and portable
How to Choose a Marking Machine from the List
You already know about the mechanism, advantages, types, and uses of different marking machines used in marking. However, this article will not end without talking about four important points that will help you select one.
· The Type of Material
Each marking machine supports different types of materials, a reason why they have different applications.
From the list, laser marking machines have the widest material support, although a little variation exists in the type of laser marking machines you use. However, it is not ideal for marking thermosensitive compounds and reflective materials.
Dot peen marker has lesser wide material support, as it is only suitable for metals and hard plastic. Inkjet printers also have wide material support except for materials such as Teflon
· Complexity and Dimension
The complexity and dimension of the product you want to mark will determine the type of markers you use. Here, the best type of machine for products with large dimension are portable marking machines. For products with smaller dimensions, the desktop marking machines are suitable.
· Production Efficiency
Also, choosing a marking machine will determine production efficiency. Laser markers are the most production efficient. Other marking systems are also efficient, albeit less.
Cost is the most important factor in choosing the right marking machine. Laser marking machines are costly when compared to others. The golden rule to follow is to get a marking machine that delivers quality at an optimum cost.
Get the Best Marking Machine
Marking machines comes in different dimensions, features, and capabilities. Therefore, it is important to be careful when choosing the right one for your project. To make the selection less challenging, this article introduces the different marking machines you can use for your project and how they deliver in terms of quality marking delivery, speed, efficiency, etc.
Did you check our recommended etching machines? In the list are machines that can deliver quality marking based on your project. However, if you have any questions about the above marking processes and their machines, kindly contact us.
How much does laser marker cost?
The cost of a laser marker depends on the features and properties that need to feature in your unit—for example, operational features, technology, and power rating. A laser engraving machine’s price ranges from $2300 to $4000.
What is a MOPA laser?
These are laser marking machines that are suitable for making naturally and colored anodized aluminum. Unlike other laser markers, MOPA lasers do not have the same degree of damaging the surface of the material. They are suitable for aluminum and other materials because of the highly contrasted markings they produce. MOPA laser is also more suitable for stainless steel color marking.