Commerce has come a long way from the bartering system. When currency became the acceptable medium of exchange, it only made sense that a better system of marking products was needed.
The first barcode was created in 1952, but they weren’t put into use in commerce and the transaction process until 1974, when a pack of Wrigley’s gum was scanned in a supermarket in the state of Ohio.
Barcodes have become widely used and have been upgraded and improved in an ongoing process. From the days when a barcode took up a significant amount of the packaging and contained limited information to today’s Data Matrix codes that are significantly smaller and can hold more data, the barcode development process has been fast and focused on efficiency.
Here we will focus on Data Matrix codes, their importance, their history, and an in-depth look at:
How they’re generated
How they differ from other marking processes
What industry these are most common in and on which type of materials and parts are they commonly found
Laser marking, also known as laser engraving or laser etching, is a precise and permanent method of adding marks or designs to various materials. It uses a high-intensity laser beam to alter the surface of the material, resulting in marks that can range from logos and text to intricate patterns.
With both etching and engraving, precision and permanence are key. Whether you’re in the business of personalizing gifts or manufacturing industrial parts, choosing the right laser marking technique can make all the difference. When considering the two primary methods, laser etching vs. engraving, both provide accuracy but only one can lead to the right final product, depending on your goals.
While laser etching and laser engraving are terms that are used interchangeably, there is a notable difference between the two laser marking processes: the depth of the mark left on the product. When laser etching is used, the mark is typically 0.0001”, while laser engraving 0.0001-0.0005” in depth. Meanwhile, deep engraving is considered any mark deeper than 0.0005”.
Another difference between the two is the process of creating the mark itself. While laser etching uses a beam of focused light, laser engraving uses a rotating lens to direct incoming beams to the surface of the product to create the mark.
Choosing the right method for your needs can depend on other factors than the process itself, including:
Material being marked
Wear and tear on materials
What is Laser Engraving?
Laser engraving is an art form that can be seen in many different materials, from metal to wood and plastic. It is a delicate process that requires extreme precision, as the smallest mistake can ruin a project or result in permanent damage to the material. The technique works by using a high-powered laser beam to vaporize or cut away thin layers of the material being engraved, much like sandblasting, but with more control and accuracy over depth and shape. This allows for high contrast marks to be added with amazing precision, resulting in clean lines and smooth surfaces. Additionally, with the right equipment and setup, laser engraving can be done quickly without sacrificing detail or accuracy.
This makes the laser engraving process perfect for projects where exact detail is required, such as commercial part marking for medical implants or industrial parts. In these cases, choosing the right laser marking technique can make all the difference; not only will it give you better results but it can also save time and money on production costs.
Pros and Cons of Laser Engraving
Laser engraving offers a lot of advantages over other methods such as sandblasting or chemical etching. One of the greatest advantages is speed; laser engraving can be done much quicker than traditional methods, allowing for high production rates when dealing with large amounts of parts. Additionally, laser engraving provides more control over the depth and shape of the engraved area, allowing for intricate details to be added with amazing precision.
With laser engraving, accuracy and replication are extremely important. The speed of the process is also a great advantage as it allows for quick turnaround times on orders. Laser engraving can be used to add text, logos, or other images to items quickly and with amazing precision. Additionally, because it’s non-contact, there are no worries about wear and tear on the parts like with traditional methods.
However, there are some limitations to keep in mind when using laser engraving. The process is limited to certain materials that can absorb the energy from the laser beam without being damaged. Metals such as aluminum and stainless steel are common choices, but other materials like glass and plastic can also be engraved. Additionally, laser engraving can be expensive to set up since it requires specialized equipment and the cost of laser engraving varies depending on the complexity and size of the job. Large jobs can take longer to complete and require more equipment or materials which can add to the overall price tag.
It’s also important to consider the environment when using laser engraving. The process generates fumes and particles that can be hazardous if proper ventilation is not present. Wearing protective gear, such as safety glasses and gloves when operating the laser in order to protect against eye damage or burns, is also a best practice. Lastly, lasers require constant maintenance and adjustments in order to stay operational. This can add up over time so it’s important to factor that into cost estimates.
What is Laser Etching?
Laser etching is a surface alteration process that uses a laser beam to create an indelible mark on a variety of materials. It’s widely used in industries such as product manufacturing, packaging, and labeling for branding, customization, and personalization. In some cases, it can also be used for decorative purposes like creating intricate designs on wood or other surfaces.
Laser etching works by using intense beams of light to penetrate the surface of the material and create very fine lines or tiny holes. The laser etching process can be controlled with precision allowing for deeper engraving or shallower marking of the material’s surface. This makes laser etching incredibly versatile as it can be used to mark various materials with different depths, whether for promotional purposes or decorative effects.
Pros and Cons of Laser Etching
Laser etching is ideal for making unique designs on surfaces with precision and accuracy. For example, jewelry designers can use laser etching to engrave special messages or patterns on rings, earrings, and other pieces of jewelry.
Laser etching is an incredibly versatile tool in many different industries thanks to its precise marking capabilities and compatibility with different materials. However, laser etching is typically not the best method to use for marking parts in the automotive industry. This is because most parts are made of metal that require a more heavy-duty engraving method such as deep-cut or rotary engraving.
The strength and longevity of these methods make them a better choice for long-term applications, especially in areas where high temperatures can cause regular laser etching to fade easily. Additionally, deep-cut and rotary engravings can create very intricate designs and shapes much more effectively than laser etching can.
Laser Etching vs. Engraving | Next Steps
Choosing the right method for creating marks on your product requires attention to the speed needed, the material being marked, the precision, and other factors. With these criteria in mind, choosing the right method for optimal efficiency is manageable.
Make the Right Decision
If you are still undecided about the best methods for part traceability on your production line, consider the following resource:
What do DVD players, checkout lines at the grocery store, and industrial marking machines all have in common? Lasers.
But not all lasers are the same.
L.A.S.E.R. stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. In simpler terms, it’s a highly concentrated beam of light. Lasers consist of a:
Gain medium: a material that works in tandem with electrical currents to stimulate the photons of light as it passes through
Energy supply: Energy supply for lasers usually comes in the form of electrical currents. These currents are “pumped” through the grain medium to stimulate the atom as light passes through. The pumping of electrical currents causes the light to bounce faster through the grain medium.
A material to provide optical feedback: The materials chosen for optical feedback have one primary job: steering. the way the beam of light is directed
Laser marking is a versatile process that uses laser technology to create permanent marks on materials such as plastics, metals, and other surfaces. The process works by focusing energy and heat from the laser beam onto a given material, which causes chemical changes in the material’s surface layer. This creates impressions that are highly visible and oftentimes indelible.
A few of the factors that make up this process include: 1. Laser Type: Different types of lasers are used for different types of marking applications. Generally speaking, CO2 lasers can be used for engraving and polymers while fiber lasers are ideal for marking metals.
2. Material: Different materials may require different laser parameters or even completely different types of lasers to achieve desired results. It’s important to consider the material’s properties before selecting a laser type.
3. Quality Requirements: The quality requirements of the applied mark determine which parameters must be considered during laser processing to ensure accuracy and precision. Common laser parameters include:
Dwell time (the amount of time the laser is applied to a single spot)
4. Equipment Used: Depending on your application needs there are many different kinds of industrial laser marking machines available on the market today – each with their own advantages and disadvantages that should be considered when making selection decisions.
Laser marking offers many advantages over traditional marking methods such as stamping, printing, and engraving. Laser marking is fast, accurate, and permanent. It can also be used to mark a variety of materials without the need for additional setup or alteration. The laser beam never touches the material being marked, making it possible to achieve high-precision marks with no significant post-processing required.
These features make laser marking ideal for precision parts and items that require both high accuracy and longevity in their markings.
There are several factors related to the product line and marking requirements that must be considered when choosing a laser marking machine. Here we will dig a little deeper into some of those factors, including: 1. Marking requirements and specifications 2. Material compatibility 3. Marking speed and throughput 4. Maintenance and operational costs 5. Integration with existing production line 6. Safety considerations
1. Marking Requirements and Specifications
The marking requirements are important to consider when choosing among the options for high accuracy laser systems. The process should begin with an understanding of the specific needs of the product being marked—including size, shape, material, and desired end result. For example, if a product requires detailed engraving that is outside of the capabilities of some machines, then a different option may need to be chosen. Additionally, depending on the material being marked or engraved upon, different laser types may be more suitable than others in terms of speed and quality. It’s also important to consider how frequently the machine will be used and how many products it needs to mark per hour or day.
This will determine not only which type of laser marking system is most suitable but also whether faster systems require higher maintenance costs. Keeping these factors in mind can help ensure that the right machine is chosen for the job.
2. Material Compatibility
The right laser marking system should be compatible with the materials that need to be marked or engraved. Laser engraving on stone, glass or metal will require different laser types and power. For example, a CO2 laser is suitable for engraving woods, plastics, and some metals but might not be able to mark stainless steel perfectly due to its higher reflectivity.
On the other hand, fiber lasers are more suitable for metals such as aluminum, brass and titanium due to their higher power output. Therefore, it’s important to consider which material needs to be marked or engraved before choosing a laser marking machine.
3. Marking Speed and Throughput
Faster laser machines can process more work in less time, allowing businesses to realize faster cycle times and higher throughput.
Moreover, higher throughput can also enable businesses to take on bigger jobs that require more items to be marked or engraved in shorter amounts of time. For example, if a business needs to engrave 1000 parts per day, it will need a laser marking machine with high speed and throughput in order to meet its daily production requirements.
4. Maintenance and Operational Costs
In addition to the other considerations when choosing a laser marking machine, businesses should also be aware of the associated maintenance and operational costs. Regular maintenance is key for keeping these machines in optimal condition, as well as ensuring safety during use.
Operational costs will vary depending on the type of material that is being marked or engraved, such as energy consumption levels and safety requirements that must be met. In some cases, the cost of consumables like lasers may also add up over time. To ensure that businesses get the most out of their investment, they should factor in all long-term operational costs when selecting a laser marking machine.
5. Integration with Existing Product Line
When integrating a laser marking machine into existing product lines, there are several factors that must be taken into consideration. The first consideration is whether a new machine is compatible with any existing product lines, and the potential for physical compatibility and system integration should be assessed beforehand. Next, the safety of any operators or users must be taken into account to ensure they can use the machine safely.
The laser marking machine should also be equipped with any necessary features for interacting with other production processes or products in order to guarantee seamless integration. It is also essential to think about the cost-effectiveness of installing such a machine and consider how it will fit within current budgets and operational costs.
6. Safety Considerations
Safety is an incredibly important factor when it comes to the implementation of laser marking machines. Not only should any potential machine be capable of providing safe conditions for operators, but it should also have advanced features such as motion sensors and emergency stop buttons in order to quickly respond in cases of unexpected events.
All machinery must conform to necessary safety standards and regulations both from the local legislation and from any international or industry-specific standards. Manufacturers must also provide extensive safety information about their products, including a detailed user guide that can help users understand how to safely operate the machine.
Applications of Industrial Laser Marking Machines
Industrial laser marking machines are used to mark metal parts with information such as serial numbers or expiration dates. Permanent laser marking helps these industries maintain their standards of reliability while providing a cost-effective solution.
In addition to the technical requirements of accuracy and longevity, lasers can also be used for more decorative applications such as engraving images or logos. Industrial laser machinery is increasingly becoming an important part of manufacturing processes in these high-tech industries due to its versatility, cost efficiency, and ability to create permanent markings with precision. The following industries require reliable laser marking solutions to ensure long-lasting performance and accuracy:
A. Automotive Industry
Inventory management, quality control, and tracing defective parts are all typical uses of laser part marking in the automotive industry. Datamatrix codes effectively provide the information necessary for all of these processes and more. Marking on braking discs is one of the most common applications. However, laser marking systems can be effective for marking plastic as well.
B. Aerospace Industry
Laser Part Marking systems can mark on titanium, steel, and aluminum. Alphanumeric and 2D DataMatrix codes are ideal for aerospace applications, where tracing parts and identifying them are necessary at all times. Marking aircraft turbine blades is a prime example of the effective use of laser part marking.
C. Electronics Industry
Component identification, brand recognition, and counterfeit product reduction are all efficient applications of laser marking in electronics. This process is efficient for marking plastic connectors as well.
D. Medical Device Industry
Traceability and quality of care are priorities for the medical field, and laser marking provides an efficient way to improve both. From pacifiers to surgical instruments, the process improves the readability of product IDs.
Industrial Laser Marking Machine Selection | Consult the Experts
Now that you understand the various factors to weigh and the considerations that go into laser marking machine selection, you may have further questions. If you need the highly visible and permanent marks that laser marking machines provide, Technomark experts are available to discuss those questions, or consider this free resource:
Industrial marking systems are automated solutions used to permanently mark a variety of materials, including plastic, and metal. They can provide a high degree of accuracy and quality in the markings they produce.
Industrial marking systems such as the M4 Inline can be used for a variety of applications including product identification, traceability, part numbering, serialization, and more. Integrated dot peen marking is one type of industrial marking system that uses compressed air to form dots that together create letters or numbers.
When it comes to industrial marking systems, this model is an efficient way to mark items quickly and accurately. Marking solutions featuring this technology can provide flexibility in terms of font size, typeface selection, and line spacing. The M4 Inline makes it easier to configure this system for optimal performance when integrated correctly into the existing production line.
Overview of Industrial Marking Systems
Industrial marking systems come in many varieties, allowing for flexibility and scalability depending on the size of the product being marked. Common types of industrial marking systems include:
Dot peen marking is a popular choice for parts that require permanent marks in various materials such as steel or aluminum. This type of system uses mechanical pins to create marks into the surface of the material with an automated motion. The versatility of dot peen makes it suitable for many applications such as serial numbers, logos, images, text, and barcodes.
Laser engraving is another effective way to mark parts such as stainless steel or plastic; this type of system uses a high-powered laser beam to precisely remove material from the material’s surface to create desired markings. It can also be used for deep impressions that are permanent and tamperproof.
Thermal transfer printing involves using a combination of heat and pressure to press ink onto the material’s surface to create a clear image or text that will not fade over time. This technique is an excellent choice for complex designs that require crisp resolution quality with durability against environmental wear and tear.
Inkjet printing uses high-pressure jets of liquid ink to deposit tiny droplets onto surfaces to create readable characters and images with vibrant colors and resolutions up to 600 dpi or more. This method is ideal for creating intricate design elements and detailed logos in short production runs with minimal setup times.
Applications of Industrial Marking Systems
Traceability and product identification are essential in a wide range of industries, from food and beverage production to medical device production to automotive manufacturing. Product traceability is the process of tracking each item through the life of its production process. This enables real-time monitoring of products, making it possible to identify exactly where they came from and when, as well as who handled them.
Traceability allows companies to have an accurate audit trail in case of recall or fraud, enabling them to quickly and effectively trace the source of any defective items.
Product identification helps companies differentiate their products from competitors by creating unique identifiers like barcodes or serial numbers for each item produced. These can be printed on labels using industrial marking systems such as thermal transfer printing or inkjet printing.
Product identification also ensures that each item can be properly identified during assembly and throughout its whole life cycle, enabling more efficient inventory management and ensuring accurate record-keeping for regulatory compliance and customer safety.
Compliance labeling is the process of marking products to show the product has passed certain safety and quality standards. These products meet certain standards, such as those imposed by regulatory bodies like the Food and Drug Administration or industry associations like Underwriters Laboratories.
The need for compliance labeling by industry is twofold:
It provides customers with the assurance that products meet at least certain minimal safety and quality criteria
It can protect companies from liability in the event of something going wrong. For example, if a product does not comply with applicable safety standards or fails to meet a customer’s expectations, then the company may be held liable if evidence of their compliance labeling can be proven.
Companies, therefore, have an incentive to properly label their products in accordance with applicable safety and quality regulations.
Part marking methods can also play an important role in the branding and promotional marketing of a product or company. By using a unique part marking system, companies are able to differentiate their products from competitors through a recognizable and memorable logo, while also ensuring that the safety and quality standards required for compliance labeling are met.
Unique part marking systems can help to create a strong brand identity by providing customers with an easy way to identify a certain product as belonging to the same company or family of products. Additionally, part marking processes can be used in promotional campaigns as well, such as when running contests or giveaways that require customers to identify specific parts. In this way, companies are able to both promote their products and ensure that they comply with applicable regulations at the same time.
Connectivity in Industrial Marking Systems
Connectivity in industrial marking systems refers to the ability of marker equipment to communicate with other devices and systems, such as computers, printers, and databases. Connectivity allows for information to quickly be exchanged between different components of a system, often resulting in increased accuracy and efficiency.
Benefits of connectivity in industrial marking systems include:
Automated data logging: Marking machines can log data automatically without manual intervention, making it easier to trace products through their entire life cycle.
Faster production times: Connected marking machines allow users to access more information quickly and make decisions based on that data more efficiently, leading to quicker production times.
Increased accuracy: Information can be stored securely within a connected system, ensuring that parts are correctly identified and marked.
Improved safety: Remote access functionality makes it possible to monitor markers from any location, reducing the likelihood of safety hazards associated with traditional marking methods.
Cost savings: Automated systems eliminate the need for manual labor and provide cost savings in terms of time spent on processes like labeling or labeling inspection.
Integrating an industrial marking system with the manufacturing process can provide a number of benefits, including consistency and improved traceability. Automation ensures that all parts are marked with the same specifications, avoiding variations in quality or accuracy due to manual labor, while a connected system makes it possible to track parts as they move through the production line, allowing users to identify and troubleshoot potential issues more quickly.
In addition, integrated dot peen marking improves security, as cloud-based systems allow for secure access control, making it possible to ensure that only authorized individuals have access to sensitive data and information. Efficiency is also improved, as the decision to connect machines reduces the need for manual labor and reduces human error, which can help speed up production times.
Capabilities of the M4 Inline
The M4 Inline provides a dot peen marking solution where the equipment is paired with a translation unit and a proofreading and information processing system. The system allows for integrated automation and positioning vertically, horizontally, or inverted to provide the best marking angle for the product line.
This system also offers two operating modes: automatic or expert. These features combine to provide numerous benefits, including:
Better quality control
Enhanced data management
The M4 Inline dot peen marking system is a powerful and convenient tool for the production environment. The automated capabilities mean increased accuracy and traceability, as well as improved quality for the mark produced.
The combination of integrated automation and connectivity utilities makes dot peen marking systems an excellent choice for any manufacturers looking to increase their efficiency in the production line.
The use of dot peen marking machines is prevalent in various industries. This popularity is due to the number of different configurations possible, including mixed-use where portable can become integrated in a short amount of time.
What is Dot Peen Marking?
Dot peen marking is a process utilizing either electromagnetic or pneumatic force to rapidly vibrate a stylus and indent a predetermined system of marks into a surface. This process provides a reliable marking method for industries where precise tracking processes are required and extended product ID readability is required.
Dot Peen Marking: 10 Manufacturing Benefits
Numerous industries have set regulations for product IDs regarding both longevity and readability. The automotive industry, for example, integrates dot peen marking systems into its production line, providing the opportunity to mark different types of parts with an ID that will be readable and last.
There are 10 notable features of dot peen marking machines:
Capable of marking various materials
No waste generated
Marks uneven surfaces
Adaptable based on market needs
A dot peen marking machine can be portable, which is ideal for marking large part batches, frames, or other large products. For marking and engraving small to medium-sized parts, the machine can be attached to a column base. This can be done quickly and efficiently, allowing you to integrate it into a line for mass production as well.
This style of marking makes numerous impressions using a stylus to deform the material. The mark is permanent and will be readable for the life of the part. This method is increasingly popular for bicycles, aircraft parts, and VINs on vehicles.
3. Industry 4.0
Today’s industrial manufacturing is moving into its next iteration: Industry 4.0. This phase has a focus on real-time, connected interfaces that allow for external influence from a distance. The dot peen marking machine can be connected to the network to share information in real time. This also allows for external control and automation of the marking process.
The grid connection can also allow data compilation to ultimately anticipate maintenance needs, such as lubrication or part replacement.
4. Data Storage
Datamatrix has significant capacity allowing for up to 2335 alphanumeric or 3116 numeric characters in 1 cm² surface. This type of code also provides a reliable and readable mark, even with up to 20% deterioration.
5. Marking Options
There are numerous options for marking parts, available as needed and with minimal adjustment. These include:
Orientation and deformation
6. Capable of Marking Various Materials
Dot peen marking machines allow for marking a variety of materials, but there is a limit based on the durability of the material. Steel, aluminum, bronze, and carbide are only some of the materials that can be successfully marked by a dot peen marking machine.
7. Low Maintenance
The dot peen marking system utilizes a tungsten carbide stylus, which is long-lasting but does wear out over time. The continuous impact with durable materials means replacement is necessary at some point, and plans should be made accordingly.Another regular maintenance task is to reset the stylus spring, which is done at the time the stylus is replaced.
8. No Waste Generated
No fractures occur in the materials during dot peen marking, as the focus is creating a mark in the material without removing any layers. With no material removed, no waste material is generated.
9. Marks Uneven Surfaces
Dot peen marking can be done on non-flat surfaces. The machine can mark a surface with a difference of up to 5mm. Cylinders and angular surfaces can also be marked.
10. Adaptable Based on Product Requirements
Accessories accompany dot peen marking machines, expanding on their versatility. For products that require a more specific marking process, personalization of the dot peen marking process is possible.
The number of controller outputs is adaptable, and accessories such as a bellows (ideal for dusty environments) or a clamping system, are available to adapt the machine as necessary. The clamping system provides an opportunity to mark the median as well as the circumference of the product.
Dot Peen Marking Machines Deliver
Dot peen marking machines are efficient and versatile, providing options for both portable and integrated use. These machines are the solution to creating long-lasting marks with no materials removed from the product surface.
The integration of a dot peen marking machine into your mass production process can ensure your products effectively meet regulatory requirements.
Ready to Learn More?
Dot peen marking systems are versatile, up-to-date, and create little to no waste. For more information on the dot peen marking process, consider these resources:
Customized part marking is essential for the successful production of parts in a variety of industries. By applying unique identifiers to each part or component, manufacturers can ensure precision in their production process while ensuring traceability throughout product life cycles. An industrial metal engraving machine provides that capability during the production process.
Part marking is also an essential tool for reducing waste and improving efficiency across a variety of sectors. In fact, the use of metal marking is vital to the production of more industries than you think.
6 Uses for Custom Part Marking in Industrial Settings
The use of an industrial metal engraving machine is well worth the investment for a variety of industries, but the following six see particular advantages:
Aerospace part marking
Medical marking for UDI
Automotive and data matrix
Oil & Gas
Aerospace Part Marking
Aerospace part production demands a high degree of accuracy because of the extended exposure to high heat and vibrations, which can lead to part failure. As a result, customized part marking is necessary for the successful completion of parts that meet the strict requirements of the aerospace industry.
Metal marking machines also reduce waste and increase efficiency in production, as it allows for accurate identification of parts while not causing damage to the part surface. Aerospace part markingprovides a unique identifier for each part produced, which can help ensure traceability throughout the entire aerospace product life cycle. Aerospace equipment is costly, which means proactively avoiding defects can make a difference in the profit margin.
Both dot peen and laser marking can be efficient methods of custom part marking for aerospace production.
Medical Marking for UDI
Unique Device Identification (UDI) is a system of marking medical devices, such as pacemakers and artificial joints. UDI identifies and traces each device throughout all stages of its life cycle. It enables easy identification of specific product versions and lots, helping prevent mix-ups or recall issues in the case of a malfunction.
Other information required by the FDA or other regulatory agencies
Automotive and Data Matrix
The automotive industry relies heavily on part marking to catalog and traces each component throughout the production process and the vehicle’s life span.
Data matrix codes provide significant information in a small surface area and make it easier to read throughout the component’s useful life. Data matrix is:
Essential for providing a unique identifier for each part
Used to store expiration date, lot code, batch number, serial number, and other data required by regulatory agencies
Essential to reduce waste in automotive production by ensuring accuracy when marking parts with customized identifiers
Oil & Gas
Parts for the oil and gas industry must be marked with special techniques to ensure they’re identifiable both downhole and on the surface. This is critical, as oil and gas parts have a variety of components that will be exposed to high pressures and harsh environmental conditions. Therefore, permanent mark identification is required to ensure traceability and reduce liability in the event of a failure.
Part marking is also essential for safety, as it provides personnel with the information needed to ensure proper operation and maintenance of oil and gas parts. By applying customized part markers, manufacturers can make sure that the right type of parts are used in each application, reducing unnecessary risks and ensuring optimal performance.
Metal marking machines are also necessary for oil and gas parts to ensure they meet the requirements of their specific industry. These unique part markers can reduce waste in production, as they allow you to ID parts quickly and accurately without manual labor or additional equipment. This helps in reducing errors and improving efficiency.
In the electronics industry, part marking is essential for traceability and identifying counterfeit parts. By applying unique identifiers to each component, manufacturers can ensure that only genuine parts make it into their products.
QR codes are increasingly being used to identify electronic products in a number of industries. QR codes are 2D barcodes that can be scanned and read by a smartphone or other device.
In the electronics industry, QR codes can track components throughout the manufacturing process. They’re also used to store serial numbers, batch numbers, and expiration dates.
QR codes are also becoming increasingly popular for tracking electronics in the supply chain, as they allow companies to quickly and accurately identify products throughout their life cycle. This reduces the risk of product mix-ups and mislabeling, while helping to ensure that all products are safe and compliant with industry standards.
Custom part marking is an essential process in metalworking, where shops often have numerous orders and projects going on at once. By applying unique identifiers to each part, manufacturers can quickly and accurately identify the components they need for their various projects. This helps reduce waste in production, as it eliminates the possibility of errors and increases run speed.
Part marking is also essential for metalworking to ensure that end products meet industry standards and specifications.
Part marking systems for metalworking are typically laser- or ink jet-based, as these methods create permanent marks that won’t fade and become unreadable over time. Laser marking has the advantage of being more precise than traditional methods, and is usually the preferred choice when producing parts with tight tolerances.
Metal Marking Machines in Your Industry
Custom part marking is essential for the success of any production process, especially in mission-critical industries like aerospace, medical, automotive, oil and gas, electronics, and metalworking. By applying unique identifiers to each component or product being produced, manufacturers can ensure accuracy and traceability throughout their entire life cycle.
Additionally, customized part markers reduce wasteful errors caused by mislabeling or mix-ups. With the right custom marking system in place, businesses can work more quickly while still taking care to meet industry standards and regulations.
More From the Direct Part Marking 101 Series
Metal marking machines are key to a variety of industries. Each use case is unique.
Take a look at other blog posts in our Direct Part Marking 101 series:
Are you a manufacturing professional looking to stay ahead of the curve? If so, EASTEC 2023 is the event for you! This three-day conference and expo will allow attendees to learn from industry experts, explore new products and technologies, and gain valuable insights into modern manufacturing processes.
Technomark will be in Booth 3157 May 16-18 at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Mass. If you want to stop by and have parts marked live, registration for the event is open. Remember to register with Technomark’s promotional code: 16253977E. This will make badge creation free for those interested (normally $50).
EASTEC | What to Expect
Attendees will have access to industry-leading manufacturers and suppliers, allowing them to gain valuable insights into new products, processes, and technologies. In addition, EASTEC 2023 will feature interactive workshops, seminars, and panel discussions with industry experts.
The schedule for this year’s event includes a number of speakers:
Michael Carroll, VP of Innovation and Transformation at Georgia-Pacific
Mark Michalski of Forge
Craig Owens, Systems Engineer, Principal, and Corporate SBIR Program Manager at Lockheed Martin
Roger Landolt, Senior Software Solution Manager at ZEISS Industrial Quality Solutions
Workshops during the upcoming EASTEC show will highlight the following areas:
“GD&T: Why Do we Hate, Love and Need it for Manufacturing Excellence?”
“Smart Manufacturing – Why It Matters and How to Achieve It”
“Adopting and Optimizing Additive Manufacturing”
Why Attend EASTEC?
EASTEC is a unique and remarkable manufacturing trade show that offers an opportunity to learn, explore and discover the latest advances in technology and manufacturing.
This event provides an excellent platform for attendees to learn from top leaders in their respective fields and network with others in the manufacturing community.
By attending EASTEC 2023, you will join thousands of other professionals in the manufacturing industry who are looking to stay ahead of the curve. With networking opportunities and the latest technological advancements, there’s something for everyone.
4 Things to Do in Springfield
Not all of your time will be spent at the exhibits and workshops during EASTEC 2023. Once you have grabbed a bite to eat, consider one of these options for entertainment:
1. Visit the Springfield Museums to learn more about the history of Springfield and its diverse culture. Storrowton Village Museum, for example, offers insight into early 19th-century life. 2. Enjoy a scenic ride on the Springfield trolley along this vibrant city’s rivers, valleys, and historical sites. Visitors can explore numerous historical sites throughout the city that reflect this varied past, from the Springfield Armory National Historic Site, which preserves one of America’s most important military landmarks, to Duryea Way honoring James Duryea, who made significant contributions to automobile production during his lifetime. 3. Explore the Forest Park Zoo of Springfield and its many exotic animals. Located on the banks of the Connecticut River, this vibrant and educational zoo offers visitors an up-close look at some of nature’s most exotic creatures. From majestic tigers to tiny tree frogs, there are plenty of animals to observe and learn about in this unique setting. In addition to its impressive animal collection, the zoo also features interactive exhibits allowing visitors to get closer to their favorite creatures. 4. Visit the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, located in Springfield. The museum offers information on more than 400 inductees and over 40,000 sq. ft. of basketball history – drawing more than 200,000 visitors each year.
The Countdown is On
When it comes to a CNC trade show, the right ones provide access to information on new technology and networking opportunities to connect with new suppliers. EASTEC 2023 provides these resources and more. Don’t forget to register! Technomark staff will be waiting at Booth 3157.
Can’t Make it to EASTEC?
Our experienced staff is available to discuss all things part marking. If you want to learn about laser marking, consider reading through this resource:
If you’ve ever opened a new electronic device, tool, or home appliance, chances are you’ve seen a Data Matrix code.
While you may have thought it was a QR code, Data Matrix codes are an essential part of most manufacturing processes and act as an efficient means for component traceability. Data Matrix codes are also the only 2D barcode to have GS1 approval for regulated healthcare items.
QR codes on the other hand are larger and contain more data, such as website URLs, and are capable of encoding information not just in numeric and alphanumeric form, but also in Kanji and other multi-byte character sets.
No matter what industry, when it comes to industrial traceability for manufacturers, choosing the right type of code can leave a production run riddled with misinformation and the chance of getting lost.
Let’s break down the differences and similarities between QR and Data Matrix codes and why the latter is the preferred choice of the majority of manufacturers.
Direct Part Marking | QR vs Data Matrix Codes
While both QR and Data Matrix codes are in the public domain and can be used royalty free, Data Matrix codes have become the standard for anti-counterfeit measures, part identification, and internal tracking because they feature advanced error-correcting techniques that are more robust than QR codes.
This presents a unique benefit for manufacturers that need to ensure their products can be identified if part of the mark gets damaged or impeded.
Particularly necessary for complex and high stakes industries such as medical, aerospace, and defense, where hundreds to thousands of components are needed in order to assemble a finished product, Data Matrix codes can be read even if up to 50% of the mark gets damaged.
QR codes on the other hand have steadily been adopted in consumer-facing applications. These codes can be found everywhere from business cards to product packaging, containing links to websites, resumes, premium offers, and even restaurant menus.
QR codes have a lower level error-correcting built in, and can be rendered useless with even slight ware and tare. Just 30% of a QR code needs to be damaged before it becomes unreadable.
While these codes are perfect for consumer-forward use, marking a component or part with a QR code presents a real danger for misidentification pending the mark gets damaged.
Data Matrix vs QR Codes | Uses Cases and Applications
Supply chain traceability
Anti-counterfeiting through serialization
Additional product information
Auto-linking for spare ordering and registration
Promotions, contests, and gamification
Specifications of Data Matrix vs QR Codes
While Data Matrix codes are typically reserved for industrial use cases, both types of marks can play a role in the manufacturing industry.
Since both DataMatrix and QR codes are GS1 approved, they can carry any GS1 ID keys including:
Medical, manufacturing, transport and IT equipment
Loyalty scheme members, doctors at a hospital, library members
Beyond GS1, specifications and requirements for each code are presented by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). For more about how these codes work themselves, and how to create them, you can check out the relevant ISO standard for more detail.
Direct Part Marking | Best Practices and Proven Methods
Understanding the differences between QR codes and Data Matrix codes, and choosing which is best for your application can get overwhelming. That’s why its important to consult a trusted advisor and partner.
Technomark has been operating and supplying expertise with industrial marking equipment since 2000. Since 2018, Technomark North America is the only established OEM of dot peen and laser marking systems — the primary methods for direct part marking — with a headquarters in the USA.
Technomark has been at the forefront of industrial marking innovation, developing machines for seamless integration in manufacturing processes.
Our goal is to help our customers:
Increase machine uptime
Decrease total cost of ownership
Make part marking and identification simple and cost-effective
Bring new ideas to the table to increase efficiency
Your relationship with Technomark North America shouldn’t be limited to a strict supplier-to-customer interaction. We value communication above all else, which is why our team is dedicated to finding ways to solve your traceability challenges through a consultative process.
Interested in learning more about Direct Part Marking using Laser Technology? Check out our free ebook below:
Ask anyone inside the industrial manufacturing industry – part-marking is crucial to component traceability when working with large quantities. And while several different types of part-marking exist, Dot Peen marking technology has been a preferred solution for many years.
At a high level,Dot Peen marking machines use either electromagnetic or pneumatic force to rapidly oscillate a stylus, in turn indenting the marks onto the surface of the part.
One of the advantages of Dot Peen is that it’s very flexible and can be used in either manual or fully automated production lines. A lot of the applications Dot Peen serves are manual applications, however, with modular Dot Peen systems, you can start with a portable system and later convert it to an in-line system for integration with fully automated production lines.
The Basics of Dot Peen Marking
If you took apart a Dot Peen machine, one of the most important components you would find is a carbide or diamond-tip stylus.
The Dot peen process is considered a “low-stress” marking method because the mark is generated via material displacement rather than material removal. The carbide stylus strikes the material surface to produce the mark via a series of cold-formed stamped dots. Compared to Laser Marking Systems, Dot Peen does not induce thermal shock to the part surface since the material is cold-stamped rather than super-heated to produce the mark.
Dot Peen systems are commonly used by manufacturers in the aerospace and oil & gas industries where low-stress marking is required, such as tubular and flow control products that are exposed to extreme pressure differential in the oilfield.
Dot Peen marking is viable for material hardness up to 63 HRC. Typically, when a part hardness is greater than 63 HRC, laser marking systems are recommended.
All of Technomark’s Dot Peen machines rely on an electromagnetic solenoid to actuate the marking stylus. Dots are plotted in an X/Y plane via electronic control for precise placement of the Dot pattern. Using electromagnetic force versus pneumatic also provides a greater level of control of both the depth of the mark as well as the ability to mark contoured or complex surface.
Dot Peen Marking | Component Traceability In Action
While these machines can run in-line and handle large quantities in an automated production environment, most are operated manually using a battery pack to go mobile.
The best Dot Peen marking machines utilize a fully electric design and that doesn’t require compressed air to operate. All Technomark Dot Peen marking machines feature an Intelligent Driving Impact (IDI) function that allows for marking on many different materials and finishes. The IDI function automatically adjusts and levels the stylus to the workpiece. Whether the part has a curved, wavy, or complex geometry, the stylus will follow the contour of the marking surface while maintaining a constant depth of high-quality marking throughout.
When structural integrity is crucial, Dot Peen marking provides a low-stress marking solution that removes no material during the part marking process.
Why Choose Dot Peen Marking
One of the biggest benefits of a Dot Peen Marking Machine is its ability to efficiently produce marks compared to other marking systems. Other benefits of Dot Peen machines include:
Portability: battery-operated systems are ergonomic and perfect for smaller-scale operations or marking of large, heavy parts that cannot be transported to a fixed location for marking
Versatility: state-of-the-art Dot Peen marking systems are modular and can start with a portable or manual marking system that can later be adapted to a fully automated production line
Ease of use: Dot Peen machines are easy to program and do not require any advanced computing knowledge or technical training.
Permanency: Dot Peen marking process yields a permanent, indelible mark that can withstand harsh operating environments
Economical: Compared to other marking systems, Dot Peen systems are typically less than $10,000.
Integrating a dot peen marking machine into your production line will improve the productivity and quality of the part-marking process.
Wireless connectivity between marking head and control (Network-able devices that are able to communicate to other devices through wireless communications)
On-board diagnostic tools to help the operator know when it’s time for scheduled maintenance — protecting your investment.
If you have questions regarding Dot Peen machines or any part marking machines, contact us today. At Technomark North America, we have the experience to help you get the best solutions for your industrial marking needs.
(Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published in September 2021 and was updated in October 2022.)