How A Fiber Laser Marker Is Used In Modern Industry
Machine parts of all kinds, excepting those intended for specific critical functions, are usually marked in one way or another. Often, these marks take the form of part serial numbers, part identification, bar codes, and even company logos. These various identifier marks serve the purposes of inventory tracking and proper part matching in an assembled machine such as a car engine or an assembly line robot.
In past times, a machine part was marked using an engraver or even a paint stencil. With time, however, these marks either faded, rubbed off, or in the case of an engraving would degrade with abrasion. Printed stickers would be used starting from the 1970s as a cheap means to apply identifiers onto parts. However, stickers eventually get scraped off or so covered over with grease, dirt or grime that the mark would become unreadable. Also, with these methods, there was an ultimate limit as to how small a space such marks could be applied in.
That problem was solved in large measure when laser marking and engraving was introduced. A laser beam can be applied in a much smaller space than is accessible to a drill-based engraving tool or a stencil marker. When computer control was added to the apparatus, even greater precision was possible. The detail required to properly render a bar code was within the capabilities of the laser tool run off a computer with the code pattern in a program file. Also, with input key control, operators could punch in any serial number required for a part series coming across the assembly line.
The modern fiber laser marker represents the latest advanced development of this technology. These systems are multi-stage units. They consist of the laser itself, a scan head apparatus, multi-axial drivers for very complex functions, and the control and graphics platform for the entire unit. The computer can be remote-linked to desktop computers to allow designers to work on the graphics to be applied and then upload them to the laser engraver. In this way, graphics can be selected from stock files or created on the fly and inputted as necessary. The operator can select from a large library of TrueType fonts, logos, code image files, and program them into the engraver. The laser then applies the completed image or text file onto the machine part with the ease of printing it on paper.