Direct part marking (dpm) with laser marking systems
Direct part marking is the process of creating permanent markings on the surface of a part. The most common forms of part identification are data matrix codes, QR codes, and serial numbers. To validate the marking’s legibility, manufacturers use 2D barcode verifiers that provide grades based on the AIM DPM standard, also known as ISO/IEC TR 29158.
Fiber laser marking systems are ideal for direct part marking on a wide range of metals. They produce high-quality codes that make sure parts can be traced through their complete lifecycle. Fiber lasers are also fast, easy to automate, and can operate in harsh environments.
Why Choose Laser Technology For Part Marking?
Mark at The Start
With the Laserax technology, it’s now possible to move the marking operation at the start of production. This technology protects 2D codes from surface treatments, including e-coating, shotblasting, powder coating, and heat treating.
You get readable marks perfectly adapted to your manufacturing process. Our team of experts makes sure the laser process offers complete traceability.
Laser systems generate permanent markings by etching the surface of the material. The resulting reaction creates black and white marks directly on the part’s surface.
You can mark a wide variety of materials using fiber and CO2 lasers, including stainless steel, anodized aluminum, steel, zinc, and more.
Parts marked with low-quality codes compromise traceability. For this reason, the ones that don’t meet the marking benchmark are often scrapped or reworked.
Laser marking provides unmatched readability rates, so you’ll never need to worry about low-quality codes. As a non-contact marking process run without consumables, it is reliable and consistently generates high-contrast marks.
What Are the Laser Marking Methods?
Etching, engraving, deep engraving, and annealing are the four main laser part marking methods and can be used to permanently mark all types of metals. Our experts can help you choose the right laser process for your application.
Laser etching is the fastest laser process and is the one we recommend for most marking applications. It etches a raised mark by melting the micro-surface of the material. It can be used to trace most metal parts, including steel, aluminum, anodized aluminum, lead, magnesium, and zinc.
Laser engraving is the ideal process to track parts subjected to high abrasion levels. It engraves machine-readable codes deep into the material through laser ablation. With Laserax’s technology, 2D data matrix codes engraved like this can even withstand shotblasting.
Deep Laser Engraving
Deep engraving is used to engrave codes, logos, and characters that must meet specific depth and aesthetic requirements. Typical applications include deep logo engraving, stamping plate engraving, and mold insert engraving.
Laser annealing is a special process used to track parts that must preserve their corrosion resistance, such the ones made of stainless steel or that are chrome plated. The laser beam heats the surface of the material until it creates a chemical reaction under the surface, leaving a well-defined laser mark.
Other Part Marking Methods
Dot peen marking
Like laser marking, dot peening provides permanent results. This marking method creates marks by hitting parts with a stylus. While the result is generally permanent, those types of markings have a low contrast and are not as resistant to surface treatments.
Depending on who you talk to, inkjet printing may or may not be classified as a direct part marking method. Although it creates markings by propelling ink directly on the part, the resulting ink layer is not permanent. Ink markings can be erased or severely damaged as a result of abrasion. Ink can also partially clog the nozzle, requiring more maintenance and diminishing the quality of the codes over time.
Labeling is not a reliable traceability method. It isn’t even a direct part marking method. Because labels are glued to the surface, they may fall off and are not permanent. Traceability becomes compromised if the labels are accidentally removed anywhere in the supply chain.
Related article: Automotive Part Marking Technologies - Which One to Choose?
Laser Marking Solutions
Laserax offers marking solutions designed to integrate direct part marking anywhere in production lines. Our lasers are the fastest on the market. They can keep up with high-speed applications to make sure that the marking operation isn’t a bottleneck.
You can either choose a laser marking machine for a turnkey solution or an OEM laser marker to integrate a custom solution. Contact our experts today to find the most effective solution for your application.