Not long ago, I discussed some of the factors you should consider when deciding which marking technology to use: material type, part function, geometry, surface finish/roughness, coating, mark quality, mark dimension/part size, and serialization - all play a part in this process. Today’s post digs a bit deeper into selecting the right marking technology for your specific application by looking at a concise listing of the pros and cons of each of the major marking technologies: inkjet, dot peen, chemical etching, and laser marking.
Inkjet marking is an on-the-fly, non-contact marking process accomplished by forcing pressurized ink through a nozzle. There are two inkjet system types, drop on demand (DOD) and continuous ink jet (CIJ). In either case, the part must be moving to make a mark.
Dot peen or “pin stamping” is a contact marking process in which pneumatically or electro-mechanically driven single or multiple carbide styluses create a mark by physically indenting the surface of the material by impact.
In this process, the mark is created as material is removed by “forced corrosion” using a mask to produce an “oxide” black surface effect, or an “etched” mark where the image is engraved into the material.
Laser marking is a very fast, non-contact process in which a laser beam, steered by mirrors mounted onto galvo motors, produces the mark which can be shallow enough to be little more than a color change, or a deeper, engraved mark.
These lists should be complete enough to help you narrow down your choices. But if you need a little help – and since we do manufacture laser markers, and I would be remiss if I didn’t make a pitch for the technology: direct part marking, done with a laser, is faster, more permanent, has a low amortized cost of ownership, uses no consumables, and doesn’t require any other, related processes to ensure mark durability.
Want to see what a laser mark looks like on your parts? Send us a few! We’ll mark them to your specifications and return them with a full report.