In this article we take a look at some of the common challenges experienced by the automotive industry when utilising more traditional methods of engraving, and how laser technology is providing solutions to a growing number of manufacturers.
In the past decade, the automotive industry has undergone a period of growth and evolution, unlike anything it has experienced before. Customers desire cars that have better fuel efficiency, require less maintenance, and are smarter.
Tracking and traceability of parts is an essential aspect in the automotive manufacturing industry, and this is where the technology of automotive laser marking parts and automotive laser etching has played a critical role.
For such industries, permanently and accurately marking assets with precise identification is essential for the regulation and tracking of these assets throughout their life cycle.A lot of our customers from within the automotive sector are faced with a set of common challenges when using traditional methods of marking such as Dot Peen or Mechanical Engraving. Here are the most common problems we encounter:
Lacking in Speed
Mechanical and contact marking methods are cumbersome and slow. Engineers and manufacturers are simply unable to meet the demand or maximise their output capacity.
Laser machines are REALLY fast. They offer high speed without compromising on accuracy.
Whether it is the machine doing the marking or the part being marked, mechanical engraving puts a great deal of stress onto the surface being engraved, and this, in turn, results in carbide pins and milling heads wearing down very quickly. This results in replacement/repair costs and longer downtime. Furthermore, these methods of marking require parts to be clamped down, which in turn causes damage to the parts being marked and can prove costly to all parties.
Lasers are a non-contact method of marking, with no need to clamp parts down. So not only does this protect the parts being marked, but it is a part of the reason why our laser machines have such a long life span (100,000+ hours).
Many of our customers have developed an interest in marking a more fragile material, such as thin metals, glass or even leather, but are limited by their mechanical engraving methods - technologies that are only suitable for sturdy materials and heavy metals.
Laser engraving machines are able to mark onto almost any substrate, allowing for a much wider range of applications.
Barcodes are a no go
Traditional methods of marking parts are unable to produce data marks such as barcodes or QR codes - such marks are becoming the industry standard for engraving identification and traceability information. So, if their customers are demanding these marks, they are cutting themselves out of a large chunk of the market.
Laser engraving is the perfect solution for marking barcodes, data matrix codes and QR codes.
Marks that are hard to read
Many customers are frustrated with feedback from their own customers that marks are hard to read or are inaccurate. Such feedback causes reputational damage and, again, limits their share of the market where their competitors are able to deliver these marks quickly and accurately.
Marks produced with a laser engraving machine are highly legible and accurate, even at smaller sizes.
So, there we have it. Traditional methods of marking such as Dot Peen or Mechanical Engraving throw up a range of problems and challenges to those in the engineering sector who are in need of high speed, accurate marks for their parts.