Monday, February 2, 2009

Advantages of Inkjet and Laser part marking

What is inkjet part marking?

Inkjet part marking is a type of direct product marking (DPM) technologies. Direct part marking is a 2-dimensional barcode which gives lifetime traceability for components. These codes might look very small but it contains all the vital information about a product. As the codes are machine readable, any possible human error is removed. Even though so many direct part marking methods available, the inkjet part marking technique is largely used in the aerospace, electronics, automotive, lumber, home building products, food, medical and packaging industries. As compared to some other means of park marking, inkjet part marking provides better resistant for long duration. This marking produces the best quality marks possible on most building products.

For better part traceability; permanent standard barcodes, serial numbers and 2D barcode of any specific product is imprinted by the high quality inkjet part marking technique. The ink used in this of part marking is of very high quality is durable to high temperatures, water and chemical solvents. The printing is suitable for any kind of surface be it plastics, metals or glass. This part marking technique is safe to use as the process does not penetrate on the surface of the material. Hence there is no chance of damage of the material.

However with the Industrial manufacturing requirements for indelible direct part marking containing machine vision codes are growing exponentially another advanced technology based technique, laser marking method is gaining popularity these days over the conventional inkjet part marking method.

Laser marking and its advantage

As per the UID compliance norms, the tracking of every defense related product starting from day of its manufacturing until its entire life is enabled by the direct part marking process. There are many factors which contribute to the use of direct part marking. They are highlighted as follows.

  • The increasing requirements for component traceability and product unique identification (UID)
  • The favorable economics of high-performance, lightweight engineering plastics parts replacing traditionally more expensive metal parts
  • The indelible, high-resolution alphanumeric and machine vision codes which the direct part marking produces

The latest laser marking process is the digital process technology used for part marking. Laser marking is ideal for products especially 3D plastic products as the process yields high-contrast indelible markings and does not require consumables or curing, thus making it less expensive. This method of marking is also very useful for micro-marking when there is limited surface area on a product. Alphanumeric, logos, or schematic diagrams; all can be printed even in the smallest size machine vision codes. The inkjet part marking (those done with Non-indelible inkjet) can’t achieve fine-line edge resolution, which is essential for machine vision, especially on small parts. As per the UID mandate, all items are required to be 100% human or machine readable irrespective of the size and complexity details of the actual marking. This is where laser marking has an advantage over the inkjet part marking.

Apart from the DoD military requirements, manufacturers of many commercial industrial products ranging from automotive, pharmaceutical, and packaging to electronic and consumer goods now aggressively into implementing this latest form of marking method.

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