Why Are Parts Marked?
There are good reasons it is common practice for machine shops and parts manufacturers to mark parts.
- Part numbers are used for easy identification
- Serial numbers add traceability
- Bar codes simplify inventory record keeping
- Marks for assembly or alignment aid in assembly and quality assurance
A Simple Method of Parts Marking
The most common parts marking methods displace material to create a permanent mark that will survive in even harsh environments. They include stamping, peening, and engraving.
Most toolmakers and machine shops have an old wooden box full of lettered and numbered punches that can be used to stamp information on a part. Hand stamping is a simple and cost-effective method that can be used anywhere and requires no special training or equipment. It is best for one-off parts.
How should a part be marked?
The method used to mark a part depends on several different factors:
Parts used in safety-critical applications like aircraft engines or high-pressure and high-stress systems should be marked with non-intrusive methods.
It will be far easier to place a Data Matrix on a flat surface than on a curved surface.
When a 2D Symbol is used, the size of the part is not a relevant factor as the available marking area is reduced to below 1/4 inch square.
To reduce glare on highly polished metal, texture the surfaces before marking. This textured area should extend one symbol width beyond the borders of the marking.
A rough surface is challenging for a 2D barcode as the data elements must be recognizable. The surface roughness levels should be limited to 8 micro-inches for dot-peen marking. Laser systems can make a readable mark on rougher surfaces. They first burn a “quiet zone” and then the 2D code.
It is essential to consider surface thickness when applying intrusive markings to prevent deformation or excessive weakening of the part. In most applications, the marking depth should not exceed 1/10 the thickness of the part.
The marking method must withstand its intended operating environment to remain readable for the part’s life cycle.
What We Do At Integrated Technology
Integrated Technology is well equipped to mark or engrave metals, plastics, and wood with simple numbering, complex logo design, bar codes, or sequential numbering for parts. We mark parts for many industries, including:
- Medical Implants
- Surgical Tools & Implants
- Aftermarket & OEM Automotive Parts
- Research and Testing Equipment
Learn more about our laser marking capabilities.
Do You Need Laser Marking on Your Parts?
We offer state-of-the-art design, engineering, and marking for all types of materials and part configurations. In addition, our in-house 3D printing capabilities allow us to fixture even the most difficult parts.