Marking can be used for a variety of purposes, including decorative and aesthetic, labeling and product identification uses, placing of logos or manufacturer information and many other purposes.
Choosing the most suitable marking device for a product depends entirely on what the device will be expected to accomplish and the material which it is to mark. Marking devices can include presses, laser markers, nameplate presses, stylus marking devices, roll or rotary marking devices, hot stamping machines, and plasma etching machinery. Chemical marking and industrial inkjet printing devices are also available.
For intricate and more delicate marking operations, a handheld marking tool can be used in the form of a stylus or engraving tool, or a hand stamping tool. Handheld marking tools do not have the uniform consistency of automated machines but in applications such as engravings and jewelry can achieve a higher level of precision and detail. With such a wide range of marking devices available, one can be found to integrate into many industrial applications.
The different marking devices use many methods to achieve the final desired mark on a surface or part. Marking presses typically use air to rapidly move a ram to create enough pressure to indent a material, while hydraulic pressure slowly squeezes an impression into a part. Nameplate presses may be operated manually or mechanically and also use pressure to produce a stamped design on a plate. Laser marking devices use a variety of laser wavelengths to inscribe designs on a number of materials or parts, and this is a very common and effective method of marking and is used widely.
Stylus marking devices are those in which a number of stylus “heads” rapidly punch a design into a part. Dot peen machines similarly use a pin which creates a series of dots in an identifying pattern or shape on the surface of an object. Hot-stamping devices apply a colored foil or multi-colored image through the pressure of a hot die.
Plasma etching devices use a high-speed stream of plasma which is shot in pulses at a metal. Chemical marking devices use electrolytes which react with certain metals to create a flat image on the metal’s surface. Inkjet devices spray ink onto the surface of a product, marking it with barcodes, labels, and any other design that may be needed.