Part marking uses a broad range of machinery and techniques including: dot peen machines which utilize an impact method of marking leaving an impression on the surface, laser markers which use laser radiation to mark parts, and embossing and engraving machines for more traditional methods of part marking.
Product indentification marks are becoming increasingly important in the industrial world for a number of reasons. Firstly, part marking allows businesses to reduce counterfeiting by utilizing product identification, and by checking manufacturer’s identification codes or seals. Furthermore, the process of traceability and ensuring the accountability of the manufacturer is becoming increasingly necessary for both local and export purposes. Today, most businesses in the automotive, medical and aerospace industries will refuse to consider purchasing inadequately marked products from suppliers.
Another reason for part marking is that customer recognition grows due to the increased visibility of a company’s logo or design on its product components. Part marking is also able to assign value to products, for example jewelry, that can have a wide range of values without an easily noticeable physical difference. This process is becoming more common and many everyday products, like promotional gifts, plaques or engine parts, are now typically identified by marking machines.
The most common marking material is metal, but part marking machinery is able to mark other materials such as paper, plastic, wood, leather, glass, fabric and textiles. Credit cards, jewelry, writing utensils, packaging, greeting cards, wood trim and glass sculptures represent the wide range of materials on which marking machinery systems are used. Non-intrusive methods of part marking are necessary for parts used in safety and critical applications such as aircraft or medical equipment.
Dot peen marking or embossing may not be the wisest part marking method of choice because of the disruption caused to the surface of the product. Other choices to consider include the reasons for the part – if for commercial purposes, it is important that the code or logo or design be easily visible to the consumer. If the mark is for authenticity or verification purposes however, it does not need to be easily visible, and tends to be in a discreet place.
The permanency of the part identification mark tends to depend on the intended life span of the product and the context of its use, and this will be a factor in determining which process to use when marking the part.