Part marking equipment has improved over the years. The advances in engineering marking techniques and processes have helped define good business.
The miniaturisation of the equipment is better for small business. This is because of operation and cost. Peen marking helps the mechanic by offering improved job accuracy and quality of work. Seen both in repair and with modification projects.
The cost of equipment is a factor in all elements of manufacturing. Mass production has given an improved rate of development in marking technologies. The Vibro peen etching equipment is a great example.
These include better organisation and a clearer work process for faster repairs. Quality of work increases. Marking is increasing in resolution and labelling complexity, with marking tools available in both handheld and fixed bench configuration.
This area of technology development is Direct part marking (DPM).
The term peen originates from the ball part of a metal working hammer. Craftsman used to fashion tools and utilities in metal by hand. This was popular up to the seventeenth century. Handmade items have increased in popularity and value. This offers a natural incentive into mark development and natural manufacturing heritage.
Techniques of Metal Etching
The principle of metal marking and automotive part labelling is reliability. Good reliable design is a fundamental aspect of all metal work. Once designed, the whole is then broken down into serviceable parts.
Indexing and UID code standards for your businesses database form business law. Without a Unique Identification number, mistakes happen. This is only one of many factors proper UID use has for any garage.
The USA and UK have these laws for customer safety.
The Vibro Marking Industry
The Vicro marking tool is like Dot Matrix technology. A Micro percussion prints with a manmade diamond etching marks a 10th of a millimetre in size. Great for labelling even the small automotive components and general part marking.
Peen marking machines start at $2000. Handheld equipment for small workshops starts at about $1500. About the 3rd of the price, due to no rigging and cutting platform. Machines have higher accuracy and finite precision with small components. All these machines usually have a 2-year manufacturing warranty, standard.
The Vibro Peen marking system marks numbers and letters in a series of small dots. It is efficient for stamping and energy requirements. The dot system is a step forward over traditional peen marking systems. The Heatsign Vibro peen marker is a good example.
Vibro marking is a stylus or machine CAD operated. The Vibro makes markings using a stylus. It is angled to the cutting metal. This lightweight machine is easy to transport and has a simple setup.
The Vibro marking equipment has a stylus. It is pneumatically actuated or electrical! This plots on an X/Y Axis via computer for precise control.
The Vibro stylus can create accurate UID markings, VIN number markings for automotive parts and component marking of a high standard.
The handheld version of the Vibro marking technology has a stylus. The stylus hand stamps the required information on the automotive part. Hand controlled the data can be less accurate. The Vibro relies on the flexibility of use and easy application.
Advantages of Vibro Peen Part Marking System
- Easy to use
- Lightweight and easily transportable
- Budget price when compared to other systems with high reliability
- Specifically designed for metal marking
- HS-PE series Portable dot pin marking
- Cannot engrave very deep like big CNC engraving cutting machines
- Can only engrave on metal parts with hardness up to HRC 60
CNC Machine for Emboss Markings
Micro CNC is a further metal marking technique. The machine drills to emboss images and ID labelling to +/- 1 micron @ +/- 0.00004 in the ‘state of the art’ etching machines!
High-quality machines start at around $2100. Generic machines from China cost cheaper with foreign controls.
Advantages of Micro CNC
- High accuracy
- High cost
Laser etching is another possibility, which has really excelled in the prototyping business due to the comparable high-resolution accuracy. Laser etching is a non-impact engraving technique.
Due to the extreme computer controllability with laser etching and CAD orientated programmability, the accuracy and programmable data matrix of laser etching are some of the most impressive I have seen in the industry, almost too extreme for the automotive industry.
Technicians are using current consumer level laser etching to emboss photo quality details. In this case, an iPad case, producing high-level resolution etched displays.
The disadvantage is the cost. With no handheld option, the Laser part etching machines are desk-based, starting at about $6000. A laser has higher consumption (Amps from the class 1 laser product), eye protection needed!
Advantages of Laser Etching
- High accuracy
- Excellent CAD control
- No maintenance needed
- High cost of the machine
A Brief History of DPM, Direct Part Marking
DPM or Direct part marking equipment is the permanent marking or etching onto the metal. DPM covers all areas of the parts tracking life cycle. It is for serial numbers, vin code or part numbers, even data matrix code for references. With precision cataloguing and operations in the supply chain and end repair placement.
The large product elements are cast. A method outstanding, required for fine details and precise embossing. This happened through a chemical process of electroplating with precious metals. Metals like copper, silver or gold using ironized electrons, silver plate for example.
Plate Stamp Moulding
The metal marking and moulding in the industry has been stamping since Victorian times. Reliable and cheap because it relies on mass and density to stamp the design into a solid piece of metal. A method for mass manufacturing, it is non-customisable. Hence the rise of modern-day CAD and engineering CAD/CAM processes.
A stamp produces tens of thousands of parts. This is to justify the initial cost of the casting mold. Itself costs thousands of pounds to produce.
Electro-Chemical Etching / Acid Etching
Acid etching is the opposite of plating because it is dissolving the surface marking, eating away the service. The process works where a template exposes the areas of the surface for etching.
A mask protects the rest of the material (a common example is PCB etching), the surface is then placed in an acid bath.
The limitations include the size of the acid bath and the quality of both acid and template material. In most cases, the template can be used only once, due to its customisable application.
The milling machine has gone through a series of developmental cycles. It was made in 1940 by John T Parsons and called the baron machine. Comparable to the lathe, it was hand-controlled using turning handles.
NC standing for Numerical Control, it was known for its precision physically drilling out the metal to create the required body of metal.
In recent times, it has been also computer-controlled. In the 1980s and later on it has been miniaturised for finer minute precise engraving and etching. Parsons worked at MIT, in Massachusetts.
“A rule of thumb is like Moore’s law in computing, the later the industrial process, the improved accuracy of the Etching Process “
Vibro Etching Can Improve Your Business
Added to a database, efficient part marking through Vibro marking is the best way to meet a deadline. It helps with structured processes too. Technical ID orientates the part within a schematic. This allows the engineer to educate themselves with a complete task. Schematics plus IDs are then sent to manufacturers. These are precise instructions for fast answers and further technical help when needed.
Vibro allows for flexibility. Your own business system or process will expand inventory with use. This allows for custom parts and ID information ad-hoc.
Whichever company or setup you choose for the business custom ID marking, Vibro peen marking or CNC, machine/handheld, the quality of the average machine available on the market is of a very high standard and service, repairable for long-term trusted use for your business.
Vibro is recommended for its ease of use. Preview it at trade shows for demos or online industrial forums and markets. Look at customer rating systems. You know how previous clients have handled different forms of part marking equipment. The context and the results or star rating achieved will help guide you best.
This is common sense but it will guide you towards the best marking product for your business. This leaves you with a trusted brand that you can rely on, where product advice and expansion is possible.