Marking is routinely used by fabricators and manufacturers to etch numbers or letters into a part, indicate where a hole should go, highlight a weld location, and other operations. There are a number of processes available to do this, including manual methods such as stamping machines or printers, as well as laser and plasma systems.
Manual marking machines are the most affordable from an initial cost standpoint; however manual methods are much slower, less repeatable, and are not practical for manufacturers needing to mark a large number of parts.
Printing is more automated and can be a viable choice for parts that are clean or already painted, but this method has a higher operating cost and is not viable if the parts have any sort of residue, such as machine oil. Because printing doesn’t produce a visible imprint on the material, it is not a good option for material that must be painted after marking, or for parts that are likely to oxidize or rust.
Lasers such as Hypertherm’s HyIntensity® fiber laser do an excellent job of marking, but require considerable capital investment. For companies already using plasma, plasma marking and cutting on the same table can save a significant amount of time and reduce material handling. Hypertherm offers products such as the ArcWriter® and Powermax45® XP plasma systems which are specifically designed for making temporary or permanent marks on metal surfaces such as mild steel, stainless steel, or aluminum. When compared to powder and ink marking devices, these products benefit customers by their ability to mark both wet and oily plate; and because there is no powder, clogging is not a problem making it especially suitable for humid environments.
Examples of marking applications:
- Marking a part with a serial number of a specific lot number
- Etching names into a piece
- Score lines to indicate weld or bend locations
- Creating dimples for drilling holes easier
Powermax45 XP mechanized marking – light score on mild steel
Mechanized cutting of mild steel using the Powermax45® XP with compressed air at 10 amps.