When one of U.S. Manufacturing Corp.’s customers planned to expand production and needed a marking tool to fit specific needs, Columbia Marking Tools (columbiamt.com) stepped in to design the tool.
The application required a turn-key laser marking machine to mark an eight-digit serial number, five-digit Julian date code, onedigit shift code, four-digit serial number and a 16 by 16 2D/UID code on cast iron differential cases. One machine was required to mark five different styles of cases, and the marking system had to include a camera for mark verification. Also, it had to work in Michigan and in Mexico, and able to be operated manually and robotically loaded.
Columbia Marking Tools determined that U.S. Manufacturing needed a laser marking system.
“The laser merely has added another method of marking technology to the list of processes available to manufacturers today,”Andy Habedank, engineering manager of Columbia Marking Tools, said.
Pulsed fiber lasers have become the preferred laser technology for identification and traceability marks for metals and plastics when their application has been determined to be either the most cost-effective, produce marks that are the most readable or integrated most easily with production operations.
New 10-watt and 20-watt laser marking systems developed by Columbia use pulsed laser technology to produce the same 1064 mm wavelength as Nd: YAG and Nd:YVO4 lasers, but are very compact in design, and they are air-cooled so water cooling systems are not required.
The company’s laser markers use proprietary software that enables its laser systems to be tailored to the customer’s requirements with specific application for UID/2D marks.
The software applies a standard Windows® user interface that reduces the learning curve for the technician. All standard marking functions include alpha numeric (linear & elliptical), bar codes, data matrix, UID (Unique Identification) and graphics, Fig. 2. Also, all laser parameters are saved with each marking object with numerous objects possible per mark. Part changeover is as easy as clicking on the next job to be marked.
The basic Columbia CMT laser marking system includes; a CMT laser marking head with a 163 mm F-Thets focusing lens for a 100 mm by 100 mm marking area, a CMT laser marking head controller box with a diodepumped power source that is fiber coupled to the marking head; CMT proprietary software package. The base price of the package is $49,800.
Columbia Marking Tools designs and produces metal and plastic marking equipment including stamps, roll marking dies, roll marking and impact marking machines, fully programmable pulsed fiber diode laser, peen/scribe marking and UID/2D Square Dot® machines, numbering heads and special marking machines.