- Know Your Tech
Direct Part Marking Methods
Assessing Your Application
Since each application is at least somewhat unique, you should know the answers to the following questions before selecting a marking method:
- What type and how much data will you need to encode?
- How much real estate is available for the symbol?
- Is symbol permanency a concern?
- Who will be using the information that is encoded in the symbol?
Many Marking Methods Are Available
There are many methods to directly mark objects. Selecting the best method for the application is critical to achieving success. Each method has its own advantages and limitations. Since each method has its own advantages and limitations, it is important to review and experiment with as many methods as possible before selecting the best one for your application.
Electrochemical Etch: This process uses a low voltage current to mark the object surface. This is commonly used for low volume product runs.
Ink Jet: This type of marking uses small, dots sprayed directly onto the surface. Ink jet produces high contrast marks. Ink jet is not considered a permanent marking method.
Laser Etch: Lasers etch the symbol directly onto a surface. Clean, high resolution marks are produced making laser-etch well-suited for automated environments and for making small size bar codes and alphanumeric characters. CO2 and fiber are common laser types.
Dot Peen: Dot peen is a percussive marking method, using changes in depth to create marks. Dot peen machines require regular maintenance in order to maintain mark quality.