b'MAGIC MARKERS Laser marking on the fly keeps up with part production.By William LeventonJ ust as making a mark is important in life, its also an essential element in many product manufacturing processes. Product marks can take a number of forms, including logos, QR codes and serial numbers. In some industries, putting a distinctive mark on every part is vital for traceability purposes.The problem, however, is that common static mark-ing techniques arent a good fit for modern auto-mated manufacturing processes focused on minimiz-ing cycle time. But if their budgets allow it, factories have another option: fully automated laser marking systems designed for integration into manufacturing lines. Marking on the fly as parts move along the line, these systems can do their job without slowing production.Marking on the fly also can be done with ink, but companies that sell laser systems say their technology is a better choice. For one thing, they point out that la-sers make more durable marks on parts.With the laser, you are changing the material and getting a more scratch-resistant mark compared to an inkjet, where the mark is only on the surface and not in the surface, said Albert Jung, marking technology specialist at Trumpf Inc. in Farmington, Connecticut. You can scratch off an ink, but a (laser) mark needs to be grinded off a steel part.In addition, laser marking companies say their sys-tems are more reliable than their inkjet counterparts, which have nozzles that can clog and make it difficult to mark.As a result, they continuously need maintenance, said Jerome Landry, application specialist at Laserax Inc. in Quebec City.By contrast, he said a laser system requires no maintenance.You install it, Landry said, and basically you have something that works without issues.Then theres the consumables contrast.Lasers leave indelible marks on parts.Trumpfctemag.com/cteguide.com15PartsMarking.indd 15 5/17/21 11:20 AM'