by Laurie Barcaskey
There are some rather unique challenges associated with marking different materials. Here's a short overview of things to think about.
There are various types of metal marking methods, each of which has its advantages and disadvantages. Three popular types of metal marking include indent, chemical etch, and ink marking. Various methods of marking can be used to mark alpha-numeric, logos or bar codes on metals whether they are bare or painted surfaces – flat or curved surfaces. You can also have an engineered solutions for any kind of mark on any type of metal – from steel pipe to sheet metal to 2D codes, barcodes, large or small character marks, and everything in between.
Plastics require consideration of the chemistry. Hot stamping is most favorable for branding and decorative identification or an application where color contrast is important. Direct indented marks may have challenges for permanence especially if the plastic does not have a memory or if it is too brittle. Labels may not adhere or require very rugged adhesives. Corrosion may be a challenge with inks.
Variations in woods offer challenges for marking applications. Hard woods result in better direct-part marks, where soft woods may be too porous for good ink marks. Smooth surfaces yield better results when hot stamping or branding. Rugged adhesives for labeling offer longer sustainability especially when used on shipping containers.
Other Materials & Components
Precious metals can be marked with impact, dot peen or other non-invasive methods, while concrete is best served with inks, and glass with labels. Circuit boards are commonly marked with labels or chemical-etch processes that are being replaced by laser marking. Specialty equipment may require decal kits for branding, as well as serial plates for warranty identification.
Whatever the material substrate to be marked, options are available to suit your requirements and budget. Leading Marks wants to help you identify solutions and improve your processes.
About the Author
Laurie Barcaskey of Leading Marks is an authorized manufacturer’s representative with 30 years of experience and shop floor knowledge of solutions for industrial identification, part traceability and pipe testing. Laurie is the third generation of one of the marking industry’s most innovative and enduring family legacies, tracing back to 1889.
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