Image Credit: ATS Automation | Epilog Laser Corp. | GT Schmidt Marking Systems
Marking and engraving equipment marks or engraves products and packages with bar codes, lot codes, date stamps, graphics, labels, and other information. Marks are applied during the manufacturing process, eliminating the need to generate labels or papers for subsequent application. Product specifications for marking and engraving equipment include printing or marking width, maximum cycle rate, number of colors, and digital interface. Printing or marking width is the width of the characters produced by the marking and engraving equipment. Maximum cycle rate is the number of cycles that can be performed during a specific period of time. Number of colors is also an important specification. Marking and engraving equipment with a digital interface can output signals according to industrial fieldbus protocol such as CANbus, PROFIBUS®, or SERCOS; a networking protocol such as Ethernet; or another industrial automation protocol. PROFIBUS is a registered trademark of PROFIBUS International.
Marking and engraving equipment uses many different technologies. Choices include direct thermal, dot matrix, flexography, hot stamping, impact press (indenting), ink jet, laser printer, laser marking, LED or LCD, letterpress, line printer, offset printer, pad printer, plotter, roll form marking, rotary engraving, rotary marking, rotary press, rotogravure, screen printer, stylus marking (scribing), and thermal transfer. Laser marking equipment is used to mark ceramics, glass, wood, aluminum, or stainless steel with labels, graduations, text, pictures, or patterns. Roll form marking and engraving equipment feature a marking method which uses a contoured head. Rotary marking machines such as pad printers are used to mark round parts. Planetary marking machines, a specific type of rotary marking machines, rotate products or media through the marking area. Stylus marking or scribing machines are workbench, table top or handheld machines with an integral tool head used for marking and engraving purposes.
How to Select
Selecting marking and engraving equipment requires an analysis of media handled, automation options, and operational method. Some marking machines are designed for glass, ceramics, metals, paper, plastics, electronics, or semiconductors. Others are used with textiles, composite materials, wood, corrugated paper, or irregular surfaces. Manual, semi-automatic, and fully automatic marking equipment is commonly available. Manual markers aid in the setting or holding of a product, but require an operator to perform most activities. Semi-automatic marking equipment aids in placement and packaging motions, allowing a single operator to perform multiple operations with speed and efficiency. Fully automatic marking and engraving equipment requires only minimum operator intervention. Typically, operator involvement is limited to feeding supply hoppers, removing empty pallets, or replacing packaging components. With regard to operational method, choices include mechanical, electric, pneumatic, and hydraulic.
Related Products & Services
Bar Code Printers
Bar code printers are used to output bar code data in printed form.
Computer Printers and Plotters
Computer printers and plotters are used to output industrial data in printed form.
Industrial Printing Equipment
Industrial printing equipment includes screen printers, pad printers and offset printers. These devices are used for applying inks and colors to packaging cartons, web or sheet material and other packaging supplies.
Ink Jet Printers
Ink jet printers project electrically charged droplets of ink onto a page. Types of ink jet printers include thermal and piezo.
Kiosk and POS Printers
Kiosk and POS printers are used with kiosks and point-of-sale (POS) systems such as electronic cash registers (ECR) and electronic funds transfer (EFT) devices.
Label printers are used to print a variety of labels or adhesive stamps. Most label printers are capable of printing bar codes.
Laser printers use a laser beam to produce an image on a drum that is rolled through a reservoir of toner. The beam is picked up by the charged portions of the drum to fuse the image onto paper.