Laser marking

Lasers provide permanent marking of information including 2D bar codes, serial numbers, company data and logos, applied to a wide range of materials and components.

Mecco application success story
OEM-built laser marking and engraving systems
As the demands of traceability and compliance are put on manufacturers, using a laser provides permanent marking of a variety of information including 2D bar codes, serial numbers, company data and logos, applied to a wide range of materials and components.

When investing in laser marking equipment, systems that are efficient, cost-effective, and versatile in accommodating a wide range of materials and components, can be more easily justified.


MeccoMark laser engraving machine in operation

To help end users mark a variety of components accurately and as quickly as possible, Mecco® Marking & Traceability, a laser marking company for industries such as automotive, oil & gas, and fabrication, called upon Schneider Electric Motion USA (formerly IMS) and Lanmark Controls for a repeatable and adjustable motion system for their MeccoMark® Laser Marking Systems.

The basics

Companies utilize laser-marked data for tracking information to maintain process control, ensuring that the manufacturing quality of various components, instruments, and machines is of the highest level. Mecco builds laser turnkey systems to meet the specific needs of a client’s manufacturing process. In order to accomplish this, there are two key factors in engineering the solution that needs to be considered:

  1. how to interface with the software, and
  2. how the hardware will be able to accommodate the process.

Integrating hardware and software

Intelligent rotary and linear MDrive products (circled in red) are mounted directly into the laser marking machine with stored programs controlling the system’s motion.
Intelligent rotary and linear MDrive products (highlighted) are mounted directly into the laser marking machine with stored programs controlling the system’s motion.

The precise movement of parts for laser marking is accomplished using Schneider Electric Motion’s MDrive® integrated motors. These intelligent motors allow laser marking systems to incorporate motion along the X-Y and Z axes, as well as rotary, depending on the needs of the application. Mecco offers clients standard and custom software packages for operating their marking systems. MDrive products are capable of communicating with both, and can also store programs in resident memory.

One of Mecco’s customers wanted to laser-etch a design onto their products as quickly as possible. In order to reduce the downtime associated with loading and unloading between marking individual parts, it was determined that a large tray holding multiple parts would enable marking batches of parts.

To accomplish this, Mecco utilized MDrive products on 3 axes of motion. The Z axis is controlled by a rotary MDrive product focusing the laser. While MDrive linear and rotary products move a table on the X-Y axis, providing the precise positioning of a tray of parts required for accurate marking.

For another customer, Mecco developed a laser system to mark their round parts. A motor was needed for positioning a gripper that would hold the part. It also needed to control the Z axis for laser focus, and a rotary indexer for marking around the part’s circumference.

Summary

For distributed motion, Mecco prefers using MDrive products which are easily adapted to various customer requirements with a very short time to market. What drew Mecco’s design team to MDrive products initially was the integrated approach of having the motor and drive in a single package. For their assembly team, this means less wiring (power, two wires, and communications). It also made the electrical cabinet size smaller, since Mecco didn’t have to mount any drives in a cabinet. This approach also reduces heat out of the cabinet.

Integrating the motion with the laser and having them working seamlessly is critical for Mecco clients. Some applications require component inspections and, in some cases, utilizing a vision system is necessary to validate the marking. Having expandable I/O within MDrive products provides Mecco customers with more flexibility to tie into the intricate designs of the integrated turnkey system.

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