CMT makes new laser marking machine to fit customer specifications.

CMT makes new laser marking machine to fit customer specifications.

In today’s tight times, companies are reviewing their manufacturing processes to see where they can cut cost, but yet still turn out a good product. While some manufacturers outsource certain procedures such as marking, others have chosen to bring that process in-house. An aircraft parts manufacturer wanted to purchase a laser marking machine that could mark their parts to Boeing specifications. In addition, they needed a solution that would allow them to continuously load and mark parts in large or small batches. However this solution needed to be versatile enough to accommodate their wide range of parts but still maintain simple and short changeover times.

Columbia Marking Tools specializes in custom designs to fit customer specifications. In this case, Columbia Marking Tools proposed and built their Pro-Mark Pulsed Fiber Laser system with rotary index table as seen in figure 1. This allows the operator to continuously load parts while the previously loaded part is being marked. All parts are loaded into adjustable custom made fixtures (figure 2) where wireless part present sensors attached to the rotary table detect that parts are loaded correctly before proceeding to the mark station. Once a part is loaded the operator depresses dual touchless palm buttons which initiate a cycle start. Once in cycle the air powered 4-station dial table indexes the part to the staging position where it is verified if the part was loaded properly. If a properly loaded part is detected the part is indexed into the mark station to be marked. If a mis-loaded part is detected the cycle is interrupted and the operator is prompted to reload the part. Once in the marking station the total marking cycle time is approx 6-8 seconds depending on the part diameter. CMT choose the 20watt fiber laser option because of its reliability of 75,000 hour operating life and maintenance free operation. Because some of the customer’s parts require UID-2d barcode (Unique Identification) the third station contains a Cognex Verification system. This system is fully integrated into the machine and automatically verifies the UID-2d barcode is within spec. If the UID is verified as being correct the part is then indexed back to the operator where it is unloaded. This solution provided the customer with the ability to continuously mark parts in a high production fashion as well as giving them the versatility to run large or small batches of various sized parts.

Machine Specifications:

The custom workstation houses a 20 watt pulsed fiber laser. This laser has a 1064 nm wave length pulsed Ytterbium source. This source is fitted with a 160mm F-Theta focusing lens which produces a standard marking window of 4” x 4”, however this laser also features and optional 254mm F-Theta lens providing the user with a 6” X 6” marking window. The machine a floor model with heavy duty steel base and industrial casters is controlled by an industrial PC interface that is preloaded with CMT’s ProMark laser marking application (figure 3). An Ethernet based PLC manages all machine functions as well the camera system. Also featured on this machine is the heavy duty 4-station dial table (as described above) supporting up to 60lbs per station. The entire station is guarded with a Class 1 laser enclosure an integrated cycle interrupt safety switches. Dual laser safe viewing windows allow the operator full view of each part cycle and two access doors allow easy serviceability.

About Columbia Marking Tools

Columbia Marking Tools is a leading designer and manufacturer of metal and plastic marking equipment including stamps, roll marking dies, roll marking and impact marking machines, fully programmable laser, peen/scribe marking and UID/2D Square-Dot machines, numbering heads and special marking machines. For more information, visit

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