Laser marking of stainless steel enclosures

Electrix International, manufacturer and stockist of stainless steel electrical enclosures and cable management systems, has replaced foil stickers for marking its enclosures by switching to laser marking with a new TRUMPF TruMark Station 5000 system instead. The new machine is said to provide a fast, permanent way of marking and identifying products without compromising requirements for hygiene or corrosion resistance.

Electrix products are manufactured exclusively from stainless steel, eliminating the risk of cross-contamination from mild steel during the manufacturing processes, making them especially suitable for use in sectors such as food, pharmaceutical, brewing, dairy and soft drinks. For many years, enclosures had been supplied with an expensive Electrix foil sticker proudly mounted on the front to indicate branding. Foil was preferred because it is a clean, metal-detectable material, making it suitable for the industries served by the company.

Stewart Beer, Manufacturing Manager at Electrix says: "Although the foil sticker is difficult to remove, there is a chance it could come off under extreme pressure from a hot jet wash or when subject to a caustic cleaning solution, for example. This is obviously unlikely for an electrical enclosure, but we were always mindful of the possibility. In addition, to get our products officially certified for safe use within the food industry we approached the NSF [National Sanitation Foundation), who loved the product but indicated that the foil sticker might be an issu".

He went on to add that Electrix "Tested a number of laser markers, but the TruMark Station 5000 stood out, not just for its performance in terms of speed and marking colour/tone, but for its user-friendly interface. This latter point became a decisive factor in the purchase decision. We found a number of machines with a good laser head, but they lacked ease of use." Since installing the TruMark Station 5000, which is able to accommodate workpieces measuring up to 680 × 500 × 700mm in size, the company has been busy marking products made from either 316 or 304 grade stainless steel in a range of different finishes, including satin and polished.

The TruMark Station 5000 can be combined with all TRUMPF marking lasers. At Electrix, the method selected is known as laser annealing, which differs from laser engraving and ablation in that no material is removed. In laser annealing, marking occurs beneath the material's surface using a precise combination of heat, pulse intensity and speed. When different combinations of these parameters are applied to stainless steel, a variety of tones can be achieved, all of which are permanent. Laser annealing maintains the smooth surface texture of the stainless steel, preventing dirt and grime from collecting in the marks, which is particularly important for Electrix due to the sectors it serves. "Laser annealing gives us a very clean finish - there is nothing on or under the surface, it just provides a neat black finish that is smooth to the touch", says Mr Beer.

Keeping set-up times to a minimum

Typical batch sizes at Electrix are between 50 and 100, which prompted the company to develop its own jig that fits into the bottom of the machine and keeps set-up times to a minimum. Stewart Beer says he took inspiration for the fixture from a standard printer that many people have at home. The mechanism whereby paper is centralised in the feed tray by adjusting just one side tab (the other side comes in automatically) is replicated in the jig that his engineers manufactured in-house.

Products are simply placed into the middle of the fixture, with one slide pushed inwards to provide accurate centralising. Set-up times are 5-10 seconds maximum, supported by the fact that programs are called-up instantly using a barcode scanner integrated with the laser marker. All products manufactured by Electrix have unique identifiers for product traceability with embedded barcodes. Stewart says: "An outline of our logo, our NSF certification and the product's IP rating are marked in a 5-second cycle. All of our finished goods and many sub-assemblies are marked using the TRUMPF machine, with some also including a barcode that directs customers back to the website. Furthermore, a number of customers have asked for their own logos to be added to the product using the TruMark".

Marking systems from TRUMPF come in a range of sizes and power classes so that customers can find the optimal device for every task. All lasers are certified to class 1, ensuring they can be used without any additional safety measures. On site at Bishop Auckland, further TRUMPF machines include a TruLaser 3030 Fiber laser-cutting machine with Liftmaster sorting station, and two TruBend 5000 series press brakes. A TruBend 3100x is currently on order.

Learn more about the TRUMPF TruMark Station 5000 system and products at www.uk.trumpf.com.

TRUMPF Ltd

President Way
Airport Executive Park
Luton
LU2 9NL
UNITED KINGDOM

+44 (0)844 482 0188

sales@uk.trumpf.com

www.uk.trumpf.com

More from TRUMPF Ltd

TRUMPF and partners launch positioning standard for industry

Posted 3 months ago

Trumpf supplies TruLaser Tube 7000 to The Laser Cutting Co

Posted 5 months ago

ADS doubles profiling speed with 10kW Trumpf TruLaser

Posted 7 months ago

MTC installs Trumpf TruPrint 3000 metal AM system

Posted 7 months ago

Discover Trumpf's capabilities at Southern Manufacturing 2020

Posted 8 months ago

Cutting and forming company relies on Trumpf machinery

Posted 9 months ago

See Trumpf's latest developments at Southern Manufacturing

Posted 10 months ago

Trumpf machines help Purex bring fabrication in-house

Posted 1 year ago

Birmingham Prototypes invests in three Trumpf machines

Posted 1 year ago

Family firm cuts costs with entry-level Trumpf TruLaser

Posted 1 year ago

TRUMPF Open House, 4-6 June 2019, Luton

Posted 1 year ago

Trumpf Open House event results in orders worth £3million

Posted 2 years ago

New entry-level laser cutting system offers high productivity

Posted 2 years ago

Lasered Components increases output by 10-20%

Posted 2 years ago

Open House, 12-14 June: TRUMPF Technology Centre, Luton

Posted 2 years ago

See TRUMPF's laser marking systems at MACH 2018

Posted 2 years ago

TRUMPF claims fastest 3D printer in the world

Posted 2 years ago

New 3D printer for large-scale production of complex metal parts

Posted 3 years ago

Trumpf to show multi-laser 3D printer at TCT event

Posted 3 years ago

UK debut for TRUMPF's press brake at Northern Manufacturing

Posted 4 years ago

TRUMPF at Northern Manufacturing Show

Posted 5 years ago

TRUMPF at Southern Manufacturing 2015

Posted 5 years ago

TRUMPF at Northern Manufacturing 2014

Posted 6 years ago

More applications
1 day ago
Automatic bearing lubrication brings ore inspiring results in mining
By installing automatic lubricators for bearings on its conveyor drive motors and belt pulleys, an opencast mine in Hungary has seen a range of benefits, including the prevention of unplanned downtime, longer bearing life and reduced repair work
1 day ago
Kinoulton company conveys COVID-combating masks
Here's a great example of the germ of an idea resulting in the combating of COVID
1 day ago
FLIR Systems announces four new Exx-Series handheld thermal imaging cameras
New E96, E86, E76 and E54 models feature enhanced thermal resolution and provide on-camera routing capability for more efficient inspections
2 days ago
New C-Mount lenses bring focus for machine and system builders
IDS now offers more than 20 new C-mount lenses with resolutions of 5, 8 and 10 MP as well as different focal lengths and optical classes
2 days ago
Backup DC motor for two rolling mill applications
Menzel Elektromotoren has built a replica of an old DC motor for a large German steel strip manufacturer
2 days ago
Distributed safety systems webinar 30th October 0930
In this webinar Pilz UK Product Manager David Collier will examine the state-of-the-art technology available to meet the demands of decentralisation
2 days ago
New narrow FeedThrough connectors save panel space
New from Cliff Electronics is the SLIMS FeedThrough Connector range, designed and manufactured in the UK
3 days ago
New autoglide 5 system from igus doesn’t need a guide trough
A new energy chain system for intralogistics and crane systems has been designed by motion plastics experts igus
3 days ago
New DC/AC converter unveiled by Phoenix Contact
With the arrival of its new DC/AC inverter (part of the Phoenix Contact Quint Power family) the company says that machine builders now have a compact solution to generate alternating current in DC applications
3 days ago
New-generation bullet train runs on NSK bearings
High-performance bearings from NSK are now operational in the newly developed N700S Shinkansen (bullet train)