The automotive industry is vast, has employed millions of experts from across the world, and has impacted millions of people. The industry caters to everything from the building and development of automobiles to marketing and maintenance. While its major usefulness is in the commercial sector, it also serves other purposes like military vehicles and transport trucks.
Started in 1980, the automotive industry has experienced rapid development over the decades. According to research, the world has now recorded roughly 1.015 billion motor vehicles, with more than 70 million cars being sold out annually.
The automotive is a huge industry that impacted us in many ways. Be it the automobile cars that we use or the public transport we take, this ever-growing industry has and will continue to change the world.
The industry continues to develop, and there has been an ongoing focus on developing new ideas like creating self-driven cars and new energy vehicles. And even while waiting for these new inventions, the industry never relents at creating a faster, efficient, and more affordable process that will not be sacrificed for safety. The automotive industry has always prioritized safety in its production.
Today, automobile companies have individual parts components that serve different purposes. That’s why product traceability is exclusively vital in the automobile industry. Hence, automotive components come with a means of identification, such as a QR code, Barcode, or DataMatrix. With this code, you can easily trace the manufacturer of a component, the production date, and the production location. This way, you can easily manage any manufacturing error.
The most effective way to trace a component is through laser marking. It does not matter whether the component is made of metal or plastic, as the marked surface is permanent and visible.
Part marking is an integral aspect of the automobile manufacturing process. With thousands of parts fabricated and designed to assemble automobile products, we need a reliable part marking machine to ensure that the parts are correctly delivered and installed.
From seats to tires to bolts and wheels, each part of an automobile comes with its unique part numbers that determine their location and function on the assembled automobile product.
Laser mark codes and how they are applied
There are several laser marked codes. What are they and how are they applied? The automated manufacturing sector relies on barcodes to determine the parts that will be grouped to a particular section of the assembly line.
One of the best ways to tag parts of a vehicle is to use a laser marking machine. These machines work like a labeling machine- it uses laser beams to create an identity on the surface of a manufactured product.
Be sure not to confuse the process with laser etching and laser engraving- laser marking is a non-intrusive method of marking the part of an automobile product.
Unlike laser engraving and laser etching that digs deep to takes off material from a surface, laser marking modifies the surface and discolors the specified part of the material. That discoloration is the text and barcodes you see on car parts.
Laser marking machines uses lasers to heat up the parts for marking. The lasers then oxides the surface and change it into a color that is different from the initial surface material. Laser marking is commonly used on titanium and steel materials. However, they are also used to mark materials like glass and polymers.
If you want to know more details about the difference between laser marking and laser engraving process, please read: Difference Between Laser Marking and Laer Engraving.
Laser marking- applications in the automobile industry
Laser marking machines are essentially useful in the auto industry, and for several reasons. Here are they:
1. Part numbering for components of the engine
Engineers use sophisticated alloys of steels to make the engine components of cars (these steels can withstand harsh conditions). They then use QR codes to label parts that are known to endure harsh conditions. Apart from its usefulness during car assembly, these machines are also useful when repairing or maintaining a car.
Even after many years of using a car, mechanics can still recover engine blocks and crankshafts, as well as retrieve the numbers and codes that were initially printed on the parts during production.
Laser marking with barcodes and part numbers are also done on Bearings, bolts, and nameplates on the engine bay. Paper stickers cannot withstand the harsh conditions of the engine bay-lubricants, and heat present inside it will dissolve the paper blends.
Once the part’s surface is laser marked, these labels will never be dissolved and removed by adverse conditions, unlike with ink and paper stickers.
2. Circuit boards
Electronic components often use printed circuit boards, which are produced in large quantities before assembly. Engineers automatically assemble these printed circuits on a silicon board. They then use laser marking machines to trace the layouts and solder the electronic components on the circuit board to improve readability and consistent production.
3. Fuse boxes
Fuse boxes, found in the cabin and on the engine bay, usually have their covers printed with layouts and diagrams. This ensures that the mechanics and car owners are guided on which fuses operate in correspondent to the car’s electrical function.
Papers stickers and conventional ink would not last long and may need to be removed after some years of use. That’s why modern automobile technology utilizes the use of laser marking to have the guides printed on covers of the fuse box, which will last for as long as the car remains functional.
4. Instrument panel buttons
If you’ve checked your car’s instrument cluster, you will notice that there are symbols printed on the levers and buttons. These labels are created with laser marking machine. Since paints or inks are not used, these labels will last for many years and won’t fade away.
5. Body frames and panels
As with engine part numbers, part numbering systems are also required on body frames and panels during assembly. Laser machines are now used by part manufacturers to print the necessary identifying number on parts, which will help with distribution and installation. Laser marks will never damage the part’s surface. These marks can also be covered up by painting processes or metal finish application.
Back in the earlier days of the automotive industry, automotive companies generally use stickers and inks to label important parts of cars. Later on, the industry has progressed from using stickers to creating sophisticated barcodes that are usually laser marked to the processed car.
In addition to the applications mentioned above, laser marking machines also include other components in the automotive industry, including wiper blades, engine blocks, bearings, bolts, gear levers, etc.
Other Advantages Of Laser Marking Machine In The Automotive Industry
The five advantages and functions of the laser marking machine are mentioned above, but its role in the automotive industry is more than that. and also:
1, Improve Manufacturer Competitiveness
The ultra-high-precision marking function of the laser marking machine can complete excellent processing in the marking and traceability of various parts and components, and significantly improve the quality of auto parts. In addition, rapid marking shortens the production time, the cost of parts and assembly cycles are continuously reduced, the downtime is short, the speed is fast and the consumables are few, so that compared with other marking technologies, the long-term cost is reduced.
The long-term cost reduction has made the advantages of laser printers more prominent, and many automakers have been able to improve their competitiveness in the fierce global market.
2, High Flexibility
Laser marking itself has high flexibility. On the one hand, you can mark any type of pictures, text, numbers, logos, dates, barcodes, two-dimensional codes, etc., and you only need to enter the symbols you need to mark in a computer or U disk. As long as you can create a pattern, you can carry out marking.
On the other hand, laser marking can not only be performed on a flat surface, but also spheres and other special-shaped objects can also be marked with the same precision and detail. Moreover, extremely small parts are not a problem for laser marking machines. Therefore, automobile manufacturers that need to mark various patterns and require high flexibility will choose laser marking instead of traditional mechanical marking or chemical etching.
3, Universal Advantages
With the rapid development of laser technology, the functions of laser machines are becoming more and more powerful, and even many new, smart or multifunctional materials can only be processed by laser. Because laser marking is a non-contact processing, it will not damage the material, providing a new direction for the manufacturing industry. The price of a laser marking machine is around US$1,500, and it takes less than a year to recover the cost.
Of course, these are the general advantages of laser marking machines in all walks of life, and also prove the attractiveness and popularity of the machine.
If you’re planning to buy a laser marking machine for your business or company, select a machine that perfectly supports your production line. One of the greatest issues with marking in the automotive industry is wit traceability and readability.
It is crucial for all parts of a car to be traced to its location, and that these parts must be easy to read too. That’s where the laser marking machine comes in and has become more active in recent years.
One of the best ways to tag car parts is to integrate the use of a laser marking machine. These machines work like a labeling machine- it uses laser beams to create an identity on the surface of a manufactured product. Even after many years of using a car, mechanics can still recover engine blocks and crankshafts, as well as retrieve the numbers and codes that were initially printed on the parts during production.