Laser Marking: product traceability in manufacturing

Traceability as is imperative from the name, is to go back to the history of the product and its origin. It is a form of identification system that can hold and trace certain verifiable information like the origin, batch number, product date, movement, etc. utilizing recorded and documented information.

It is a mandate for most industries and is bound by national and international regulations for certain types of products. It is applicable for the manufacturing industry as well and includes products like automobiles, chemicals, oils, types of machinery, etc. In other words, product traceability is a form of insurance for the product as it maintains the product history records in its documentation.

How does product traceability work?

When you are producing a product, you have to ensure that it is in perfectly usable condition. In case any manufacturing defect or other issues occur with the product, it should be corrected without delay. If you do not take care of the issue immediately, it can result in a feeling of mistrust between the retailer and the customers leading to low brand value for your products. This is especially true since businesses thrive on reviews received from their customers. If the after-sales service is not satisfactory, it is imperative to say that if and when any such mistrust occurs, it can lead to difficulty in the survival of the overall brand.

Ever since the consumer safety regulations are introduced, it has become a mandate for all manufacturing businesses to recall their products in case of any defect or issues.

Product traceability is a recorded document that can be traced from all operations of a manufacturing business, right from sourcing of the raw materials to the processing of the components, the shipment of the product, and the details of its sales. Thus when a recall of the products happens, it is easier for you or any manufacturer to check the batch number and other manufacturing histories of the product. This will help you in the identification of the defect and working on a solution for the same.

Product traceability in manufacturing

All recorded details of product manufacturing must be monitored, right from procurement to the delivery of the products to their customers. For the process of product traceability in the manufacturing process, you can generate a serial number that is allocated to each component of a specific batch of products. This document contains all the details about the manufacturing like inspection reports, measurements, assembling details, and other job-related data. Since the serial number is unique, it is easy to trace back in case of an issue. This information helps in making manufacturing business more efficient and informative.

Why laser marking for product traceability?

Laser marking is permanent even in its most basic form. It involves applying a strong beam of light rays on the target area of a product to leave a permanent mark on it. It can be used with fiber, pulsed, wave, or even UV laser systems. There are different types of laser marking applications like etching, foaming, annealing, carbon migration, engraving, de-coloration, etc.

With laser marking, you can permanently mark different materials like aluminum, acrylic, brass, iron, titanium, wood, cardboard, plastic, ceramic, and polymer, etc. Laser markings can also be automated thus increasing efficiency and productivity.

Laser marking is now an essential part of the manufacturing industry. It does not only keep track of the process history and manufacturing details but also improves the quality of the product. There are endless benefits of using laser marking for manufacturing a product. Industries like aeronautical, chemicals, medical devices, automotive, etc use product traceability.

Benefits of laser marking in the manufacturing business

Laser marking is energy efficient and affordable. It is cost-effective and works as permanent identification for the products. The marking on the product is done without any human contact and hence the process is damage-free. It does not cause any material damage either.

Laser markings can stop counterfeiting of products

Counterfeiting is a huge problem in most of the big industries like automotive or pharmaceuticals. Counterfeiting is not only illegal but also has several economic and social implications too. It is estimated that around 10% of the entire pharmaceutical products are counterfeited and sold in the world. Now that is a huge number and the sale revenue involves billions of dollars. Besides, counterfeiting of products can also act as a bridge for organized terrorism and other crime around the world.

Laser marking is phenomenal when it comes to putting a stop to the counterfeiting of products. The markings are tamper-proof and are also environment friendly. They are easy to read and keeps the product completely damage-free. The quality of the product remains unhindered too. This is the reason why laser marking is one of the most widely used product marking solutions for manufacturers across the world.

Choose selective recall with product traceability

One of the best things about laser marking with product traceability is that it allows you to opt for selective recalls in case of product defects and issues. It can reduce manufacturing costs and improve customer protection.

Environment-friendly and cost-effective

Laser markings are cost-effective as there is less expenditure in marking the product parts. There is no downtime involved like that of printing the product traceability. This is a great way to ensure there is complete transparency and also accountability for your products to the entire business supply chain.

Conclusion

Several good companies manufacture laser marking machines that mark unique codes for product traceability. If you need such a laser marking machine for your products, make sure to check out certain things before buying one. The laser marking machine must follow the industrial laser marking (DPM) standards like ISO and GSI for medical products. Choose a company that will also integrate the laser marking machines with the software so that the machine can generate unique code in serial numbers.

Tracking and tracing solutions with a laser marking machine can not only improve your business productivity but will also help you in creating the brand value of your products.

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