Unique Identification (UID) marking is a common process adopted by manufacturers for identifying and tracking products after they leave the factory. Initially, the Department of Defense designed the program for government property purchases, but it has since been embraced on a global scale. A large majority of companies choose to directly mark their products while some add paper labels or metal tags to their equipment.
At CMS Laser, we use our lasers to mark our anodized metal tags for our systems with our logo, manufactured date, system serial number, model number, and other helpful information regarding the system and contact information. These tags are done using an ablation process where only the top layer of anodizing is vaporized, revealing the aluminum underneath.
Paper Label UID Marking
Paper label materials consist of a plastic top layer, a contrasting bottom layer, an adhesive layer, and a paper liner. Typically, a CO2 laser is used for vaporizing the top layer, exposing the contrasting bottom layer. However, a fiber laser can also be used for marking these types of paper labels, as well as a variety of metal and plastic tags. This makes the fiber laser a more flexible solution for marking UID information.
Our engineers recently built a system for laser marking large rolls of 3M™ Laser Markable Label Stock for an automotive customer. As the roll of label paper is pulled through the machine by motors, a fiber laser marks a logo, serial number, and QR code. Once the marking process is completed, the label is cut by a mechanical blade and leaves the system via an exit chute.
Traditional methods for printing paper labels require costly inks and routine maintenance. This maintenance is time consuming and can cost hundreds of dollars over time. Lasers require minimal cleaning of the marking area and cutting blade. Fiber lasers also do not require costly consumables and have a long lifespan of around 100,000 hours or about 45 years. The only consumable required is a filter for the fume extraction system that removes the vaporized top layer during the ablation process. With ink-based processes, leftover waste becomes a problem for the environment.
On-the-Fly Labeling Machines
What about fast-moving products on a conveyor? That is one of our specialties—marking moving objects at high-speeds. As the pioneers of on-the-fly processing, our engineers can integrate laser coding machines for marking labels on cardboard and paper packaging with date codes or for converting applications.
The use of a laser system may seem daunting at first, but here at CMS Laser, our engineers develop turnkey solutions with safety in mind so that our customers can hit the ground running. Software is programmed to meet all their use-cases and our field service team is standing by for any troubleshooting or additional modifications needed. The success of our business ultimately rests upon the quality of our after-sales service. A sale does not end when a system leaves our facility, it only just begins by providing that extra level of service so that our customers succeed and come back for more.
To find out more about how CMS Laser can develop a UID marking solution for your business, contact our sales engineers today!