22 September 2015

Robotic laser marking system from TEC Systems

When a major supplier of high performance automotive engines needed to automate a new cylinder head line, they approached Tec Systems, owing to their proven track record in this market. Tec Systems provided an assembly machine, a number of leak testing stations and a robotic laser marking system to identify the components going through the production line.

To address the laser marking requirement, Tec Systems used one of their standard systems for robotic laser marking. Cylinder heads are manually loaded onto a linear conveyor and at the laser marking cell, the task is to permanently etch the face of the component using a compact solid state laser marking head which is mounted to the end of a 6-axis ABB industrial robot.

The robot is used to align the laser marking field, which is a flat plane, with the surface on the component that requires marking. This versatile solution enables the component to be fixed in orientation and the robot to orient the marking field to the required angle. The cylinder head which is cast from a high grade aluminium alloy is laser marked with a black high-contrast and permanent laser mark.

Inside the laser marking system
Tec’s partners’ advanced laser marking systems and scanning head technology have enabled the company to utilise huge reductions in the size of the laser heads and scanners it uses. The laser system supplied for the automotive supplier consists of a very compact laser marking head which weighs just 10kg including air cooling. The use of air cooling avoids the risk of downtime owing to failure of a water connection in the cooling circuit. A scanning head, using a 2-axis galvo mirror scanning and a flat field lens, provides a marking field of 120 x 120 mm and the robot can be used to reposition the marking system if the marking area required exceeds this. The reduction in volume and weight of the marking systems employed by Tec, combined with improvements in rugged design, have allowed Tec to mount the systems at the end of a motion axis or an articulated arm robot, providing a “mark anywhere” solution.

Tec’s laser marking systems are suited to almost all materials, and the ease with which they can be configured means they are often used in automated production systems where serial numbers, barcodes, 2D matrix codes, logos and text can all be marked permanently, cleanly and rapidly on the components.

Tec’s robot and laser system is a solution that could be applied in virtually any industry, as the degree of flexibility provided allows it to be easily reconfigured to suit new components with different geometries, and the orientation of the marking field enables components of all shapes and sizes to be marked. The systems provide a modular method of introducing parts into the safety enclosure that can be modified to suit the environment of the production task.

Tec Systems’ partners include most the major laser source and robot manufacturers and can therefore incorporate the laser source or robot to suit the application.

Tec Systems are a leading manufacturer of laser processing systems, robotic automation and leak test systems based in the Midlands, United Kingdom. Standard and bespoke systems are offered with a full service from design through manufacture, a large installed base worldwide is supported by a dedicated team of engineers.

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