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Uncovering the Secrets of Stainless Steel Marking

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Stainless steel, or inox, is a metal alloy highly valued by a wide variety of manufactures. Using this alloy for different applications and product lines has boosted the demand for quality and durable stainless steel marking to provide identification, quality assurance, traceability and for many other purposes.

Inox was made to last even in the most unfriendly conditions. The adding of chromium to this iron-carbon alloy called steel has made it corrosion-resistant and thus optimal to use for applications exposed to open air environment, wet and moist. This type of metal is of high demand for various products from industrial machine parts to small household utensils and medical instruments.

The Science of Stainless Steel Marking

As other metal materials, inox can be handled by almost any type of etching technology, dot peen and laser marking being on top of the list. The exact etching devices highly suitable for the job are offered at the website of the acknowledged marking solutions manufacturer HeatSign.

Generally speaking, the choice of technology and especially the exact machine will depend on the expectations one has for the result. Low expectations naturally lead to high options.
But most commonly low expectations are not the case with stainless steel products designation.

Demands and Applications

As the inox is a chosen material for a range of different products, the demands and special expectations towards the end result are not surprising. The characteristics of the material itself offer the resistance and the durability of imprints, but there is more than that.

First of all, many of the stainless steel parts are subjects of state or industry regulation. And that concerns marking as well.

For some functional parts in aerospace and automotive industries, only those etching solutions are required to use that completely omit the possible effect of cut signs on the further performance of the part.

Some standards are not that specific about the technology but about the content. Stainless steel fittings or valves inscription usually consists of the rating, material, size and melt designations, manufacturer or the trademark and some other information. For steel pipe engraving, the heating code can be added and the marking system on bearings presents a complicated designation coding the material and functionality options.

Sometimes the application sets much more specific goals for inscriptions, for example:

  • High contrast signs for nameplates and labels
  • Intrusion-free processing for safety-critical applications like surgical instruments
  • High precision for easy traceability
  • Complex graphics for machine-readable codes
  • Gentle handling for thin pieces
  • Deep engravings for stylization in customized products

The most flexible and versatile stainless steel marking systems that can manage the advanced inscribing tasks are based on laser technology.

Options and Benefits of Laser Etching Stainless Steel

Justifying the title of the most flexible marking solution ever, laser method exploits different techniques or their combination to achieve the wanted result. Some examples are offered below.

Engraved imprints are deep and easily sight- and hand-perceptive, the most durable ones offering the additional aesthetic benefit of “the traditional engraved look”.

If there is no necessity of deep cuts, ablation touches a much thinner surface layer.

For colored graphics stain method is used, leaving the shades of grey, black and dark brown or even broader color palette with some applications.

Along with flexibility and versatility of etches, laser solutions offer other substantial advantages:

  • Wide automation opportunities
  • No consumables
  • Eco-friendly and power-saving
  • Suitable for different sizes and forms, rough surfaces

Laser Etch Metals and Combine With Other Materials

In a manufacture processing different parts from various materials, a flexibility of laser equipment in handling a wide range of metal and non-metal surfaces is indeed saving not only costs, but also time and effort. Having one solution for many (if not all) of your etching demands in many ways come out as the most valuable advantage of laser.

Stainless Steel Labels Manufacturers Recommend Dot Peen

Laser technology is highly suitable for many applications, but in some fields dot peen machines are considered the most optimal. One of these applications is nameplates, labels, tags engraving.

These plates are mostly used to contain valuable information about product or person identification and are supposed to endure any physical exposure. And so is the information. Dot peening provides deep durable cuts that are easy-readable and reliable – and for reduced cost. Just stick to a quality machine to handle the thin material gently!

Summary

Stainless steel is used in different industries and the demands to its marking can range greatly. Thus, be sure to visualize the desired result and consider all of your product’s features to choose the best etching solution. The recommended technologies for stainless steel inscribing are the flexible laser equipment and time-proven dot peen machines.

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