Product identification: which is the best-suited method?

Published on 15 oct. 2019 In: The LAB

  • Reading time
  • Level05 min

In our world, where the technology keeps growing every day, the connected objects are multiplying more and more. it's essential to identify them quickly, precisely and effectively. To help you making a good choice, our team compared for you 4 specific inscription techniques.

Product identification: which is the best-suited method?

 

In a global environment where technology keeps improving, there is an increasing quantity of connected objects. It is therefore essential to identify those devices in a quick, accurate and, above all, efficient manner. To help you choosing the best suitable solution, we have compared 4 specific identification devices that are available to you.

Several product identification systems are available on the market today, depending on your needs, your budget or your technical limitations. To assist you throughout this selection process, our Production team provides you with additional information on these 4 unique marking techniques.

 

A must-have: the label

The very first and probably the easiest technique for marking industrial products remains the so-called label. It is much more than just a sticker, as it can be fully customized to match your corporate colours and core values. As a genuine reference for customers, the label is also a real marketing challenge and a guarantee of business quality. A product direct labelling indeed makes it possible to clearly display both its name and identifier, but also the different product-related standards. The label may be used in a great variety of shapes, forms and colours, and suit any size.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Flexible and creative shape.
  • Fast and easy implementation.
  • Low-cost solution with a combination of thermal, inkjet or laser printers for a high-resolution printing.

LOWLIGHTS

  • Label adherence and friction resistance issues over the long run.
  • Long time of exposure.
  • Adaptability and robotization might result difficult for some specific products.

 

Screen printing

This very traditional printing process, which has been used for many centuries, is now widespread to print information on various sized connected objects made of different kinds of materials. Whether manual or automatic, screen printing uses stencils, replacing the original silk screens, traditionally located between the ink and the substrate. As a result, industrial machines performance has increased and this technology is being used in several ways: on flat, rotary or textile surfaces, thus offering a very extensive scope of applications.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Good value for money.
  • Long-lasting printing on products.
  • Print-out on all types of media and especially on volumetric objects.
  • Convenient and flexible process.

LOWLIGHTS

  • Complex colour printing (to a certain extent)
  • Not suitable for printing too thin details.
  • No solvent-resistant (in some cases).
  • Necessary prior treatment of the surface to be printed, with the need for a drying oven.
  • Challenging equipment settings and significant maintenance requirements.

 

Micro-percussion marking

Micro-percussion marking is a permanent technique which distorts the material by using a vibrating punch, used to achieve a series of impacts on the item. Two different processes are available for this purpose: pneumatic and electromagnetic.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Direct, permanent, precise and tamperproof marking on all kinds of shapes and surfaces: flat, convex and concave.
  • No need for supplies (inks, labels, solvents, acids).
  • Easy to use.
  • No chips: the object weight remains unchanged both before and after marking.
  • Fast and high-quality marking.

LOWLIGHTS

Tool-related vibrations may deteriorate some electronic components.

 

Laser marking

Laser marking is a versatile printing technique that is well proven in industrial environments. It has been increasingly integrated into production lines. This specific method of engraving, which involves the use of a high heat laser beam, is gradually removing material to produce a final pattern. Marks vary in depth and the line varies in thickness, depending on the number of times the beam passes over the item.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • No need for supplies (inks, labels, solvents, acids).
  • Permanent and high-definition marking, resisting to all damages (except erosion).
  • Unlike a label that may crumble, laser marking protects the elements from falling off.
  • May be used in areas where traditional techniques are unavailable.
  • Reduced equipment maintenance.

LOWLIGHTS

  • Long engraving time.
  • Monochrome engraving.
  • Relatively expensive equipment cost, although this technique is always more widespread.
  • Technical limitations applicable to some colours and materials.
  • Limitations to engrave some items, depending on their size.

 

Key concepts to remember

As detailed previously in this article, the different above-mentioned connected industrial objects marking techniques have both high- and lowlights. The difference mainly concerns their use, the technical and budgetary limitations of your business as well as the operating environment.


Such technologies are currently becoming more reliable, each of them specializing in its own area of expertise, targeting the specific needs of its customers as closely as possible. However, please keep in mind that laser marking is becoming more and more popular in production lines, mainly due to a recent cost-reduction, as well as its robustness and precision. Companies that focus on product traceability shall rather choose laser or micro-percussion marking, while businesses with a stronger visual and aesthetic concern shall prefer labelling or screen printing. In any case, product marking is and will remain essential insofar, as it is an essential part of a qualitative process that reflects any company's corporate identity.


In an ultra-connected world, product customization, security and traceability are more than just added value, but also a major strategic priority and even a legal obligation in some cases. 









Phone