Laser Marking Systems / Laser Markers
Laser Marking in the Aerospace Industry
Laser marking is a technology that is often used in the aerospace industry to engrave or mark components with great precision. It utilizes laser beams to create permanent markings on various aerospace materials, ensuring traceability and compliance with industry standards.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Aerospace Part Marking Standards
Aerospace Part Marking Standards Identification Requirements
- Builders name
- Model designation
- Builder’s serial number
- Type certificate (if applicable)
- Production certificate (if applicable)
- Established rating (if applicable)
Aerospace Part Marking Standards for Aircraft Components
Aircraft components listed below must have marks that sustain normal air use, damage to the aircraft, or damage to the mark:
- Propeller blades
- Propeller hubs
- Power parachutes
- Weight shift control aircraft
Aerospace Part Marking Standards for Aircrafts
Aircrafts listed below must have marks that sustain normal air use and are legible from the ground:
- Manned free balloons
- Aircrafts made before March 7, 1988
- Power parachutes
- Weight shift control aircrafts
Materials Used in the Aerospace Industry
The aerospace industry mostly uses molten metal for forming die-cast components (the skeleton of the aircraft). The most popular molten metal for die-cast components is aluminum alloy. However, other alloys like zinc, magnesium, and copper are also used.
Aluminum Alloy in the Aerospace Industry
Aluminum alloy is particularly popular in the aerospace industry for many reasons:
- High thermal conductivity
- High electrical conductivity
- High corrosion resistance
- High strength
- Low cost
- High recycling ability
- Dimensional stability
- Ability to form complex shapes
- High production rates
Aluminum Alloy Marking Challenges
Although aluminum alloys have many benefits as die-cast components, they can present challenges for many conventional marking methods. Among these, are susceptibility to deformities. Being that the aerospace industry as a whole requires adherence to very tight tolerances, any marking technology that provides opportunity for physical deformation or a change in mechanical properties can spell out disaster. Laser markers in general, being a non-contact style of marking, prevent the opportunities for many of these issues to arise.
Laser Marking Aluminum: Aerospace Laser Marking Solution
Incorporating lasers into aerospace part marking, especially on aluminum die-cast components, helps ensure compliance with aerospace part marking standards.
Aerospace Laser Marking Process
The aerospace laser marking process uses a focused laser beam to engrave or etch a mark onto a component or an aircraft. The laser will either melt or evaporate the material, leaving behind a clean mark made from the original material. It causes no harm to the part.
Carbon Migration Laser Marking
Carbon migration is a style of laser marking that is extremely popular in the aerospace industry as it leaves behind a mark that is highly contrasting and easy to see, but does not raise the surface of the material or create any depth, thus allowing parts to still meet tight surface finish specifications and tolerances. This is achieved by de-focusing the laser to spread the heat over a wider beam spot. This act pulls the carbon content of the material to surface level, creating a visible mark.
This marking style is achieved only on ferrous materials.
Benefits of Aerospace Laser Marking
Using a laser for aerospace part marking offers advantages ensuring components stay within regulations. Laser marks are permanent, efficient, precise, damage free, and environmentally friendly.
Using a laser for aerospace part marking ensures permanent marks. There is no extra material like paper or ink that carry inherent risks like falling off or smudging.
Laser marking and program change over can be done in seconds as opposed to hours of potential work. Laser marking for aerospace part marking combats supply chain bottlenecks and eliminates manual labor.
Laser marking uses micrometer precision for a perfect mark left behind.
Aerospace laser marking does not add friction or physically impact the component, which allows for a contactless form of marking.
Laser marking for aerospace part marking doesn’t use chemicals or extra consumables like ink or paper.
Aerospace Laser Marking Machine
KEYENCE’s Hybrid Laser Marker MD-X Series
KEYENCE’s MD-X Series was designed to address many of the common concerns and challenges presented by tight tolerance manufacturing such as what is seen in the aerospace industry. With industry leading 3-Axis beam control and ultimate flexibility, the MD-X should be the top choice for aerospace laser marking.
MD-X Key Features
- Tilt Correction
MD-X uses Z tracking to account for large part tilts during mounting so that the marking is level and adjusts with the tilt. With the size, style, and importance of parts that the aerospace uses to assemble an aircraft, tilt correction is necessary.
- XY Tracking
The MD-X uses a built-in sensor and camera to track positional and focal deviation of part targets. With XY Tracking, the laser adjusts based on positioning and recognizes changes in part position and changes accordingly. Die-cast components can be deformed, and XY Tracking will align the mark to the position of the part or send a warning if the component is incorrect.
- Depth of Focus
The depth of focus creates high-contrast marks that are legible and fit aerospace part marking standards.
Looking to Incorporate Aerospace Laser Marking?
Aerospace laser marking is an efficient, precise, and permanent option for keeping your organization up to aerospace part marking standards. At KEYENCE, our laser markers and knowledgeable staff consider industry needs to give you the best marking results. Contact our team today for a free demo or to discuss further.