The marking of glass for industrial use has been done for hundreds of years. In the past the methods used have included ink stamp marking, sand blasting, air grit, acid etching, scribing etc.
Industrial applications of glass marking include:
1. Marking of safety information on safety glass used in commercial and residential construction. This includes glass areas around doors and/or entrance and exit locations.
2. Marking of glass for commercial and residential construction to identify the glass or door manufacturer [for product identification and marketing/sales activity]
3. Marking of headlamp or tail light lens in automotive applications for manufactures name, year of manufacture and/or part number. Also used in the manufacture of televisions for marking mirrors and lens.
4. Marking of serial number, product identification, or other manufacturing information for the prevention of theft and validation of warranty claims
5. Marking serial numbers, part numbers, text, or bar codes allowing for parts to be tracked though the production process until final assembly and shipment
The traditional methods of glass marking all involve contact with the surface of the glass product which exposes the product to stress and potential damage. Co2 lasers offer significant advantages for marking glass products. The RF excited sealed beam Co2 laser coupled with a galvo head and software offers the fastest, cleanest, most reliable method for marking and etching glass.
A Co2 laser can laser mark glass with bar codes, especially 2-D or data matrix bar codes, which can easily be coupled with vision systems for reading the data contained in the bar code. The use of bar codes on glass allows for the product to be tracked all the way through the production process until final assembly. This helps assure a continuous uninterrupted supply of product. The laser marked or laser etched bar code can also be used after the sale of the product for identification purposes and validation. This helps to eliminate warranty costs related to counterfeit or unauthorized products.
A Co2 laser marked or laser etched bar code can also be read by vision systems in the manufacturing process to determine the identity of the part. Examples include prescription strength of eye glass lens, or the type of front headlamp lens used in a Honda Civic. This ensures that the part is sorted and used properly throughout the manufacturing process and that the correct number of parts is produced based on anticipated sales for final assembled components.
The advances of Co2 laser marking of glass over traditional methods are extensive. These include:
Co2 laser marking for glass in industrial applications is the fastest, most effective, least costly method in which to mark the product.
Jim Morin writes for Worldwide Laser Service Corporation a company that specializes in T. E. A. Co2 lasers. For more information visit http://www.wlsc.com