Known for having one of the most complete ranges of marking equipment in the industry, we are often challenged by our customers to provide solutions for unique applications. We love to consider ourselves thinkers and problem solvers, and we are always eager to tackle new challenges.
Recently, a large firearms manufacturer needed to identify their full line of receivers with a 2D datamatrix barcode for traceability. An assortment of material colors , part finishes, and marking locations were involved. Multiple complex issues were presented, which were ultimately solved by our engineering team.
Multiple Challenges to Overcome
Our customer’s current method of marking did not enable them to mark the datamatrix or log the code automatically. In fact, they were writing the serial numbers in a book on a daily basis and using that as a reference for any traceability issues. In addition, when receivers were sent for outside processing, the serial numbers were sometimes unreadable afterwards. This was a huge issue since the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms requires complete traceability once the machined alloy becomes a receiver.
The company wanted to work with a single source that would enable them to identify the part, read the code and write the decoded information along with a timestamp to an electronic log. They were looking for an engineered solution that involved laser and dot peen applications. Additional requirements included:
- Complete workstations
- Custom part holding fixtures
- A camera and light source to read the 2D datamatrix
- On-site installation and follow up support
After reviewing bids and ideas from multiple companies, the customer ultimately turned to SCHMIDT since we offered a superior design and turnkey solution from a single source.
Our Evaluation and Recommendations
After a careful analysis of the situation, we tested a variety of lasers in an effort to determine which one would be the perfect fit for the customer’s application. The fiber laser was chosen as the best choice due to the robust nature of the product and because it has:
- A superior material processing time
- A long life expectancy
- Exceptional electrical efficiency
Instead of applying a broad fix, our engineers reviewed each of the six product lines on an individual basis and ultimately created a unique tooling solution for each one. We then worked closely with the customer to test each product line, color and material combination to make sure that the datamatrix was readable after additional processing. Thanks to the expertise and vision of our entire team, readability on the finished products exceeded the customer’s expectations.
We were able to deliver exceptional solutions, on time and on budget. We provided the customer with shorter processing times, the ability to track products being sent for outside processing and greatly enhanced their traceability capabilities.
From design to build and finally to installation, our ability to bring all aspects of this challenging project together shows that our experience and competence are the driving forces behind our customers’ success. To learn more, please visit our website.