For the past three years, laser marking experts at Laserax (Quebec City, QC, Canada) have been working to provide die casters with foolproof traceability systems that are able to mark permanent identifiers directly on the castings. A breakthrough was achieved with the help of the company's development partners at Cascade Die Casting Group (Grand Rapids, MI) and Mercury Marine (Fond du Lac, WI).
With Laserax's laser marking process, it is possible to identify parts right out of the die and feature tracking codes that will resist any post-process treatments, including shot blasting. Ever-increasing requirements by automotive manufacturers are pushing die casters towards a perfect traceability system, including extraction of the casting from the die through to any post-processing.
"At Mercury Marine, having parts with shot blast-resistant markings meant being able to track critical parts individually throughout the supply chain. Mercury Marine continues to set the standard for extreme reliability and intuitive operation of marine propulsion systems. Laserax has been a great partner in improving the traceability throughout our manufacturing operation," explains Alex Monroe, engineering project manager at Mercury Marine.
Maintaining the legibility of a part identifier through shot blasting involved testing several parameters, explained Alex Fraser, CTO of Laserax. It required many iterations, and many hypotheses were formulated and rejected based on the test results, he says.