Application StoriesLaser Marking

Circumferential Marking of Round Parts

FOBA helps Centex Machining reduce operation time from 18 to 3 hours

The circumferential marking of round parts, some of which have very small diameters, is one of the most demanding tasks in laser marking. Because more and more medical products are being directly marked in uncompromising quality and for clear traceability and application safety. This Case Study discusses how Centex Machining was able to solve specific laser marking challenges and at the same time increased efficiency, throughput and marking quality.

As the requirements for direct part marking became more demanding, Centex Machining and Welding Inc. of Round Rock, Texas, chose a FOBA M3000-P laser marking system to solve recent marking and productivity challenges. Especially for the marking of cylindrical devices like bone twist drills they found a solution that increased productivity

Medical Device Contract Manufacturing

Centex Machining is specialized in complex assemblies and implants. Certified to ISO 9001 and 13485, their mission is to provide customers with superior quality, cost effective products and a timeframe that fits. Founded in 1979, Centex Machining grew up with the medical device industry and became fluent in regulations, processes, and specifications. As a result, they became a top tier supplier to some of the largest OEMs in the medical industry.

“The majority of our medical customers require their parts to be laser marked”, says Ed Gross, Centex Machining’s Director of Operations. From prototype to final products like orthopedic implants and instruments, parts need to be marked with various contents: UDI codes must be reliably machine-readable to guarantee full traceability throughout the entire product lifecycle, brand logos, trademark signs or quality labels provide protection against counterfeiting, depth gauges on cylindrical devices ensure treatment safety, etc.

The Challenge…Streamlining the Process

One of the most challenging marking requirements for Centex Machining was the marking of cylindrical parts with wraparound text. Due to the complexity of the task numerous different manufacturing steps were necessary. This meant an enormous need of time at all the different operation stations for set-up as well as for the marking itself.

“We have a job that has historically taken 6 hours to set up and 12 hours to shoot 20 pieces on all 12 operations. With the FOBA M3000 and integrated vision we were able to combine all 12 operations. Set-up time was reduced to 2 hours and marking time down to 1 hour for 20 pieces”, Ed Gross describes one of the greatest benefits they could achieve with FOBA laser marking technology.

The Solution

The M3000 is the largest of FOBA’s M-Series laser marking workplaces. It can be supplied with customer-specific optional features. “The main reasons for our decision for a FOBA M3000 laser marking workstation were the size of the marking field, the camera and the marking software”, says Centex Machining’s operations director. “The machine is easy to use and program. Especially the ability to see and adjust a live view of the part to be marked allows us for greater accuracy and exact placement.”

Large marking field size, programmable axes, and rotary unit

With a maximum workpiece size of 38.19 x 19.29 x 17.71 in (970 x 490 x 450 mm) and three programmable axes (X,Y,Z), the FOBA M3000-P allows for a wide range of marking applications. Centex Machining additionally chose a rotary to turn cylindrical parts in the machine so that they could solve specific marking challenges.

Optical mark alignment and pre-/post-mark inspection with integrated vision

FOBA’s vision systems are directly integrated in the scan head of the marking laser and facilitate the alignment of the laser mark. Validation and verification steps before and immediately after marking directly in the laser system prevent marking errors and ensure repeatable results. This also helps manufacturers to meet quality and validation standards.

Marking software usability

The FOBA MarkUS software package includes both a convenient user interface and high-performance features for the control of the laser marking process. The integrated vision system and the Advanced Operator PlugIn enable a fully visualized marking process. Added Value: Expert Support FOBA’s application engineers, technical service teams and sales managers provide support with expert knowledge. This makes it easy for FOBA’s customers to find appropriate technical solutions, pre-define application specific laser parameters and manage the machine set-up. Additional service care packages and manufacturing equipment qualification offerings support customers with IQ/OQ and long-term PQ/MQ measures.

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