Engine supplier installs robot laser marking tool

A supplier of automotive engines has automated a new cylinder head line with assembly machines and a robotic laser marking system to identify the components going through the production line.

The equipment was provided by Tec Systems in the UK. Each cylinder head is marked with a solid-state laser mounted to the end of a six-axis ABB industrial robot.

The robot is used to align the laser marking field, which is a flat plane, with the surface on the component that requires marking. This solution enables the component to be fixed in orientation and the robot to orient the marking field to the required angle. The cylinder head which is cast from a high grade aluminium alloy is laser marked with a black high-contrast and permanent laser mark.

The laser system supplied for the automotive supplier consists of a very compact laser marking head which weighs just 10kg including air cooling. The use of air cooling avoids the risk of downtime owing to failure of a water connection in the cooling circuit. A scanning head, using a two-axis galvo mirror scanning and a flat field lens, provides a marking field of 120 x 120mm, and the robot can be used to reposition the marking system if the marking area required exceeds this.

Tec’s robot and laser system is a solution that could be applied in virtually any industry, as the degree of flexibility provided allows it to be easily reconfigured to suit new components with different geometries, and the orientation of the marking field enables components of all shapes and sizes to be marked. The systems provide a modular method of introducing parts into the safety enclosure that can be modified to suit the environment of the production task.

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Analysis and opinion

By Dave MacLellan, Executive Director, AILU


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