Many involved in the wire marking and processing industry tend to ask, “Why should I invest in a laser marker,” or “what can justify such a purchase?” Small businesses are particularly sensitive to such concerns. Many believe that laser wire marking is for large production only, or that it is too expensive to pay for itself. However, once all factors are considered, laser marking is the best choice compared to other wire marking methods, and regardless of a company’s production requirements, UV laser will save money throughout its lifetime and will prove to be more efficient than any other method.
Laser wire markers are superior to hot stamping in every respect:
The most common method for marking wires remains hot stamping, a technique in use since World War II. However, in light of recent events and technological advances, this method has proven both impractical and dangerous. The hot-stamp method is out-dated and takes far longer to mark a wire than a UV Laser marker requires. While Laser wire marking machines mark characters through its font mask (software controlled), hot stamping still requires the user to manually change the characters, taking up the operator’s time and costing the business time and money. The MRO 200 and ULYS Modena laser wire markers are PC based and fully automated which allows for much higher productivity and user friendliness. Moreover, the act of burning characters into the wire takes a lot longer than the laser process which quickly tans (darkens) the wire insulation. Laser wire markers are a lot faster and require less operator time, thus increasing the business’s workload capabilities and sometimes even allowing it to take on marking jobs for third parties.
Hot stampers cannot mark on twisted wires and cables. The LASELEC Laser wire marking machines can adapt to a twisted surface and make markings that are every bit as clear as on a smooth wire. LASELEC goes the extra distance by making such adjustments through the software, thus eliminating any need to switch out wire dice or make any other manual adjustments.
The Australian government is heavily discouraging the use of hot stamping. According to the Airworthiness Bulletin on March 16th of 2007, “Hot stamp marking directly on the insulation of aircraft electrical wire and cable is not recommended due to the degradation that may be caused to the insulation and because alternate, improved identification methods are available.” They recommend that “hot stamp marking of wire and electrical/optical cable should not be used.”
To illustrate the danger of hot stamping, the pictures below are of TWA flight 800 as released by the United States Air Force Research Laboratory found on p. 6 of their Managing Wire Systems Integrity on Aerospace Vehicles document: