Sheet metal fabrication blog -

Introduction of custom sheet metal part production projects for industrial engineers and purchasers

Sheet metal part printed with the help of electrical current

Printing with the help of electric current? Learn about our latest service additional to sheet metal fabrication, which is electrochemical marking/printing technology. Controlled corrosion on the metal surface by electrical current. 
I. Product identification, various procedures 
The use of product identification methods has become increasingly important and widespread for manufacturing companies regardless which industrial segment they operate in response to the growing need to be able to track their products through the entire lifecycle. Traceability significantly improves the product quality and prevents counterfeiting. In additional to tracking, the printing may make the product more attractive e.g. displaying the product logo for promotional purposes.

Various printing technologies (such as laser marking, inkjet printing, screen printing or electrochemical printing) have their pros and cons too. When choosing the right one, manufacturing companies should consider such criteria like the raw material, the size of the part, quantity, end product function, type of surface treatment, possible coating thickness or the aesthetical requirements of the printing, etc.  
A procedure step of electrochemical printing process
At Melior Laser sheet metal part printing is an important additional service to sheet metal fabrication in order to produce a complex part. The most frequently used labelling/printing technologies at Melior are: laser marking, punching, inkjet printing, screen printing and pad printing and finally the recently launched electrochemical printing. We have already made a video about sheet metal part printing and we will introduce electrochemical printing in this blog entry. 

II. A brief history of electrochemical printing
Before the II. World War most of the aircraft engine components were manually pressed as marking, which often lead to fatigue fractures during use. During the war the team of engineers commissioned by Army Air Corp. developed an alternative printing method for marking critical components. This was the electrochemical etching, which is durable and characterised by easy and fast identification.
 

Next step of electrochemical printing of sheet metal parts

III. Steps of electrochemical printing procedure
1. As a first step the printing template is to be prepared.
2. Then the electrolyte should be absorbed with the printing stamp. After that this stamp is pressed to the template placed onto the sheet metal part surface. 
3. In the next step thanks to the electrical current the electrolyte fluid creates the pattern defined by the template via surface oxidation. The electrolyte is a harmless saline solution and its pH factor easily can be controlled. 
4. At the end of the process the chemical process can be stopped by wiping the surface with a neutralizing liquid and the print will be fixed.
 
IV. Technology advantages
- fast and cost effective for small and medium series
- can be used for printing metal parts of different shapes and sizes (data, graphics, barcode) 
- 360 dpi dpi resolution can be reached
- non-invasive, surface-friendly
- durable, resistant to wear
- 2-3 micron deep, irrespective of surface hardness
- coated parts can be printed afterwards, except for the anodised ones where the printing must be done before the surface treatment
- printing tone can be two types: light (white) or dark (depending on raw material)
 
V. Areas of use
Due to its advantageous characterstics this printing technology is applied mainly on "sensitive" sheet metal parts like surgical instruments, implants or food industry products. Suitable for electrically conductive parts. Because of the above electrochemical printing is most commonly used at the parts manufactured for the below industries:
- automotive
- aerospace industry
- energy industry
- food industry
- pharmaceutical industry
- advertising industry


Sources:
www.img-electromark.com
www.Schilling-marking.de 

Melior Laser Ltd. H-2051 Biatorbágy, Tormásrét u. 5/B.
Phone: +36 23 313 270     info@meliorlaser.hu
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  • Last Modified: Friday 06 April 2018, 08:33:27.

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