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Electrox has launched the Through The Lens Laser Marking System developed for high-accuracy marking arrays of small items loaded in a jig.

The company said that with this system customers can achieve rapid set-up, minimise waste and increase throughput.

The system uses a through-the-lens (TTL) camera system to automatically ensure every item is marked in the same position and in the same direction, irrespective of the orientation of the part in the array.

It can be applied in a range of industries and to a broad spectrum of components and materials.

The system comprises a camera integrated into the marking head of an Electrox laser with a set of optics that puts the centre of its lens on the same axis as that of the laser marking lens.

That is, on the same axis as the laser beam.

In operation the camera first verifies ‘part present/not present’.

If ‘not present’ the camera moves to the next position in the jig.

When ‘part present’ the camera software compares the image with a reference image and initiates x, y and rotational offsets in the mark file to compensate for any small positional inaccuracies and variations in the orientation of the part in the jig.

For customers marking a wide variety of parts (size, shape and style), the system can utilise data from an external source (a part numbers database, for example) to identify the correct jig for the part to be marked, the designated camera lighting scheme (top-lit, under-lit or both), the reference image of the part, the appropriate laser-marking files and the correct focusing height for the laser.

For one such application Electrox developed a set of fully customised programme files with user-friendly screens to provide a wholly integrated solution.

A typical application example is in marking high-value titanium and stainless steel cross-head screws for surgical implants where the marking area may be as small as 2mm2 and the cross may be in at any angle in the jig.

The system has also been used to ensure the correct positioning and orientation of the marks in the critical areas of miniature packaged integrated circuits.

The through-the-lens system can be applied to any laser-marking system – EF Technology, Yb:fibre or CO2 – and configured in any laser-marking workstation.

Customer implementations have varied from a Cobra 20W diode pumped Nd:YAG laser in a standard Maxim workstation to a Raptor EF Technology laser in a special-purpose workstation.

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