Laser marking for machine tools
In order to be able to apply marking onto different metal materials and on different component geometries on its machine tools, Sunnen has invested in laser marking systems from Mobil-Mark.
Sunnen Products Company, headquartered in St. Louis (USA), was founded in 1924 and is a global technology company with a focus on mechanical and plant engineering. Sunnen AG, as a European subsidiary, has been developing, customising and manufacturing innovative honing systems for the mechanical engineering industry in Ennetaach (Switzerland) since 1996. The systems can produce, for example, cylinder tubes for hydraulic applications, landing gear components for aircraft or injection nozzles for motor vehicles with the highest precision. Honing is used to grind cylindrical bores to dimensional tolerances of up to one thousandth of a millimetre. “Our solutions make bores round,” says Rolf Wald, Sales Manager at Sunnen AG, with a wink. However, the honing machines not only work with high precision in dimensional ranges corresponding to one fiftieth of the diameter of a hair, but are also capable of precisely machining components up to twelve metres long.
Sunnen AG follows the claim to manufacture top-quality machines used for top-quality applications. This also includes that each component is permanently marked for traceability and assignability purposes - for example with serial number, construction type, operating instructions or arrow symbols. Until now, marking was done by needle engraving: “The engraving device was very bulky and it was becoming increasingly difficult to obtain spare parts,” says Roy David, assembly manager at Sunnen AG. In 2021, he decided to look for a forward-looking replacement. “We wanted a flexible, easy-to-use and high-quality marking solution.” Through internet research, Roy David quickly came across Mobil-Mark's laser marking systems. After initial contact, Dieter Steck, managing director and chief developer of the Ulm-based company, travelled to Sunnen AG in Ennetaach and demonstrated the performance of the mobile laser engraving systems on the Sunnen AG components to be marked. “That convinced us straight away, and we decided on the Quasar 30 shortly afterwards,” says Roy David.
Marking on different metal materials
The 30-watt fibre laser from Mobil-Mark has been in operation at Sunnen AG since September 2021. It marks and inscribes components made of a wide variety of materials every day: honing heads, honing stone holders, extensions and clamping devices made of different types of steel, type plates made of anodised aluminium, special parts made of cast iron - practically everything. Since then, the engraving laser produces around 100 markings per month. David, the assembly manager, is very satisfied: “The performance is suitable, the handling fits, and the operation is so simple that we only needed a few hours for the introductory training.” It is particularly important to Roy David and his team that the Quasar 30 is flexible - one of Mobil-Mark's unique selling points: “Some of our components are so large that a stationary marking system would not have been an option. With us, the engraving laser definitely has to go to the component, not the other way round.”
In order to be able to mark all components safely, cleanly and reliably despite different surface geometries, Sunnen AG chose six individually matching sealing units for the laser head as accessories for the Quasar 30. Among other things, they are adapted to the different radii of the tool extensions to be marked and make it possible that the users do not need any protective equipment for laser marking. Rolf Wald and Roy David are now so convinced of the Mobil-Mark laser systems that they can imagine acquiring further devices - including for a fully automatic marking station in which a robot operates the laser. In short: “We are completely satisfied”, they conclude.