Hints & Tips
Electrochemical Marking Hints and Tips
I am getting a brownish mark rather than a black mark
The power setting is probably too high so reduce the power. Also check the electgrolyte being used is correct for the material you are marking. Please refer to the electrolyte selection chart or call us for advice on electrolyte selection.
Cleaning Your Marking Head Parts to Maintain Marking Quality
To ensure the contrast and clarity of your mark is maintained it is important to inspect the connections between the marking head and the output cables and the earth connection to make sure they are clean and free from corrosion and dried electrolyte. This should ideally be done weekly. They can be cleaned with an abrasive material such as Scotchbrite. In addition to this we recommend washing the marking head out ideally at the end of each day. If using ME grade electrolytes then wash the marking head out with tap water. If using MA grade (Aerospace/Nuclear) wash in de-ionised water.
Importance of neutralising
Some of our electrolytes require neutralising and we can supply neutraliser in a handy "Neutrawipe" pack for ease of use. Note that ME8 does not require neutralising.
Electrolyte shelf life
The majority of our electrolytes have a shelf life of 18 months. After that time you may see a degradation in the quality of mark.
Marking standard compliance
The ME3000T is used for most Aerospace applications and meets the standards set out by the key aerospace manufacturers. We also manufacture our own range of high purity approved Aerospace electrolytes which are all batch tested for purity. Please refer to the marking standard and contact us for further information. Our MA grade electrolytes are also approved for Nuclear marking.
No power output given from the marking unit
Check the overload function has not been activated. If it has, this is typically due to a short circuit caused by touching the electrode of the marking head on to the component or earth connection. Simply reset the overload reset and check the main fuse.
Using the AC setting on a multi-meter without any load:
ME3000T Power Setting:
- 1 - 5 volts
- 2 - 10 volts
- 3 - 15 volts
- 4 - 20 volts
- 5 - 25 volts
- 6 - 30 volts
ME3000S/B Power settings:
- 1 - 10 volts
- 2 - 20 volts
- 3 - 30 volts
Metal Types & Finishes
Marking Titanium - achieving the best results
Titanium marks very quickly. There is a specific technique for oxide marking this metal. Use either MA4 or MA5. Low power setting, 1 or 2 on most of our marking units. Marking cycle of 0.25 - 0.75 seconds. Do not pre-wet the marking face or stencil with electrolyte. Keep the felt pad just damp with electrolyte and use a very firm marking pressure and mark the part in one go without moving the marking head if possible.
Marking onto a lightly oiled surface
This can be done, however, the oil may block the stencil over time if not changed regularly enough.
The latest versions of our stencil software are Windows 7, 32 and 64 bit compatible. Please check if you already have software for compatibility and upgrades.
Stencils & Stencil Printers
How to view the stencil image on BRSK and POD stencil paper
To make it easier to see the image on the stencil with both these types of stencil paper, use a highlighter pen on the shiny side of the pod paper and then rub off the excess ink with a tissue. This leaves a visible impression of the stencil image. Not appropriate for Aerospace applications.
Alternatively, place the stencil onto the component to be marked and wipe the marking head over the stencil lightly to release a little electrolyte which gives some visibility of the image before the marking cycle is started.
POD Stencil printer setup checks
Check the following:
- The POD paper exits the printer shiny side up.
- The label size is the same within the printer driver and print setup in the software
- Check the "direct thermal" box is ticked
- Check there is NO RIBBON in the printer, which is for "thermal transfer"
- Check the correct printer has been selected
- Select "partial cut" in the "stock" settings menu to ensure the POD stencil paper feeds correctly
Disposable Stencil Life
Stencil life can be affected by the power setting, the electrolyte type and the marking cycle time. For BRSK stencil tapes expect approx 3-5 marks per stencil for oxide marking and 1 mark for etching although BRSK stencil tape is not suited to very deep etching. With POD stencils expect aprpox 10-15 marks for oxide dependent on the application and 1-2 marks for etching.
Dot Peen Marking Hints and Tips
Regular stylus maintenance
Use a very light oil or baby oil (not WD40) and apply 1 drop at the end of each day for heavy usage, otherwise once or twice a week.
Quality of character definition
If the characters are not well defined it could be related to one of two factors: the stylus may be set too close resulting in a very shallow mark or if the stylus is too far away the mark may be very deep or the beginning of a character may be missing. With both of these adjust the stylus distance by referring to the instruction manual for power and offset distances.
The second reason may be the condition of the stylus tip. The tip could be chipped or more commonly, it may be blunt and need resharpening. Replace the stylus and/or regrind the old stylus. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further assistance.
Maintaining consistent marking quality with reground stylus
If the stylus tip has been reground, you may need to adjust the distance from the top to the marking surface as the stylus will now be slightly shorter.