Case Study | Fiber Lasers Dot Peen Marking BAE Systems

BAE Systems

As a military supplier, BAE must comply with the Department of Defense (DoD) marking requirement document MIL-STD-130. This document requires that items supplied with a cost of $5,000 or more must be permanently marked in a very specific way with information including supplier code, part number and serial number. This information is encrypted into a specially formatted Data Matrix code. The set of data is used to create a globally unique identification for each item. This is referred to as a UID code. UID marks must survive the intended life of the item.
Laser and dot peen marking station at BAE
Laser and dot peen marking station at BAE
A closeup of BAE's fiber laser marking system, used for marking UID.
A closeup of BAE's fiber laser marking system, used for marking UID.
  • Laser and dot peen marking station at BAE
  • A closeup of BAE's fiber laser marking system, used for marking UID.

MECCO Products Used:

  • SMARTmark<sup>®</sup> Fiber Laser Marking Machine
    Fiber lasers can be used for a wide variety of applications, from industrial traceability to branding, on materials such as steel, aluminum, plastic, & ceramic.

    SMARTmark Fiber Laser Marking Machine

  • MC2000 SuperFast
    Compact, high speed dot peen marker that offers marking speeds up to 16 characters per second. This patented system leads the world in marking speed.

    MC2000 SuperFast

  • Laser Marking Software
    Our laser marking software and custom GUI's offer the most innovative, easy-to-use laser marking interface available in the market today.

    Laser Marking Software

Complying with UID Mandates

MECCO worked with BAE Systems, manufacturer of the Army’s Bradley armored infantry vehicle, to deploy the latest direct part marking technology in order to comply with the DoD UID mandate. BAE Systems utilizes MeccoMark® 20w Fiber Lasers and automated dot peen marking systems to comply with these requirements.

These technologies are used to meet marking standards for harsh environments on cast, forged, and fabricated metal. The information marked on their parts also provides BAE Systems with reliable and accurate data for supply chain visibility and asset management throughout a part’s life.

Scott Ashway, the BAE Manufacturing Project Engineer responsible for UID compliance, says that, “We’ve found laser marking to be the most consistent and versatile direct marking method available for our applications. The MECCO laser system is very user-friendly and reliable.”

Turnkey Marking for Traceability

BAE also purchased a complete UID system for one of its suppliers, Red River Army Depot (RRAD), to allow them to permanently identify refurbished components at their facility prior to entering BAE’s plant. The turnkey UID system includes a fiber laser marking system with a programmable Z-axis used as the primary marker for tags that are attached to items, giving them a unique identification. In addition, a dot-peen marking system is included as a backup to the primary marker and for any capacity overflow.

The laser system is used to mark stainless steel data plates, aluminum tags, flexible foil and polyester data plates, and aluminum foil labels, which are then applied to uneven or round surface labels. Tags up to six inches square are being anneal-marked with hundreds of alphanumeric characters along with 2D Data Matrix and linear barcodes. These plates are then mounted to finished products such as the Bradley fighting vehicle. The laser marks have proven to withstand the harsh environments the vehicle sees and still provide a readable mark after years in the field.

Polyester and other roll stock labels are also directly marked with the fiber laser. These labels are used to deliver a UID mark to flexible or moving items such as wire harnesses or cables.

For higher volume tag and data plate needs, an automated tag marking station enables operators to load large numbers of blank tags into an automated feeder, mark each tag with a UID-compliant mark and return the tag to a stack.

TESTIMONIAL

“We’ve found laser marking to be the most consistent and versatile direct marking method available for our applications. The MECCO laser system is very user-friendly and reliable.” - Scott Ashway, Manufacturing Project Engineer