Top Dot Peen and Scribe Marking Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)


To make sure our website works as smoothly as possible, we use cookies. By continuing to use our website, you agree to our use of cookies.

Accept Find out more


7 Common Dot Peen and Scribe Marking Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

by Michael Davis
Scribe marking machine, impact dot peen marking machine Are you a MECCO customer in need of technical support? Please visit or submit a service ticket.

When the job calls for deep, permanent marks for product identification and traceability – especially when they need to be readable over painting or galvanizing – the best answer is typically pin marking.   

But if you’re not getting the depth, speed, or end-mark you need, it can cause costly delays and other issues for your operation.

Pin marking (also known as impact marking) methods include dot peening and scribing. Unlike labeling, pin marking is a permanent, direct part marking process using a carbide pin to indent the marking surface with text, logos, 1D codes, and 2D Data Matrix barcodes. You’ll see many methods and applications, and manufacturers in different industries, from oil and gas to fabrication, rely on these marks to meet strict regulations and high customer expectations.

Pin marking is critical. How can operations make sure that every mark, well…hits the mark?

Here’s a list of a few of the top challenges we hear from manufacturers and how you can avoid making the same ones.

1. Using the Wrong Marking Method

First thing first, if you’re using the wrong marking method, you’re not going to get the results needed to meet your goals.

You’ve probably heard of dot peen marking or “peening”. But there are other options as well. Factors like your depth requirements, desired mark appearance, and noise level limits, can determine which option works best for your plant.

Here’s a quick comparison of our Dot peen, Vibra Peen™, and Scribe methods:
  Dot Peen Vibra PeenTM Scribe
How it Works Tungsten carbide pin that directly impacts a material to create a mark MECCO patented dot peen method where pin pulses 80-100 times per second, creating solid characters Removes material by dragging stylus rather than displacing it through impact
Mark Appearance Specific dot pattern  No specific dot pattern Smoothest continuous mark
When to Use When dot peen is required for depth, speed, or other factors When the deepest, fastest marks are required with a smooth appearance  Desire high-quality, deeps marks where noise is a concern; can be used for branding or cosmetic purposes
Electric vs. Pneumatic Either electronic or pneumatic Pneumatic only Pneumatic only
MECCO Configurations OEM (U-Model), Benchtop, Portable, Combo OEM (U-Model), Benchtop, Portable, Combo OEM (U-Model), Benchtop
Common MECCO Window Sizes
50x17(25), 100x17(25), 160x17(25)

90x60, 150x100

Deep Marker (N34)72x35, 200x35, 90x60, 150x100
50x17(25), 100x17(25), 160x17(25)

90x60, 150x100

Deep Marker (N34)72x35, 200x35, 90x60, 150x100
75x15, 60x40, 50x30, 80x80, 120x40, 180x45
Key Advantages Faster and better quality than manual or vibro tooling operations Speed, depth, and superior mark appearance; MECCO machines mark 65% faster than competitors Noise level 30% lower than U.S. requirements; Deepest and fastest compared to other scribe solutions

Before you invest in equipment, talk to a marking expert who will help you select the best marking equipment, application, and software.

2. Missing Important Maintenance Checks

 As with any piece of equipment, consistent maintenance is a must. Depending on your machine, this can include general cleaning of belts and spindles as well as engraving head inspections.

Frequent lubrication is critical. However, the type and amount of lubricant used can have an effect on your marking. For instance, too much lubricant can cause oil to appear in other parts of the machine and can result in damage to the machine’s internal parts. On the other hand, too little lubricant can cause irregular mark depths.

Make sure you have your machine’s manual on file and that your maintenance staff has read and understands it fully.

3. Overlooking Laser Marking Capabilities

If pin marking is your operation’s one and only method, you might be missing out on the benefits laser marking can offer.

A growing number of operations are complementing – and expanding – their capabilities with laser marking.

One example of how to leverage this combination of technologies is tag marking. If you already use a pin marker to add part or serial numbers to customized pre-marked tags, why not save expenses and customize them yourself?

This quick video shows how you can create your own custom tags easily from start to finish.

To maximize the value of a laser marker, look for one that doesn’t take up too much space on the factory floor nor require excessive training. A fiber laser marking enclosed workstation like this one is easy and economical. That’s even before you factor in what you save by bringing the job inhouse.

The two most effective types of product marking are laser and pin marking thanks to their permanency. That’s why MECCO specializes in both pin marking and laser technologies.

4. Not Taking Control of Your Controller

Do you need to serialize marking data, change fonts, upload files, or program any other marking information? As with most machines, you pin marking system’s controller is command central. It’s basically the brains of the operation. It communicates data to and from your dot peen or scribe unit information on what and how to mark. Depth and speed, font type, alphanumeric information – all of these factors are programmed into the controller.

If you’re experiencing issues with your controller, a few important things to consider are:
  • Do your operators have the proper training to understand how to work the controllers and how to troubleshoot when necessary?  
  • Is your firmware up to date?
  • Are your keypad and controller on the same version?

Addressing these issues early can help prevent mistakes and unplanned downtime.


5. Underutilizing Data

Product traceability data is a fundamental aspect of smart manufacturing. This data can be captured in several ways, including barcodes, QR codes, and Data Matrix codes. These codes are machine-readable and are used to identify specific product information.

Leveraging these unique identifiers (UIDs) on your products is the first step in traceability. Once your part is marked, you can use a scanner that is connected to a database to capture that data. (We recommend these scanners.)

Watch a quick demonstration of how to scan product marks and capture data.

A 2D Data Matrix is preferred for traceability because it can store a greater amount of information with a smaller footprint. Additionally, 2D Data Matrix codes are more secure and have redundancies so that part of the mark could be covered or destroyed, and it would still retain its readability.

6. Setting the Incorrect Standoff Distance

It’s important to set your machine up for success. Setting standoff distance before you start marking allows you to create the deepest, cleanest mark on your parts.

Standoff distance is the space measured from the tip of the stylus to the part being marked. A standoff gage should come with your machine when you purchased it.

Here’s how to set up your standoff distance quickly and easily:

7. Exceeding Maximum Noise Levels

Thanks to the carbide pin that directly impacts a material to create deep, durable marks, dot peen applications can be noisy – depending on the type of material and product you’re engraving.

OSHA requires that employees implement a hearing conservation program when noise exposure is equal to or greater than 85 decibels averaged over 8 hours of work, or an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA). 

Effects of industrial noise can range from stress and headaches to permanent hearing loss. If you’re unsure your facility is exceeding these levels, OSHA and other organizations offer tools and resources.

One solution is using scribers. Its quiet operation, with an average volume of 64 dBA on aluminum tubing, can help you avoid the need for hearing protections.

The MECCO Scribe Marking Machine can mark as much as 30 percent quieter than US standards.

Minimize Future Scribe and Dot Peen Marking Mishaps

The best way to avoid problems is to have the right plan. Work with your team to review past or potential issues and determine what steps you need to take to prevent them.

Your pin marking machine provider should also partner with you to make sure you have the right product, application, and software. Also check that they offer training and life-long technical support.

Our MECCO team takes a holistic approach for our customers, from defining your initial requirements to providing that continued support.

Learn more about the MECCO Experience and download our laser and pin marking Product Catalogs.

Interesting in learning more? Request a demonstration here.
Michael Davis
Dot Peen Product Manager

Comments (0)