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On the Fly Laser Marking

Detecting and compensating for component movement on a high speed production line.

Marking on the fly is mainly used in continuous manufacturing processes where any stoppage to the manufacturing plant would be uneconomical. Through a sophisticated PC interface and associated software, marking lasers can be adapted to take into account the speed of the work-pieces to ensure distortion-free marking.

With the merger of Alltec and FOBA, the FOBA brand inherited Alltec’s renowned on the fly product line and its associated expertise. As one of TLM Laser’s product partners, FOBA are currently the leading specialists in laser marking on the fly. Through its German Applications Laboratory, FOBA offers customers the services of its simulation facility. This facility allows FOBA to recommend the optimum marking on the fly solution based on customer requirements and then provide a sample mark that gives a true reflection of the quality customers can expect from such a system.

PC Interface and Encoder the Key

FOBA is pre-eminent in laser marking on the fly through a combination of PC interface technology, an unbeatable high speed scan head range and a wide scope of image field sizes.

100m Per Second Conveyor Belt Speeds

Working with conveyor belt speeds of up to 100m per second, the PC interface board compensates for the movement of parts by means of an incremental encoder, linked to the conveyor belt. The encoder signals are fed into the interface board. These signals detect both speed and belt direction. To compensate for variable movement, all vector data must be connected, depending on the component’s current position.

The correction starts with a command which defines a scaling factor for converting one encoder pulse into a corresponding shift of the current output position in the image field. When the command is called, the counter is set to zero. Thereafter, the product of the scaling factor and the current counter value is added to the current output position. To keep pace with conveyor speed variations, the correction is performed every 10 µs. If the belt moves at a constant speed, a periodic clock signal might be used instead of an encoder.

For further details or information about laser marking on the fly, its associated technology and our partner FOBA’s custom made solutions, please contact