Military marking

July 1, 2005
The laser is an ideal choice for marking because of its speed and non-intrusive marking capabilities, and the ability to mark the part directly.

Nutley, NJ - The laser is an ideal choice for marking because of its speed and non-intrusive marking capabilities, and the ability to mark the part directly. A new method of manufacturing accountability has had to be implemented in order to preserve high standards and to resolve problems in manufacturing after a part has been in the field. Because the laser is capable of precision marks, and with the popularity of 2D matrix marking, laser marking has been spreading through the industry and has now found its way into the military.

The Air Force was the first to implement the Tool Accountability System (TAS). All tools are laser marked in the tool bin area. When tools are assigned to the mechanic they are logged into a tracking system via the laser mark on the tool. When the maintenance is completed all tools are returned to the tool bin and logged, and a confirmation is issued when all tools have been accounted for. This eliminates a potential problem of a tool being left in the vehicle and causing a catastrophic disaster.

The National Guard also has now implemented the TAS program, and it seems that it will be adopted soon by all the military agencies. Data Technology Systems (DTS; www.DataTechSys.net) provides three basic turnkey laser marking systems: 5W, 10W, and 20 W systems, and the company has been supplying the U.S. military with dog tag machines for the past five years. It is now one of the first companies to provide the military with state-of-the-art laser marking systems.

Additionally, many large manufacturing companies are now requiring their vendors to mark all parts with 2D barcodes. This requirement has been speculated about in the aerospace industry and is even now moving to the automotive industries. DTS has seen continued interest in its systems over the past six months. According to John Mancini, DTS director of operations, “It seems that what used to be perceived as just a good idea is now becoming a reality.”

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