Laser marking leaves an everlasting impression

May 1, 2013
Co-owners Bettina and Don Snyder have worked together since 1998 to build CS Industries, Palmer, MA, a full-service job shop that provides custom solutions and extensive laser marking and engraving services, precision electron-beam welding, laser-beam welding, and citric passivation for many industries.

Job shop engraves metals, plastics, and organics

Robin Barbero

Co-owners Bettina and Don Snyder have worked together since 1998 to build CS Industries ( of Palmer, MA. A legacy of good old-fashioned American values supporting all products "made in the USA" is largely the reason for their success. CS Industries is a unique full-service job shop that provides custom solutions and extensive laser marking and engraving services, precision electron-beam welding, laser-beam welding, and citric passivation for many industries.

Rotary engraving of metals.

CSI has never stopped evolving and striving to become a leading company in the laser engraving and welding industry. Don, who played an integral role in starting the laser department at a local precision shop in 1986, and his wife, Bettina, decided to bring a full range of lasers for marking, cutting, and welding into CSI. Together, they were able to provide laser services that continue to support many industries such as military, firearms, medical, ad specialties and gadgets, signage, flex circuits, ID products, tooling, oil and gas, textiles, sensors, gauges, automotive, custom cabinets, golf clubs, jewelry, musical instruments, and laptop engraving.

Today, Bettina and Don operate all the equipment at CSI along with their 15 employees, who are all cross-trained to support customer needs. Don's vision and creativity in finding new applications was the inspiration to first introduce lasers in 1986. He has since developed expertise in providing contract work for many applications in laser marking and welding in metals and plastics at his own company.

360 degree rotary engraving glass with CO2.

Laser marking trends

When asked for some of the trends driving the market, Don replied: "There is a demand for coding and marking that will most likely continue into the next decade. The improvements in laser hardware and machines with more advanced features, optical recognition, pass through, and automation allow us to offer added value in terms of performance, speed, quality, deliveries, and flexibility."

He continued to say that demand seems to be stimulated by a number of growing trends, namely:

  1. product identification and related liability providing traceability for virtually all industrial and consumer products, with stricter documentation requirements,
  2. brand security and anti-counterfeiting protection that requires micro-marking and indelible marks to prevent counterfeiting,
  3. environmental concerns with growing awareness to provide green-type permanent marking that avoids the toxic emissions and/or waste caused by inks, solvents, and additional adhesive labels in the environment, and
  4. personalization and the ability to customize industrial and consumer products.

"Many companies who weathered the recession a few years back have continued operating with lean inventory," he continued. "Now that the economy has been picking up, companies are not always positioned to handle the demand, but we can offer to handle their overflow so they can continue operating lean, but still meeting the now increasing delivery demands of their customers."

When asked what made their business resilient during the worst US recession in 2008, Bettina reported that it "was the extreme loyalty and sacrifices of our employees who did what it took to keep the doors open. Employees actually offered to donate time to keep the business going and operated as a family."

Don further stated, "We are a one-stop shop…we offer assembly, welding, engraving, passivation, and actually take on part of the manufacturing at a very affordable price. We will pick up the products at the customer site, find the best and most cost-effective solution, and in most cases will deliver next day. There is nothing we won't do to support our customers and the tight deadlines they must meet in today's competitive marketplace. What's most important today is versatility; there is not one single-most profitable market for job shops; it's the ability to find economic solutions for customers and turn it around quickly."

"We pride ourselves in delivering the highest quality parts in half the time that most shops do. And we love to support other US manufacturers who need outsourcing to finish the product," Bettina added. When asked about some of the upcoming industry trends and areas that need quick turnaround, she stated: "Firearms and ordnance (tactical and civilian) is one such strong remaining US industry with high demand and a need for high-quality laser processing."

Laser welding with a 2 kW fiber laser.

John DeLuca, Diamond Head USA, said, "We have been using CS Industries for years. Delivery is always 'just-in- time,' and precision and quality of the engraving is second to none. With the huge demand that our industry is experiencing, delivery is really critical. While some companies are experiencing six or more month's delivery, Don and Bettina are able to help us expedite orders and meet current demands. With an improving economy and unparalleled demands, CSI is able to provide the service with no delays."

Laser marking of stainless with high contrast annealed marks.

Company features

CSI is fully licensed, which is now required to meet the needs of military and firearm manufacturers, so the company can offer solutions to companies with significant overflow. CSI provides set-up and logos at no charge with same-day quotes and immediate deliveries.

Deep engraving of brass /silver coated trumpet mouthpieces.

CSI also offers flexibility in engraving on many metals, plastic, and organic products. For example, the company uses the fiber laser to engrave beautiful high resolution signature logos on trumpet mouthpieces. CSI uses a Haco Atlantic–Lasit USA laser marking system, a 50-W fiber laser that increases speed and deliveries for customers. CSI now owns both Lasit CW and pulsed fiber laser systems with five axes capable of marking many profiles, shapes, and contours. Many unique machine features such as a rotating scan head are able to rotate around cylindrical parts rather than having to rotate all the parts or mark on all sides of a part, helping to save production time and reduce costs. An ergonomic split gantry system provides a small footprint with a maximum marking area for palletized high-volume marking along with removable rotary indexer, smart focus for fast focus, and built-in flexibility. CSI is further able to provide cost-effective fixtures and tooling that can optimize the process and save money with programmable W, X, Y, and Z and rotating scan head and the newest generation of FlyCad software.

Medical industry marking

When asked about other trends in laser marking, Don states, "One is the booming medical industry with so many baby boomers entering retirement and in need of replacement joints and surgery. Other industries gaining momentum again are the automotive as well as the high-end cosmetic industry that coats glass bottles and decorates with various types of lasers."

The company offers a full range of medical laser engraving for both titanium body implants such as knee or hip replacements as well as a full range of surgical instruments requiring passivation. Don explains, "We have developed a proprietary passivation process that results in non-corrosive or corrosion-resistant laser marks on medical devices and instruments. This process is able to survive passivation with a high-resolution surface mark that prevents any bacteria getting into those parts. We also provide welding of medical devices and have developed a process to join thin wall tubes with our equipment."

CSI is able to offer precise measurement marking of calibrated bands and radial marks on medical instruments and marking on sights and firearm rails using state-of-the-art laser marking systems. With a full range of CO2, fiber and YAG lasers and welding systems in-house, CSI is able to offer a myriad of contract work serving a variety of industries.

Lasit CompactMark with 6-axis split gantry and rotating scan head.

"The constant improvements of design and automation has produced laser systems that are durable and require much less maintenance and electrical usage than those of five years ago," Don concluded. "All of this benefits our customers needing laser services as we can turn these advantages into real savings." ✺

Robin Barbero ([email protected]) is VP of Haco Atlantic-Lasit USA.

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