Laser marking made easier: FOBA Middleware Integration Software

The task of integrating a marking laser into a special working environment becomes easier with the help of FOBA Middleware. This software solution package has been developed for the easy integration of FOBA's basic laser marking systems. It also enables a facilitation of installation and setup and aims to ensure a continuously reliable and user-friendly marking process. Particularly when there are demanding working environments, FOBA Middleware makes it possible to operate and control all relevant parameters from one program and via one user interface.

The following interview with Son Tran, FOBA’s Sales Manager Europe, provides answers to frequent questions regarding the benefits, capabilities, and fields of application of FOBA Middleware.

How does the FOBA integration software package ease demanding integration requirements?

There are laser marking applications that require the integration of a variety of hard- and software components. This applies for instance when you need to integrate a laser into a special machine with X, Y and Z axes and possibly even a rotary or swivel unit. Or when the laser makes part of an automated production line with motorized Z-axis for adjusting the working distance for multiple products.

To make it easier for our customers to solve these challenges, we developed FOBA Middleware, a solution that makes it possible to control all parameters relevant to marking from one point. The operator then only needs to set-up one single laser marking job, using the familiar and user-friendly FOBA MarkUS graphical user interface. Further programming is no longer required, as all functions are integrated in one program.

With this you have a one-in-all solution and can combine all marking-relevant parameters in one laser job: Marking content, laser parameters, axis positions, and optionally camera control when you have a FOBA laser with integrated camera.

What additional benefits can derive from this FOBA software package?

Easier laser marking operation and set-up enables each party to concentrate on their own strengths: The integrator focuses on the mechanical engineering part like electrical or control engineering. FOBA as a laser partner, on the other hand, contributes the share of laser technology including laser systems and software.

As all factors relevant for marking are being included in on laser job makes it not only simpler but also more cost-effective. To control the production process there is no more need for two "recipes", like one for the axis movements in the PLC and the laser job with the contents on the laser PC.

Additionally, there is more freedom of choice and future-proofing regarding substantial key components: You can use the machine hardware, like PLC, axes and motors, rotary/swivel unit, machine door or rotary table, of your choice. The only condition is that your PLC needs a TCP/IP connection and a PLC program created by you to communicate with the FOBA Middleware.

Does FOBA provide a PLC function block for the connection to the FOBA Middleware?

For the Siemens PLC S7 (from TIA V15.1) we offer such a function block as part of the middleware scope of delivery. Not for other PLC devices.

We are happy to provide the code of the function block in text form, so that your qualified PLC programmer can adapt it for your chosen PLC.

Can the FOBA middleware be copied as often as I want?

No, you must purchase the middleware for each installation. After ordering, you will receive a code that you can use to install middleware on a PC.

Which PC requirements apply?

It is possible to use your own PCs for the FOBA software and the connection to the FOBA laser, as long as your PC configuration meets the FOBA requirements.

If the PC still needs to be connected to your network, then a third network interface is required. We can offer this as an option.

What about axis positioning accuracy output with the FOBA software?

FOBA MarkUS laser marking software can specify the following accuracies:

  • For linear axes 1 micrometer
  • Rotary/swivel unit 1 milli degree

FOBA Middleware only expects confirmation from the PLC that the setpoint has been reached. How exactly the setpoint is actually approached depends on the components used by the machine builder and is within the responsibility of the machine builder.

What is the minimum scope of supply to order?

In each case, I would recommend contacting your local FOBA representative and request an individual advice and quotation. Basically you can expect that you need the following components:

  1. FOBA basic system with FOBA MarkUS compatibility
  2. FOBA MarkUS version 2.12.60 or higher (for Quad Core boards: MarkUS 2.13.1 or higher)
  3. FOBA Middleware integration software

Regarding the price, please calculate with the price for the respective selected laser including MarkUS software plus approximately 2,500 € (2,635 $) for the FOBA Middleware.

How do I get more information about facilitated laser marking integration?

Please download our FOBA Middleware flyer for first product information.

For specific advice regarding your manufacturing requirements, our team will be pleased to arrange a personal consultation with one of our sales engineers.