Increased recalls in the automotive industry: How vision-based laser marking ensures uncompromising traceability
2014 was a record year of recalls in the automotive industry which cost the carmakers dear: almost 64 million vehicles have been recalled for safety problems solely in the USA, and more than 1.9 million vehicles in Germany. This trend is observable in many other countries as well, and did not stop in 2015. A current example: In August 2015, a luxury carmaker recalled almost 20,000 cars in China because of problems with the brake hoses. This is where innovative laser-based parts marking solutions come into play. They ensure more product safety and reliable traceability.
Product marking requirements in the automotive industry
The permanent marking of safety-relevant parts – such as the mentioned brake hoses – is extremely important in the automotive industry. It helps to meet the high standards of product safety, process reliability, traceability and quality assurance. In order to be resistant to external influences during manufacture and use, the markings on automotive parts have to be especially indelible and also resistant to temperature, light and lubricants. A high marking quality ensures optimum legibility and secure traceability. It is of further importance that the right markings are applied on the right position, to the correct and non-defective part. Such a marking process where all marks are executed precisely and with repeat accuracy ensures that waste is drastically reduced and productivity as well as efficiency are increased significantly. In times of increasing recall risks followed by increasing demands on the quality management combined with high cost pressure, this can be a crucial competitive factor.
A unique laser-based process solution for more product safety and reliable traceability
Laser technology is ideally suited for the challenges of the product marking in the automotive industry. Innovative marking solutions even contribute to an easy, reliable traceability and with that to a higher product safety. With its closed-loop imaging marking process, FOBA offers an incomparable and unique solution at the market that includes the laser marking and that especially ensures process reliability before and after marking.
The key of FOBA’s solution: a reliable, highly precise laser marking system with the integrated patented vision system IMP (Intelligent Mark Positioning). IMP supports a reliable product marking by means of a pre- and post-mark optical validation as part of a three stage closed-loop marking process:
- Prior to marking: part validation, pre-mark verification, automatic mark alignment
- Laser marking
- Post marking: mark-verification, Optical Character Verification (OCV), 2D code validation/code reading
The three stage marking process combined with the patented vision system IMP ensures highest process reliability and zero defect markings and with that it makes a crucial contribution to the quality assurance. The code reading option is especially important for the basic documentation of product cycles and for the reliable and quick identification of products which is decisive in the case of product recalls. With FOBAs process solutions, carmakers and automotive suppliers benefit from a higher product quality, more efficiency and a reliable traceability.
Automotive part with traceable laser marked code
FOBA M3000: Stand-alone laser marking station for component marking in automotive manufacturing. Laser systems that can be integrated into existing production lines are also used.