World leading component marking, identification and traceability specialist Pryor Marking Technology has unveiled a new technological breakthrough – with help from the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing.
Pryor has been pushing the boundaries of marking technology since it was founded in Sheffield almost 170 years ago and includes leading aerospace and performance car manufacturers among its clients.
The company spotted a gap in the market when several customers asked if it was possible to mark components using the same CNC machine that made them, instead of having to transfer them to special marking stations.
“Moving parts around the shop floor is the biggest cause of scrappage and waste in many manufacturing environments,” says Pryor’s sales director, Alastair Morris.
“A tool that eliminated the need to move machined parts to a separate workstation would significantly reduce the risk of damage and free up workshop space, but there weren’t any on the market.”
Although Pryor is at the forefront of marking technology, its understanding of how CNC machine tools are controlled was limited, so it contacted the AMRC for help.
The AMRC invited Pryor’s technical director David Ray, mechanical designer Richard Smith and Alastair Morris to its headquarters in Catcliffe, Rotherham, where Michael Garrett, a project engineer, with the AMRC’s Integrated Manufacturing Group, provided the advice they needed.
“We’re here to help companies large and small and are glad to see that result in innovations that will play a role in improving manufacturing processes and reducing waste,” says Michael Garrett.
Alastair Morris explains what happened at the AMRC: “We looked at the different CNC systems, the connectors they use and the common issues they face with tools.
“We also discussed the problems you encounter if you try to mark a component with a standard CNC tool.”
Armed with that information, Pryor developed a battery powered, wirelessly controlled dot peen marker that could be stored alongside other tools in the CNC machine and selected when needed.
“Once we’d built a prototype, we took it back to the AMRC for testing in their new Mazak machining centre. The test was a success, demonstrating the manoeuvrability and marking ability of the prototype and how it could be controlled wirelessly, using a Bluetooth connection,” says Alastair Morris.
“We’ve now filed a patent application and are about to launch our new CNC Marking Tool on the global market.”
Pryor’s CNC Marking Tool produces human or machine readable, two dimensional inscriptions that meet strict international aerospace marking standards.
It can been controlled wirelessly from a Windows computer, using Pryor’s standard software, which can vary the force produced by the marking head, allowing it to mark materials of different hardness.
For more information on Pryor's CNC Marking Tool, please follow this link.