To Prevent Counterfeiting, the Bearing Giants Are Adopting SIC MARKING Traceability Solutions

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June 24, 2021

The bearing market has been facing a scourge of counterfeiting for many years leading to huge consequences. No less than 5.4 million jobs are at stake, as well as a loss of 36 billion euros for the global economy (figures from the World Bearing Association).

These alarming figures are prompting major bearing manufacturers around the world to mark their components. On the one hand to facilitate internal traceability and maintenance actions, but above all to improve their corporate identity, by offering distinctive and aesthetic signs.

Various marking requirements.

Every year, millions of bearings are manufactured for numerous sectors such as the automotive and aerospace industries, but also for the energy and medical sectors. Obviously, this large demand generates a wide variety of products, in terms of used materials (steel, ceramic or other treated metals) but also in terms of dimensions (larger or smaller diameters or widths). As a result, marking solutions must easily adapt to these differences.

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The marking type is also different. The bearings are marked with a variety of information, ranging from alphanumeric production codes or product data (site or date of manufacture) to Datamatrix codes or logos. The inscriptions must be clear, readable and unalterable. This last point is especially true if the bearings are subject to significant mechanical or thermal stress.

‘In addition to their great modularity, the marking solutions used must be able to adapt to the different parts’ shapes. Consisting, among other things, of an outer and inner ring, it is common to engrave both. This involves flat, circular, concave and convex markings. All of this while considering cycle times that can sometimes be in the order of a second.

Laser marking, a cutting-edge technology.

SIC MARKING, a major provider in industrial traceability, has been committed for over 30 years to providing the most appropriate marking solutions to meet the challenges of industry. Its experience has enabled the French group to offer a technically superior range of laser marking machines as well as a large number of automatic reading solutions (Datamatrix).

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SIC MARKING’s integrated lasers are particularly well suited to marking ball bearings, providing clean and permanent results on all materials, from plastics to ceramics to hard metals. The various options available, including the 3D function and Autofocus, ensure perfect marking on all bearing surfaces (outer or inner ring).

The range is completed by 3 workstations (L-BOX, XL-BOX and XXL-BOX) allowing a dedicated marking station. This can be integrated into a production line or used as a stand-alone marking station. The production of small, medium and even large series is possible. The resizing of the boxes, the creation of specific tooling, the addition of additional movements (Z axis, rotary axis) are options available on request.

Personalized support around the world.

What makes the strength of the 300 employees’ company, apart from its product quality, is its ability to adapt to the different needs of its customers, perfectly illustrating its knowledge of tailor-made solutions.

SIC MARKING has 3 competence centres in Europe, America and Asia, enabling it to offer specific solutions, developed and studied locally. Thus, the team dedicated to the customer’s needs is perfectly capable of adapting to the various contacts, whether they are multi-site, process, workshop or line managers. The particulars of the different sites are carefully studied whether it’s the surface area available, the technologies for conveying parts or the environmental constraints. This ability to provide multi-site support is highly appreciated by the ETIs and large international groups that place their trust in SIC MARKING.

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The laser marking specialist had the opportunity to prove the qualities of its solutions by taking up the challenges proposed by a major Swedish ball bearing manufacturer with a presence in Germany. The manufacturer wanted to mark an alphanumeric and Datamatrix code on steel bearings with diameters ranging from 150 to 600mm. In addition to adapting to the different part sizes, the solution had to be integrated directly into the production line and be able to mark the bearings in two places at the same time, while ensuring that the Datamatrix was read back.

With its many years of experience, SIC MARKING was able to offer a customised station, equipped with an IPG 50W laser, marking on the bearing face and an IPG 3D laser, automatically controlled on 2 axes, capable of marking on the part radius. A proofreading system was also integrated in order to proofread the marking directly, as well as a conveyor belt, allowing the machine to be integrated into the production line.

In addition to a solution that perfectly met the specifications, SIC MARKING was able to convince the customer thanks to its dedicated organisation, local support via its German subsidiary and a major marking test campaign that mobilised its Laser experts.

For more information, visit www.sic-marking.com.

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