Marking medals in the field

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Rofin has released details of an unusual application for its laser marking systems in the form of producing personalised medals, engraved with the competitor's name and racing time at sporting events such as marathons. A specialised Munich-based medal-producing company, MSM Sportvermarktungs, is able to mark several thousand medals with live data received from the timekeeping during a race, at a rate of up to 20 medals per minute. The company uses laptop computers, networked to the the timekeeping equipment of the race, to control an RS marker, two EasyMark systems and a PowerLine F20 fibre laser, which can be packed in an aluminium suitcase and transported without difficulty by aircraft.

Prior to each event, the marking and laser parameters must be adjusted to the shape of the medal. Klaus Huber, one of the operators from MSM, routinely uses Lego bricks in order to make sure that the medals are held firmly in place within the machine, allowing other parameters to be set quickly and easily.

The marking itself can be based on one of several physical processes, the most common of which is the process used for coloured medals. Dark oxide layers are ablated by the marker, leaving a finished marking that is clear and rich in contrast. With light-coloured and polished medals, dark markings are generated by forming a layer of oxide, with some burring on the surface.

Rofin believes that MSM is representative of a growing group of 'in the field' laser users - a group that Rofin believes will become increasingly important. Rofin states that companies such as MSM look for tools that are compact, flexible and easy to use, and which also produce excellent results. This unusual application has shown that Rofin’s PowerLine F 20 adequately meets those requirements.