Marking & Etching | Wednesday, 29 August 2018

3 Practical Benefits of Electrochemical Marking Method

Terms such as ‘marking’ and ‘etching’ are often used as synonyms to describe several related branding processes.

For the purpose of accuracy, we will make a distinction and define these activities as follows:

  • Marking is a dark imprint on the metal surface
  • Etching removes a small portion of the surface to reveal the desired (whitish) pattern.

When it comes to the electrochemical method, both operations are performed using a weak electrical current (AC for marking or DC for etching) and mild electrolytic acids. The results are clear and permanent.
Being that marking and etching are in essence very similar, we can safely conclude that the below-mentioned benefits pertain to both activities.

The reason for listing these benefits is to shed more light on some of the common misconceptions surrounding the electrochemical process.

Here are 3 practical benefits of electrolytic marking and etching to consider when choosing equipment for your production.

1. Affordability and cost-effectiveness

The costs associated with the purchase and maintenance of equipment are probably high on the list of your concerns when considering different marking methods, and rightfully so. For a long time, even the simplest of tasks required the use of expensive and complex equipment. Not anymore.

Contrary to the acquisition of laser and inkjet machines, the purchase of electrolytic equipment is considered a low investment. Recurring expenses are also minimal as they generally include only the inexpensive marking fluids.

The prices of other consumables and spare parts are also negligible.

As an emerging method, electrolytic marking is no exception in the case of pervasive suspicion in the quality of cheaper production solutions. However, the results obtained by utilizing this method are by no means inferior to the results achieved through other methods. Just the opposite, they often surpass them in terms of quality and consistency.

All this essentially boils down to the production model. Electrolytic marking is a manual process and is therefore not tailored to automated production that requires the use of extremely expensive equipment. It is better suited to a more flexible way of working.

The method is therefore ideal for hobbyists, not just industrial professionals. Sculptors, bladesmiths, and other craftsmen can now brand their work without investing in expensive machinery and struggling with ineffective DIY solutions. All this without sacrificing any of the output quality.

Opportunity and training costs are other important factors to consider. Namely, more complex computer-navigated systems are harder to operate so you have to count on the cost of educating the personnel as well. With electrochemical marking systems, this is not necessary which leads us to our next point.

2. Process simplicity and ease of use

In addition to a weak electrical current and mild non-dangerous acids, marking is performed using disposable or reusable stencils. Preparation of single-use stencils is a simple activity that most often involves the use of standard label printers.

  • Before you start marking, it is important that the metal surface is cleaned of grease and other impurities so you don’t encounter any complications while working.
  • The next step involves dispensing the marking liquid and placing the stencil in the desired position. Different metal surfaces require the use of suitable and specially developed marking fluids for optimal results. For example, we would use our CGT-S1 marking fluid when working with stainless steel.
  • With the stencil in place, we use the marking head to apply pressure and conduct electricity to the workpiece.
  • Once this is complete, the only thing left is to properly neutralize the surface so its pH neutrality is restored.
Cougartron´s selection of marking/etching fluids

The process is incredibly simple, even absolute beginners can quickly master its fundamentals.

Watch the video below to see the Cougartron marking process using Cougartron MK12 Marking Machine and reusable/multi use stencil with custom-made logo. 



3. Increased work flexibility

The beauty of using electrochemical marking equipment is that you are not tied to your workstation.

The entire marking setup is lightweight and easily portable to any location. You can use it off- and on-site, wherever you have access to a stable power supply.

This includes professional workshops, garages, and even your own backyard.

The video below shows all the components of the Cougartron MK12 Machine Set, including a practical carrying case that allows you to easily move your machine from one workplace to another. Cougartron MK12 is our fast, practical, and effective marking and etching machine for stainless steel, mild steel aluminum, brass, and other metal surfaces.

Note: You can also use your Cougartron weld cleaner to mark by upgrading it with Cougartron Etching Set.

Contact us for a free consultation

If you require further information about electrochemical marking and etching, please feel free to contact us at any time. We can advise you which equipment to choose to fit your requirements for marking your projects successfully.


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