Heat-Resistant Ceramic Ink for Data Codes on Metal Components
Fraunhofer/DE researchers have developed an extremely heat-resistant ceramic-based ink. For the first time, this enables metal components processed in the automotive industry at temperatures over 1000 °C to be marked with a code. The code can be scanned and is linked to a database in which all the manufacturing parameters for the component in question are stored. The advantages of the technology are not simply the ability to detect production glitches and defective components at an early stage. It also opens up wide-ranging possibilities for designing process chains in the industry more efficiently and reducing their carbon footprint significantly. Even component forgeries can be prevented by means of special additives in the ink. Marking components so that each one can be tracked and traced is an important requirement for the digitalization of processes in the manufacturing industry. In metalworking industries, efforts in this area have previously failed because many metal components must be heated in individual process steps. Codes imprinted conventionally are destroyed when heated and can therefore no longer be read. The Ceracode© ink consists of heat-resistant ceramic particles and a glass component. In the oven, the melting glass ensures that the marking is fixed to the metal and yet is still easy to read. For the first time, Ceracode© ink makes it possible to provide metal components – particularly those that are heated during production in the automotive industry – with a highly stable marking.