Tube Marking Machine

Traceability of products is essential for most manufacturers. Being able to record batch and product data and manufactured dates, allows companies to track their products from the manufacturing process and ultimately to when the product goes into the field. SP Automation and Robotics was asked to design and manufacture a laser marking and inspection system for a component that was part of an overall assembly medical device assembly.

The Challenge 

The challenge was to design, develop and build a complete a marking module. The system had to accept multiple family of parts and therefore change tooling was required.


  • Self-contained system, that can be easily moved and transported.
  • Automatic feeding of components and ability top up bowl levels whilst machine running.
  • Simple tool design to allow for quick changeovers.
  • Laser marking of components.
  • 100% inspection of numerical and barcode
  • Segregation of good and bad parts into separate collection bins.
  • Cater for various device configurations therefore including product

The Solution

Based around a servo driven tooled star wheel the metal components were from a bowl feeder and on to a linear feed track. At the end of the track, the components were fed into scallops machined into the star wheel.


Although the output of the machine was 100parts minute the design and rotational speed of the scalloped star wheel meant that no outside retaining  rings were required to hold the product in location.


On entering the dial plate, the part was sensed and an encoder flag set to track its position. The product was then moved passed a Keyence laser maker system which coded the product with a unique number and barcode. Immediately after the laser marking, a camera inspected the quality as well the accuracy of the codes printed.


Parts that passed all tests were cammed out of the dial plate and into a collection bin. Failed parts were then unloaded into a reject bin.

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