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  Technology Update
Fiber Laser vs Dot Peen Marking
Application: Barcode Marking


Selecting the right marking technology is increasingly important in manufacturing as demands and regulations increase for permanent traceability of parts and products. Machine-readable barcode marking is achievable by a handful of marking technologies; and two are a cut above the rest. Which one is right for your application? Laser Photonics will help you decide between dot peen and fiber laser barcode marking.

Dot Peen

Fiber laser

dot peen handheld unit Dot Peen VS Fiber Laser MarkStarPro fiber laser handheld marking system

Dot peen, or pin stamp marking, creates a mark by pneumatically or electromechanically striking a carbide or diamond stylus assembly against the surface of a part.

The mark is an indented line or dot, and only viewable from certain angles.


A next-generation technology that is fast, easy and clean, fiber lasers are rapidly displacing and replacing older technologies due to their flexibility, improved environmental profile, and low cost of ownership. Fiber lasers are compact and rugged, cannot go out of alignment, and easily dissipate thermal energy. The MarkStarPro, used in this challenge, is the industry’s only hand-held portable fiber laser marking system. (Source: Med Device Online--see below)



Barcode Marking Quality:
Dot peen alters the material surface, creating a low contrast mark that is very difficult to read due to the high degree of surface noise created by texture. Different materials produce different amounts of surface noise, obscuring the mark. Experts rank dot peen's marking quality as poor. Laser markings are clear, in high resolution, and very similar in appearance across a wider variety of materials.
Winner: Fiber Laser stars

Laser Photonics dot peen vs fiber laser QR barcode marking

Initial Unit Cost:
Though not yet obsolete, dot peen is definitely a mature technology, long in use, with a relatively low cost of entry. New and used equipment is cheap. Fiber lasers are also an established method of marking, and still advancing as a technology. While prices will continue to come down, current equipment has a higher capital cost than dot peen.
Winner: Dot Peen stars

Total cost of ownership (ongoing maintenance, running costs, process consumables):
Dot peen requires daily maintenance to ensure stylus pens are working. Parts require regular replacement. Running cost is ranked high. Fiber lasers are maintenance-free and require no process consumables. The industry standard MTBF rating is 100,000 hours. Low running cost.
Winner: Fiber Laser stars

Overall effect on parts marked (durability, variety of substrates, potential damage):
Dot peen is a percussive, high-contact marking process. Parts marked with dot peen equipment must be physically robust to avoid deformation due to a high-intensity strike. In many instances, the part must be fixed or clamped due to the hammering contact of the stylus. Only metals that are Rockwell hardness 60 and lower can be marked, and thinner products may not be suitable if there is not enough substance to indent the material without piercing it. If the material being marked is too soft (such as a "hard" plastic), material memory may return the surface to its original condition, making the mark unreadable. The fiber laser is a non-contact marking process with good standoff distance. It produces a clean, high resolution mark on a variety of substrates. Non-intrusive fiber laser marking is recommended for parts used in safety-critical application like aircraft engines or high pressure and high stress systems.
Winner: Fiber Laser stars

Speed and flexibility:
Fiber laser marking systems, such as the MarkStarPRO handheld, use a high-speed marking process. As a handheld system, the MarkStar is highly-flexible and well suited for use in any environment. Dot peen is a slow-speed, basic marking process. While handheld versions are available, many of them require supplemental air supplies, and few can replicated the marking depth of a fixed-mount system.
Winner: Fiber Laser stars

Winner: MarkStarPro Handheld Fiber Laser

Fiber laser marking is a fast and clean marking technology, rapidly replacing older product marking methods. The MarkStarPRO is the fastest, most flexible, highest quality system available. Useful for Direct Parts Marking, UDI/IDU barcoding, imparting complex graphics, logo marking, and a variety of other marking applications on a broad variety of materials, the Laser Photonics MarkStarPRO is the clear head of the class. Proudly made and supported in the USA!


Sample: Click here to watch a video of the MarkStarPRO in action.

Watch Laser Photonics YouTube video of QR UDI UID barcode marking using the handheld MarkStarPro fiber laser system

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