The global site of the UK's leading magazine for automation, motion engineering and power transmission
12 April, 2024

Twitter link

Laser etching cuts terminal rail marking times by 90%

03 February, 2020

Weidmüller has developed a laser-based system that marks pre-assembled terminal rails automatically, cutting the time normally needed for marking by up to 90%. The Automated RailLaser system can handle manually or automatically assembled rails up to 1.2m long.

All the operator has to do is to insert the rail into the machine and press a button. A matrix code on the rail ensures that the right marking program is called up.

The process starts with a digital twin of the terminal rail created using a piece of software called the Weidmüller Configurator (WMC), which is used to assemble terminal blocks automatically using data from CAD systems. Data is transferred from the WMC to the RailLaser.

When a rail is inserted into the machine, an image-processing system examines it and compares with the digital twin. If there are any deviations in the positions of the blocks – caused, for example, by thermal expansion, or by the blocks tilting during manual assembly – the system compensates for them, ensuring that the laser marking is correct, even if the blocks have moved by several millimetres. Fast, precise marking can be achieved on many different materials with a maximum deviation of ±0.2mm.

The laser-based terminal marking system in operation. A vision system (top, left) compares the actual assembly with a digital twin and makes any corrections necessary.

No special markers are needed and panel-builders cann produce bespoke colour schemes for their customers. The laser marks are said to be resistant to smearing and scratching. Other rail components with complex geometries could also be marked by the system.

The RailLaser system is intended to be used with Klippon’s Connect A-Series push-in terminal blocks which were designed from the outset to be handled by robots.

  • To view a digital copy of the latest issue of Drives & Controls, click here.

    To visit the digital library of past issues, click here

    To subscribe to the magazine, click here



"Do you think that robots create or destroy jobs?"



Most Read Articles