Evaluation of Effects of Laser Marking for Serialization of Dynamic Aircraft Components

Period of Performance: 05/01/2006 - 11/01/2006

$80K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Mound Laser & Photonics Center, Inc.
2941 College Drive
Kettering, OH 45420
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Common methods for serialization of components are often either invasive and damaging (stamping, engraving), or lack durability in a dynamic or engine environment (inking, tagging). This proposal posits that previous efforts to laser mark materials have often fallen into one of these categories due to poor process monitoring and control. Commercial laser marking systems do not generally offer the degree of mode stability, and thus consistency of marking power, necessary to avoid damage while ensuring a durable serialization mark. Nor has the relationship between laser marking power and induced damage been well studied for many aerospace and engine materials. MLPC will characterize various COTS marking systems (including the new class of Fiber Lasers) for stability, and determine relationships between laser operating parameters and induced damage for relevant materials. Marks studied will be appropriate to NALCOMIS standards. Marked materials will be studied for microscopic damage and subjected to performance evaluations in realistic environments, conducted in cooperation with a prime contractor beneficiary of the technology. GEAE will fill this role in Phase I. MLPC will use the information gained to establish specifications for laser marking workstations and protocols for durably marking materials with acceptably low or no induced damage.BENEFITS: The results of the program will meet an immediate demand of the Navy and other DoD branches for improved serialization of dynamic aircraft components. This will enable improved part management, reducing the likelihood of installation of old, damaged, or unauthorized parts in military platforms, increasing overall safety, reliability, and mission effectiveness. The techniques developed would also find application in the commercial aviation sector.