Life in the fast lane - Laser marking and motorsports

Racing teams in motorsports and formula one strip down each participating race car (and the spare) after each racing or test event. Each one of these thousands of components is subject to constant testing and continuous improvement, meaning traceability and identification is crucial. Needham Laser Technologies have a broad customer range of suppliers in the motorsport industry, due to laser marking technology being the preferred technology of choice.

Continuous improvement in motorsport isn't just about improving lap speed, there are safety aspects, environmental considerations and reliability checks, that's why racing teams are serious about component identification. Many of the larger parts used in F1 cars must have human-readable information marked on them and be permanent. This is where laser marking technology and our N-Lase Range lead the field, with several machines already in situ at F1 suppliers and F1 teams. 

It's not just the large parts that need identifying, the components that make up that marked part also need a level of traceability. Nearly every single component that makes up the car has to be traced back to its origin.


Through Direct Part Marking, it is possible to trace a product from production to redundancy. This is achieved by marking high-quality permanent marks on the parts that can withstand the extreme conditions associated with motorsports (abrasion, extreme heat, caustic fluids). Using these marks, motorsport teams are able to maintain accurate histories of when and how parts are made, how long they are used, where it was used and the part's overall performance.

This is all done by laser engraving a data matrix code on the part and this is now the standard mark globally within the automotive and aerospace industries. Due to these codes' size and data capacity, it makes it possible to identify every single component from nuts and bolts to suspension springs and pistons. 

The data matrix code is the standard due to its resistance to marking defects, built-in error correction and minimum print contrasts of 20% when read with industrial camera systems. 

 Laser marking technology produces permanent legible marks on virtually all materials without compromising the structural integrity of the component. Lasers also provide the flexibility to provide either square or round matrix elements as well as the ability to laser mark small codes (as small as 1mm x 1mm) which cannot be achieved using other methods like inkjet, chemical etching or dot peen. Laser technologies can actually produce smaller marks than this, but the engineer, mechanic or code reader would struggle to actually find and/or read the code.

Development and innovation are at the heart of the motorsport industry and quality control and traceability are integral for many of the businesses that operate in this industry. Quality is a definite at Needham Laser Tech, which is why we work with many of the suppliers and F1 teams to ensure their standards are met. 

If you'd like to speak to us about our N-Lase machines, you can get in touch with our helpful sales team, who are always on hand to discuss your requirements:

PHONE: +44(0)1948 660011


Alternatively, visit our website for in-depth, industry-specific guides on laser applications.

Find out more about Needham Laser Technologies Limited on their member profile page here

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