Ideally, an engraving should meet the following criteria: It must be easily legible, it should be resistant to abrasion over a long period of time even when the material is subjected to high stress, and it must not attack the surface of the product to be engraved. What sounds simple can actually prove to be a demanding task, depending on the customer’s requirements. Schoeller-Bleckmann Oilfield Technology GmbH, the world market leader for oilfield components, was also looking for a suitable solution to meet these requirements for the engraving of its steel drill string components. The company found what it was looking for at Mobil-Mark GmbH in Ulm, which was able to convince Schoeller-Bleckmann Oilfield Technology GmbH with a mobile, stationary universal laser system that could be automated and replaced conventional stamping equipment.
Mobil-Mark and Schoeller-Bleckmann Oilfield Technology: A successful cooperation
Schoeller-Bleckmann Oilfield Technology GmbH, SBOT for short, is the world’s leading expert for the oilfield service industry when it comes to manufacturing high-precision parts and amagnetic drill strings for directional drilling technology. The company from Ternitz, whose company history began with the steel goods factory “Martin Müller + Sohn” in 1840, specializes in the production of non-magnetic components. When locating oil and gas deposits, it is very important that the control of the drill head, which is carried out via directional magnetic compasses, is not disturbed by magnetic steels. In addition to this requirement, SBOT’s components have unique strength and corrosion resistance, which are also essential for drilling operations in long-term use. A wide variety of machining options for the drill string components round out the company’s expertise: depending on the specifications, workpieces can be forged, turned, milled, welded or drilled with holes within production, for example.
Finally, Mobil-Mark GmbH was able to implement another machining process for the oilfield expert: The long-lasting laser marking of workpieces. Engravings applied as serial numbers or DMC (data matrix code) are a must-have in almost every industry today. Only in this way can workpieces be clearly identified and traced. Mobil-Mark develops complete laser systems that are mobile to the product and can mark almost any material in a tamper-proof and durable manner. Typically, products must first be laboriously driven to a laser station, which creates additional logistical effort – and thus additional costs – especially for large parts, as in the case of drill string components. In addition, laser systems often require expensive enclosures for protection reasons before they can be used. Moreover, these enclosures are often difficult to load. Thanks to the patented safety concept of Mobil-Mark’s laser systems, however, this expense is eliminated: because they are certified to laser protection class 1, they require no additional protection and can therefore be put into operation in no time at all. Thanks to their small footprint and low weight, they can also be moved to any production location. In addition, a diverse range of accessories from the company makes the engraving process even more convenient.
The challenge: precision components require precise engraving
The drill string components manufactured for directional drilling technology, which are used on off-shore platforms, for example, are manufactured to the highest quality standards: For an engraving, Schoeller-Bleckmann Oilfield Technology GmbH therefore also attached importance to a flawless result: a low penetration depth in favor of protecting the material was just as important as good legibility and protection against early abrasion. The company had previously carried out marking using a mechanical stamping device, which was unable to maintain a defined penetration depth. In addition, the marking process had to be capable of being converted to machine-readable DMC engraving and automated in the future. All products manufactured by SBOT are individually marked, with laser marking being one of the final processing steps and performed in the final inspection area.
Automatable and accurate: Mobil-Mark laser all-round system convinces
The laser marking system from Mobil-Mark was able to convince all along the line. Thanks to the laser marking specialist from Ulm, the particularly large steel components can be provided with a long-lasting marking – and all this without having to convert or change the company’s own production processes or procure a costly laser protection housing. The mobile laser is easy to drive to the location of the marking and can be operated in just a few steps without the use of protective goggles. To further facilitate and automate engraving, Schoeller-Bleckmann Oilfield Technology GmbH purchased a mobile tripod, touch panel, barcode reader and exhaust filter system. The mobile tripod ensures that laser engraving does not have to be performed manually: It holds the laser head and can be adjusted so that positionally accurate engraving can be performed on different workpieces at the touch of a button. The touch panel also makes it easier to enter the laser parameters. Changing marking layouts can be read in very quickly by machine using the barcode reader and transferred to the laser. These additional automation options provide SBOT with the ability to perform the engraving process error-free and efficiently. Since SBOT engraves on stainless steels, the extraction filter system provides the necessary employee protection: this was specially developed to extract harmful chrome and nickel vapors that are generated when marking stainless steels. All in all, marking can now be carried out safely, efficiently and in compliance with specifications.