Every wire on an aircraft must have its own unique identification number. The most common method to put this identifier on a wire is by laser wire marking. Laser wire marking is a method to place a permanent mark on a wire using a laser. Companies such as Spectrum Technologies and Tri-Star Technologies have designed machines to do this process. At first these machines were very large and expensive. Now, a company can buy desktop models that are reasonably priced.
The permanent mark is formed when the laser interacts with the titanium dioxide in a wire’s insulation. Titanium dioxide is already found in the insulation of an aircraft wire for other purposes including marking the white insulation in color. When the laser beam hits the wire it discolors the pigment in the insulation thereby leaving a permanent mark. Characters are formed from a metal disc that has cutouts of letters, numbers, and symbols. The disc turns as needed and the laser beam goes through the disc for a particular letter, number, or symbol. When the beam exits the metal disk it is shaped as the desired character. It is an interesting process and very powerful technology.
For more information about laser wire marking see InterConnect’s previous blog “Four Reasons People Don’t Require Laser Marked Wires”. Also in the next few months read our blog “How Are Aircraft Wires Identified?”.