Machine Design

String marks the spot

Makers of cables, hoses, and wires often used marking machines to pinpoint locations for other connections, where splices go, and other points of interest along the length of their products.

Elastic string fed from the bobbin is prestretched, formed into a ring, and stored on a throat-opening winding pipe. When cued by a sensor, a pneumatic cylinder slides the ring off. The ring shrinks, grabbing hold of the moving target.

Traditional marking machines, however, use ink and paint which sometimes clogs or dries between marking cycles. To eliminate this problem, Takikawaw Engineering in Japan designed a nondestructive Elastic String Marking Devices. It snaps colored elastic string rings around specific points on products ranging from 1 to 230 mm in diameter, regardless of shape. The device, which is distributed in the U.S. by D.A.S. Distribution (, handles all line speeds and operators can easily see how much marking string is loaded on the machine. The device works with laser micrometers, capacitance gauges, spark testers, ultrasonic gages, and any other device that provides contact closure.

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