Custom injection molder Empire Precision Plastics Inc. has added to its services the laser marking of serial numbers for identification of firearm components.
The technology also is suited to other industries such as medical and defense where the product's provenance is important for customers to identify the sources of components.
One method of component identification is to serialize a plate, put the plate in a mold and overmold the component over the plate. This method can introduce error when the part is defective since the serial number has already been recorded when the defective part containing the plate is scrapped.
In Empire's new setup, the part is overmolded onto a blank plate. If the part meets specifications, the plate portion is then serialized out of the mold.
Empire President Neal Elli said in a phone interview that the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives requires certain firearm components to be logged by serial number. Software allows serial numbers on compliant parts to be instantly entered into an electronic tracking log, which could be audited by ATF.
Empire is a Rochester, N.Y.-based custom molder that serves the medical device, consumer, industrial and military/aerospace markets.
Various firearm components such as stocks or grips can carry serial numbers. When the components are plastic, nylon and glass-filled polypropylene are typically used. Components also can be made of metal with serial numbers, but firearm manufacturers are replacing some metal with plastics because of their light weight and design flexibility.
Elli said his firm could use its new laser marking system for a range of industries. The firm molds components and optics for medical device, consumer, industrial and military/aerospace customers from prototype stages to full production and assembly.
“Unique serialization is important to the industries we serve,” Elli explained.
Elli said Empire has embarked on an expansion program to streamline product flow and improve efficiency. An 8,000-square-foot warehouse is the first phase of the project. Increased space for machining, assembly and secondary operations are next in line and all phases are due for completion this fall.
Elli said his company has a Federal Firearm License that gives it approval to mold components that could be used as critical parts of firearms.