What is laser marking?
The process of “laser marking” refers to the technique of marking or labeling materials and workpieces using a laser machine. Different applications may require different techniques, but engraving, staining, removing, annealing, and foaming are the most common marking methods. Each laser marking procedure will have its own unique advantages and disadvantages, depending on the materials being used and the quality requirement.
Laser marking benefits
High-precision marking at constant quality
Laser marking technology is ideal for producing high-precision results, and even the most delicate graphics such as small-scale shapes and 1-point fonts can be created with superior quality.
High marking speed
Laser marking machines are leaders within the industry, offering unparalleled processing speeds that are amongst the fastest on the market today. Designed with high productivity and cost reducing benefits in mind, laser systems offer solutions for nearly all materials and applications. Furthermore, processing speeds can be greatly increased by utilizing a machine equipped with the proper laser source (e. g. fiber lasers or CO2 lasers) for the unique properties of your materials structure and size.
Laser etching is a permanent process that is resilient to acids, abrasion, and heat. Some materials can even be laser marked without surface damage if the proper parameter settings are utilized.
What materials can be marked with a laser?
Metals: Aluminum, bronze, copper, gold, platinum, silver, stainless steel or titanium
Plastics: ABS, polyamide, polycarbonate, PMMA or plastics with laser additives
Other materials: Foils and films, Laminates, Paints
Depending on the material, different laser types are used for laser marking
Different processes of laser marking
Laser engraving is the process of removing material as the workpiece surface is melted and evaporated by the laser beam, which produces an impression in the surface being engraved.
This method removes coating or lacquer layers from the base material. Marking by ablation of surface regions involves a very high temperature rise, above the vaporization temperature of the surface. For example, ablation of the oxide layer of anodized aluminum exposes the metal underneath and results in the required marking pattern/text to be clearly visible. This does not damage the base material.
Annealing Laser Marking
Annealing marking is a unique laser etching process available for metals and other materials. The heat produced from the laser beam creates an oxidation process below the suface of the material, which results in a change of color on the material surface.
Staining is another marking process achievable as the result of the chemical reaction created on materials when the heat of a laser beam is applied. Variations in color shades will depend on the compositions of the materials being stained. For example, lighter colored plastic materials can often discolor during the laser etching process, resulting in dark marking from the soot particles produced.
During the foaming process, the laser beam melts a material which creates gas bubbles that reflect the light diffusely. Foaming will produce lighter markings in the areas the laser has processed, and this method is most commonly used for dark plastics.
Carbonized marking is a process that produces strong contrasts on bright surfaces, and is commonly used on polymers or bio-polymers such as leather and wood. When carbonizing a material, the laser heats up the surface (minimum 100° C) emitting oxygen, hydrogen, or a combination of both. Carbonizing always leads to dark marks with higher carbon concentration, and the contrast is rather minimally shown on darker materials.
All the laser technologies described above find their usage in industrial applications based on the type of material that needs to be marked, marking speed and quality requirements. The industry demands continuously evolve and so do our products. Our laser marking machines use the latest technology with respect to the laser source, have modular construction and offer high levels of precision and quality of marking.
We offer Laser marking machines to a wide range of industries such as Automotive, Aerospace, Electronics, Telecommunications, Energy, Medical, Jewelry, Instrumentation and many others.