Laser Marking Machines
Frequently Asked Questions
Laser marking technology leaves permanent marks on various surfaces using a focused beam of light at relatively high power levels. The laser is typically steered either by a pair of linearly moving mirrors or galvo scanning mirrors that steer the beam of light. When focused on a substrate, the laser energy is released into the material. When the light beam interacts with the surface of the component, heat energy is transferred from the beam to the surface. As a result, the material's appearance and properties change. The exact mechanism of laser matter interaction during laser marking depends on a number of factors including the laser output parameters, the material being marked and the existence/absence of a laser marking ink (additive). Depending on these factors a laser machine can engrave, mark, etch, anneal, or discolor surfaces.
Laser markers can mark a very wide range of materials including plastics, ceramics, glass, silicon. Various metals and metal alloys, stones, etc. Depending on the material, composites, graphite, rubber, and LEDs can also be marked in black or other colors. Some Laser Marking Machines can also inscribe precious gems such as rubies, sapphires, and even diamonds.
Laser marking offers a number of benefits over conventional methods of marking. The following is a partial list of benefits: - Excellent marking quality and finest details even for graphics that miniature details. - High repeatability: the laser marking process is computer controlled and offers unmatched reproducibility. - Due to non-contact processing, there is minimal tool wear rendering low long term costs. - Low heat input has little effect on the material. - Ability to be automated and integrated into a larger production process. - Most flatbed laser markers comes with generous work area allowing to mark large surfaces in one go. - Rapid marking speed: laser marking is quite fast achieving speeds of several meters per second on many machines with galvo scanners. - Laser marking typically does not require consumables, unless you use laser marking inks. - The cleanup process is easy and environmentally friendly.
Laser marking is permanent and resistant to abrasion, heat, and acids. The durability of laser marks depends largely on the material being marked. Laser marks on hard materials such as stainless steel are very durable, whereas on softer metals, for instance pure gold or brass, the marks will be as durable as the surface. If you scratch the upper layers of the material, you might be able to scratch off the laser marks on those softer materials. The depth of laser marks is typically a few hundred microns.
Yes. Laser marking creates permanent and high contrast marks on many surfaces. However, please check the question above on durability for more details.
The key thing to be cautious about laser markers is the laser radiation, which could potentially be dangerous for eyes or skin. In general, lasers used in laser marking machines are quite powerful and can cause damage to eye or skin if exposed directly. However many machines come with safety features that renders the entire system to be a Class-3 or even Class-1 products. If in doubt consult specialist to understand how to safely operate the machine.
Yes, it can. It is well documented that certain lasers can create vivid hues on metals by carbon shifting. Several plastics also change color when marked by a laser. Finally there are laser marking inks that when applied to the surface can create high contrast color marks on variety of surfaces including, ceramics, glass, and metals.
Did You know?