What is Laser Marking?
Laser marking is the process of directly marking a component surface with a focused beam of light. The result is a lasting mark that won’t disappear over time.
Laser marking technology knows no limits. You can use it to mark all types of materials and surfaces. To accomplish the very best results, you must first choose the perfect laser for the material. CO2 and fiber lasers are the absolute most commonly used types of lasers. You can even modify the utmost laser power for high-speed marking.
To supply better results, different laser marking processes can be optimized for specific applications. The 2 most common processes are laser etching and laser engraving. Another laser marking application is laser annealing. Oahu is the only viable method for marking stainless steel.
What Is Laser Marking Used For?
Laser marking can be an emerging technology used in an increasing quantity of applications. It’s not surprising since it is a low-maintenance technology. It’s contactless, does not have any moving parts, and doesn’t use consumables. In automated applications, this means that operators aren’t needed to operate laser marking machines, and they’re rarely needed to steadfastly keep up them.
Laser marking is usually used to implement traceability, quality control, and process improvement. By identifying each part at the start of a generation line, barcode readers may then be used to scan identifiers at every manufacturing step. For traceability purposes deep metal marking, this afford them the ability to track and trace parts right from the start to the conclusion of the manufacturing process. For quality control and process improvement, this afford them the ability to store important info specific to each part in a database. The most common types of part identification are data matrix codes, QR codes, and alphanumeric serial numbers.
The main industries that want marking solutions are the automotive, primary metals (including aluminum, steel, zinc, lead, and copper), extrusion, manufacturing, and converting industries.
How Does Laser Marking Work?
To generate a laser beam that may mark the surface of a product, light is amplified by stimulating photons. A material is first charged with energy, and its electrons release that energy in the shape of light (or photons). Light is then amplified. As photons naturally stimulate the material’s atoms, its electrons release more and more photons. This creates a concentrated ray of light called the laser beam.
To mark the surface, mirrors are used to direct the laser beam in one single direction. This creates high-contrast and high-quality marks because the beam hits the material surface. By utilizing different laser marking processes, it’s possible to create a mark only at first glance, deep into the material, or under the surface. Additionally it is possible to create a mark by detatching a layer (such as paint) from the surface.
How Are Lasers Different from One Another?
To understand how lasers change from each other, you first have to understand how wavelengths talk with materials. Here’s how it works.
In the laser source, there’s a product whose atoms release energy in the shape of light. This material determines which wavelength is made by your laser. Like, some solid-state lasers use Nd:YAG crystals to make light. These crystals to push out a wavelength of 1,064 nanometers (or 1.064 microns).
Since different materials absorb wavelengths differently, you will need various kinds of lasers for different materials. Like, you’re better off using fiber lasers to mark metals, and CO2 lasers to mark organic materials (such as plastic materials and rubber).
Different lasers can also release that energy differently. You can either work with a continuous-wave laser or a pulsed laser. Whereas continuous-wave lasers continuously emit the laser beam, pulsed lasers release the beam at a collection rate. Pulsed lasers can reach higher peaks of energy density simply because they charge up energy before releasing it. They’re suitable for laser marking applications simply because they give you a higher making speed. Continuous lasers are more adapted to other laser applications like laser cutting, welding, and drilling.
What Are the Benefits of Laser Marking?
Laser has become the new standard for some marking applications. Although it represents an increased initial investment than its alternatives, it offers a much better return on investment in addition to other unique benefits.
- In most cases, it’s the fastest marking solution. Looking at aluminum marking performances, it’s possible to create a high-contrast data matrix code in just 1.40 seconds.
- Laser safety is regulated by strict international standards. Based on the laser safety class of one’s laser machine, it is simple to know whether it’s safely integrated in accordance with your standards. Like, if you have a class-1 laser marking machine, that you do not have to implement any extra laser safety measures.
- Laser marking is really a traceability solution like no other. It offers near-perfect readability rates, thanks to the high reliability of laser systems and to the high contrast of marked identifiers. Additionally, it may create marks that are truly permanent, effective at withstanding nearly every surface treatment such as e-coating, heat treating, and shotblasting.
- It can be used to create permanent marks on materials whose surface cannot be directly marked (like stainless steel) by creating a mark under the surface.
There are numerous other benefits to laser marking specific to each application. Contact us to discover which benefits apply to you.