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The Beginner's Guide to Laser Marking

Views: 2000     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2021-12-30      Origin: Site

- What is laser marking?
- How does laser marking work?
- What are the applications of laser marking?
- What are the advantages of laser marking?
- How many types of laser marking machines?
- How to use a laser marking machine?


What is laser marking?

Laser marking is a popular, efficient, and highly safe process that has allowed for a wide range of markings to be created on various materials around the world. This may be for aesthetic reasons, or perhaps to help label products, it has been adopted by many industries around the world, such as the aerospace or automotive (including e-mobility) sectors.

Laser marking is also a permanent method that employs a concentrated beam of light to leave a permanent mark on the surface. Laser marking covers a wide range of applications and is often done with fiber, pulsed, continuous wave, green, or UV laser equipment. The following are the most typical laser marking applications:

1) Annealing
2) Carbon migration
3) Discoloration
4) Engraving
5) Etching

How does laser marking work?

Laser marking works quickly, effectively, and safely, leaving a high-quality mark on whichever material that it is working with. This may be flat surfaces, flexible materials, or even complex shapes as laser marking takes place without any contact.

To laser mark, one directs a focused laser beam onto the surface of the material that they are working with, and the heat of the beam will generate a contrast between the affected area and the surrounding material.

Essentially, the beam oxidizes the area underneath the surface of the area that it is targeting, causing it to change color. The majority of markings will turn black, but some surfaces will cause a color change instead.

In short, laser marking is what happens when the beam interacts with the surface of a material, slightly altering its properties or appearance.

1) It is achieved by moving a low-powered beam slowly across the material using a method called discoloration, which creates high-contrast marks without disrupting the material.
2) Laser heats the material, causing oxidation under the surface and turning the material black.
3) It applies low temperatures to metal to anneal the surface.
4) All of this is done while leaving the surface intact.

What are the applications of laser marking?

Applications of laser marking may include but are not limited to:

1) Laser engraving: creates deep and permanent marks that withstand abrasion
2) Laser etching: creates high-contrast permanent marks at a high speed
3) Laser annealing: generates marks under the surface without affecting the base metal or its protective coating
4) Laser Ablation/Surface Removal: This procedure is normally used to expel paint, coatings and other surface material to make differentiate without harming the base material.

Laser marking can mark a variety of materials such as steel, aluminum, stainless steel, plastics, leather, polymers, rubber, stone, and slate.  It is an ideal solution for the customization and personalization of gifts, souvenirs, handicrafts, logos, brands, etc. for designers, handcrafters, Etsy sellers, Kickstarter entrepreneurs, creative agencies, and small businesses.

What are the advantages of laser marking?

This is an extensive list of all of the varied laser marking advantages. There are several types of lasers that can be used for this process, and they all share many of the same benefits. We have also included some advantages below that are specific to fiber lasers.

1) It’s a non-contact process
2) Can be used in a wide variety of industries for many applications
3) Precise markings with high quality
4) Works with a range of materials
5) No consumables
6) Laser marking is a safe process
7) Environmentally friendly
8) Easy to customize and integrate

How many types of laser marking machines?

There are various types of laser marking machines available, each with different laser wavelengths, and each best suited for different materials and applications. This section introduces the features and applications of the typical types of laser marking machines: fiber laser marking machines, CO2 laser marking machines, and UV laser marking machines.

Fiber lasers stimulate a rare-earth metal known as ytterbium to generate photons on the 1,064 nm wavelength. This wavelength is ideal to mark metals, as a good quantity of its energy is absorbed by the material.

CO2 lasers stimulate CO2 gas to generate wavelengths between 9,000 nm and 11,000 nm, covering a wide range of organic materials that require different wavelengths. The most common wavelength for organic materials is 10,600 nm.

UV lasers use a highly absorptive wavelength (355 nm) to mark parts. This high absorption rate allows UV lasers to perform "cold marking," ensuring that no extra heat stress is applied to materials, including those with high reflectances such as gold, silver, and copper. This minimizes soot and burrs caused by typical marking and processing.

How to use a laser marking machine?

Laser marking systems come in a variety of shapes and sizes, each with its own set of features. The best way to operate the machine is determined by the material you're working with and the application you're using. EM-Smart provides a variety of resources and tutorials, ranging from how-to videos to blogs, to assist you in operating your equipment and troubleshooting any issues.

It's critical to follow all safety precautions when using any laser marking machine. Laser marking is a relatively safe operation thanks to a range of precautionary measures, including safety enclosure choices, design of machines and software, etc.

For instance, the steps to operate EM-Smart, a 20W fiber laser marking machine, are as follows:

1) Connect the computer and the laser marking machine via the USB cable
2) Turn on the power supply for both the computer and the laser marking machine
3) Place the item to be marked on the workbench
4) Run the marking software EZCAD to draw a text or import a marking pattern
5) Click the “Light” icon to focus
6) Click the “Mark” icon to start laser marking
7) Switch off the laser marking machine (Press the emergency button in case of an emergency)
8) Done

With 24 years' laser industry experience, CDI Tech has been committed to designing and manufacturing portable laser marking machines as well as developing innovative laser solutions for a wide range of industries.

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