Laser marking refers to the marking and labelling of workpieces and materials with a laser beam. As a result, different processes are distinguished. These include engraving, removing, staining, annealing and foaming. Each of these procedures has its own advantages and disadvantages, depending on the material used and quality required.
High precision and quality laser marking
Thanks to the high precision of laser marking, even very delicate graphics, 1-point fonts and very small geometries will turn out clearly legible. At the same time, marking with the laser ensures constant high-quality results.
High speed marking
Given that laser marking is one of the quickest marking processes available, it therefore presents huge productivity and cost benefits. The type, size and structure of the material, the laser source (e.g. fiber laser), and the laser machine used (e.g. galvo laser) can further enhance the speed of the laser marking process.
Laser marking provides a permanent result that is resistant to abrasion, heat and acids. Depending on the laser parameter settings used, specific materials can also be marked without damaging the surface.
- Stainless steel, aluminium, gold, silver, titanium, bronze, platinum and copper
More information about laser marking metals
- ABS, polycarbonate, polyamide, PMMA or plastics with laser additives
Different laser types are used when laser marking different materials.
Annealing is a special type of laser marking for metals. The heat from the laser beam causes an oxidation process underneath the material surface which, in turn, results in a colour change on the metal surface.
During staining, the heat from the laser beam causes a chemical reaction in the material. The material composition will determine the result in different colour shades. For example, if a light plastic material is discoloured during the laser process, soot particles may be produced which will result in a dark marking.
During laser engraving, the material surface is melted and evaporated. The laser beam thus removes the material and it is this produced impression in the surface that creates the engraving result.
More information on laser engraving
During this process, the laser beam removes the top coats of the substrate. A contrast is thereby produced as a result of the different colours of the top coat and substrate. The most common materials that are laser marked by way of removing material include anodised aluminium, coated metals, foils, film and laminates.
During foaming, the laser beam melts a material. During this process, gas bubbles are produced in the material, which reflect the light diffusely. The marking will thus turn out lighter than the areas that have not been etched. This type of laser marking is used mainly for dark plastics.
Carbonising enables strong contrasts on bright surfaces. During the carbonising process the laser heats up the surface of the material (minimum 100° C) and oxygen, hydrogen or a combination of both gases is emitted. What's left is a darkened area with higher carbon concentration.
Carbonising can be used for polymers or bio-polymers such as wood or leather. Since carbonising always leads to dark marks, the contrast on dark materials will be rather minimal.