Laser marking and engraving plastics

for polyamide, polyethylene, ABS and many other plastics

electronics component laser marking

Plastic types suitable

Plastics can be marked or engraved with lasers in a variety of ways. With a fiber laser, you can mark many different commercially used plastics, such as polycarbonate, ABS, polyamide, and many more with a permanent, quick, high-quality finish. Thanks to the low set-up times and flexibility a marking laser offers, you can mark even small batch sizes economically.

Plastic types

suitable for laser engraving

  • Polyamide (PA)
  • Polycarbonate (PC)
  • Polyethylene (PE)
  • Polypropylene (PP)
  • Polyoxymethylene (POM)
  • Polyarylsulfone (PSU, PPSU)
  • Poly ether ketone (PEEK)
  • Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene copolymer (ABS)
  • Polyimide PI
  • Polystyrene PS
  • Polymethylmetacrylate PMMA
  • Polyester (PES)
  • Polyethylene terephthalate PET
  • Silicone

Application inspirations



Application for plastics marking

"It is possible to permanently engrave almost any type of plastic, although the various raw materials, color pigments and additives (e.g. fillers, additives, flame retardants) react very differently. 
For laser marking plastics, the fiber laser offers you a range of different methods, such as dyeing, carbonation or foaming. Since various plastics react very differently, you should always test a material sample."

Application examples

  • Housings made of plastic
  • Electric plugs
  • Electronic components
  • Printed circuit boards (PCB)
  • Automotive parts
  • Keyboards
  • Tools and handles of tools
  • Buttons and switches with day & night design
  • Identification tags for animals
  • Packaging
  • Films
  • Sensors
Laser marked plastic keychain

Why should I buy a laser for marking plastics?

  • Non-contact laser marking is very fast as well as abrasion, heat and acid resistant.
  • Many different plastics can be marked or engraved with a laser
  • All kinds of contents including logos, codes, serial numbers and fully dynamic contents from ERP systems, etc. can be used
  • Even smallest components and details can be marked quickly and easily with the laser in difficult to access areas.

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Trotec product recommendation

Methods of laser marking on plastics

Foaming

Foaming leaves a tangible mark on the material. It can be seen as laser-induced boiling, which melts the surface. Due to the rapid cooling, bubbles are encapsulated in the material. These bubbles leave a positive mark, which is tangible.
The laser works on a low power level and longer pulses. Foaming works on all polymers, but also on some metals. Depending on the material the mark is light or dark.

Carbonizing

Carbonizing enables strong contrasts on bright surfaces. During the carbonizing 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.
The laser works with lower energy, which leads to slightly longer marking times compared to other processes. Carbonizing can be used for polymers or bio-polymers such as wood or leather. Since carbonizing always leads to dark marks, the contrast on dark materials will be rather minimal.

Color change

Color change on the material guarantees highest legibility. Laser marking with color change is basically an electrical process, which reorders the macromolecules (by changing the direction). No material is removed, but partial foaming is possible. 
The laser works with a maximum pulse rate but low energy per pulse. Otherwise material would be removed or foaming might occur. Color change works on all polymers and the change of color can be bright or dark. Most color changes are dark.

Removing

Removing is used with multilayer plastics (laminates). During the removal process the laser beam removes the top layers, which had been applied to the base material. This results in color contrasts due to color differences in the layers.