Laser marking is the process of marking or labeling with a laser beam. There are different types of laser marking, including engraving, removing, staining, annealing and foaming. Depending on the material and desired quality, each individual procedure has its own advantages and downfalls whn marking and labeling.
High-precision marking at constant quality
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 when labeling and marking materials.
High marking speed
Laser marking is one of the fastest marking processes in existence. This results in high productivity and cost benefits during manufacture. Depending on the material structure and size, different laser sources (e. g. fiber lasers) or laser machines (e. g. galvo lasers) can be used to increase the marking speed even more.
Laser etching is permanent and resistant to abrasion, heat and acids. Depending on the laser parameter settings, some materials can even be marked without damaging the surface.
- Stainless steel, aluminum, gold, silver, titanium, bronze, platinum or copper
How to laser mark: Metals can be directly marked using a fiber laser. It is possible for a CO2 laser to mark metal only if a spray or paste such as Cermark is applied prior to lasering.
More information about laser marking metals
- ABS, polycarbonate, polyamide, PMMA or plastics with laser additives
How to laser mark: Plastics can be directly marked with a laser.
How to laser mark: Most materials can be directly marked with a laser.
Depending on the material, different laser types are used for laser marking (solid-state and CO lasers).
Annealing marking is a special type of laser etching for metals. The heat produced by the laser beam sparks an oxidation process beneath the material surface, resulting in a colour change on the metal surface.
During laser staining, the heat generated by the laser beam causes a chemical reaction in the material. This will produce different colour shades depending on the chemical composition of the material being marked. If a light plastic is discoloured during laser etching, for example, soot particles may be produced which create a dark marking on the material.
During laser engraving, the surface of the material is melted and evaporated by the laser beam. Consequently, the material is removed by the laser beam, and the impression left on the surface of the material is the engraving.
More information on laser engraving...
During laser removing, the laser beam removes the top coats applied to the substrate, and a contrast is produced as a result of the different colours of top coat and substrate. Materials that are commonly subject to laser removing including anodised aluminium, foils and films, coated metals and laminates.
During laser foaming, the laser beam melts the workpiece, producing gas bubbles in the material which reflect the light diffusely. This means the marking will be lighter than the areas which have not been etched. This type of laser marking is generally used 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.
Trotec offers a wide range of flatbed and galvo laser machines for marking a plethora of materials.
- Flatbed systems with CO2 or fiber laser - Speedy Series
- Galvo laser machines with fiber or CO2 laser - SpeedMarker Series
- Galvo marking lasers with fiber laser - ProMarker Series