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MOPA laser: Create reproducible annealing colours on stainless steel

Published on: 07/24/2017

Reproducible annealing colours on stainless steel

Since the market launch of MOPA lasers, numerous customers have already opted for a SpeedMarker laser marking machine with this laser source. In some cases, the possibility of producing annealing colours on stainless steel was an important factor in the purchase decision. These customers are from a range of market segments and countries, including:

  • Kitchen manufacturers who adorn stainless steel with their logo in colour
  • Knifemakers who decorate their stainless steel knives with colour logos
  • Engravers and job shops that we're able to expand their product portfolio thanks to the new possibilities offered by the laser source
  • Processors of stainless steel trim parts from other industries who want to stand out from the competition with colour markings
  • Customers who simply want to have the possibilities for colour marking

How can colours be laser marked onto stainless steel?

Annealing is a process that does not remove material during processing. The creation of colours when laser marking stainless steel with the annealing method is caused by heat application. Whilst the possibility of creating colours with a laser machine had been around for a long time, the capability to accurately mark colours and to reproduce them is new with MOPA source. In addition to the power, speed and frequency of the laser source, pulse durations can also be adjusted. This means that the parameters can be tweaked precisely to the respective stainless steel so that annealing colours can be produced in consistent quality. A large focal length (and therefore a larger spot diameter) as well as very small filling line distances ensure that the annealing colours can all be generated directly in the focus. Note that because of small filing distances, colour marking by tempering takes a relatively long time. 

Different alloys – different laser parameters

Stainless steel reacts differently depending on the alloy, meaning that the laser parameters have to be redefined for each grade of stainless steel. Some annealing colours are more "forgiving" and will also work with other materials as well. There are colours however which are very finicky and as such need to be re-defined for each stainless steel. 

There are some alloys where not all colours will work well, which is why we recommend testing the application before production. SpeedMark laser software features a built-in parameter finder, which alongside some testing, will allow you to determine the best laser parameters. Our laser experts are also available to advise you on this topic. 

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Easily implement multicolour logos

SpeedMark laser software is user friendly, allowing logos to be easily implemented. Logos can be imported in a variety of different formats, however, it is important that each desired colour is mapped to a separate layer. This is because this allows the correct laser parameters to be assigned to each colour. 

SpeedMarker laser marking machines

All SpeedMarker laser marking machines are available with a MOPA laser source. The SpeedMarker range features workstations of various sizes as well as closed class 2 laser markers and open class 4 lasers, allowing you to choose the perfect solution for your requirements. 

More information about SpeedMarker laser marking systems

One laser - many possibilities

Creating reproducible colours on stainless steel is only one of the many different application possibilities offered by a MOPA laser source. You can also create black markings on anodised aluminium and the laser source offers many benefits for marking plastics compared to traditional fiber laser sources. 

More possibilities for laser marking

Contact us for more information

If you want to find out more information about the MOPA laser source or are looking for application advice, our expert team are here to support you. 

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