Everything You Need to Know About Laser Marking.

Laser marking creates contrasts on materials or workpieces.

What can I make by laser marking?

Laser marking creates contrasts on materials or workpieces. In laser marking, metals and plastics are clearly and legibly marked with delicate graphics, 1-point fonts or very small geometries. Laser marking guarantees consistent results. Typical applications include:

  • High-contrast 2D codes (e.g. data matrix) for traceability
  • Permanent serial numbers for workpiece identification
  • Flexible logos and type designations for customer-specific product variants
  • Order-specific engraving of data plates
  • Labeling jewelry with manufacturer information
  • Personalization of jewelry and promotional items

Interested in more information about laser marking machines?
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Because individual requirements require individual advice.

What is laser marking?

Laser marking is used to label, mark or personalize workpieces, products and various materials using a laser beam. It’s a durable method that is resistant to abrasion, heat and acid.  There is flexibility in terms of shape, material and content:

  • Workpiece shapes can be very different – from flat sheets to complex components
  • Various materials can be marked
  • Content such as codes, numbers, text sections, logos and images are possible

Which methods are used for laser marking?


Annealing
Annealing is a special type of laser marking for metals. The heat of the laser beam causes an oxidation process below the surface of the material, which results in a color change on the surface of the metal.

Discoloration
In discoloration, the heat from the laser beam triggers a chemical reaction in the material. Depending on the material composition, this results in different colors. If, for example, a light-colored plastic is discolored during laser marking, soot particles may be produced. This then results in a darker laser marking.

Laser engraving
In laser engraving, the surface of the material is melted and vaporized by the laser beam, i.e. the material is removed. This creates a depression on the surface of the material – the laser engraving.

Removal
In removal, cover layers that are applied to the base material are removed by the laser beam. Color differences between the top layer and base layer create a contrast. Removal is often used on materials such as anodized aluminum, coated metals, foils or laminates.

Foaming
In foaming, a material is melted by the laser beam. This creates gas bubbles in the material, which diffusely reflect the light. The marking is therefore lighter than the areas that haven’t been processed. This type of laser marking is mainly used for dark plastics.

Interested in a laser marking machine?
Contact us, we’ll advise you free of charge.

Because individual requirements require individual advice.

Laser marking applications

The marking can be done for purposes of complete traceability, brand communication or functional marking. There are hardly any limits to the fields of application and the number of products to be marked: Large batches can be marked just as economically as individual components.

Industries in which laser marking is used: Mechanical engineering, electronics and semiconductor industry, medical technology, automotive industry, plastics processing, in the marking of watch parts, ball bearings, etc.

Advantages of laser marking.

Which materials are suitable for laser marking?

Depending on the material that you want to laser mark, different types of lasers such as fiber lasers or MOPA lasers can be used. The following materials can be marked with Trotec marking lasers:

  • Metals
  • Plastics
  • Paint
  • Foils and packaging
  • Plastic sheets

Fiber laser marking.

The fiber laser is ideal for marking metals by means of annealing, for metal engraving or for high-contrast markings on plastics. The result is of high quality, permanent and can be implemented in a time-saving manner. Fiber lasers are essentially maintenance-free and have a particularly long service life of at least 25,000 laser hours.

Laser marking metals

With a marking laser, soft metals such as aluminum or hard metals or alloys such as steel can be marked particularly easily and quickly. With steel alloys, for example, it’s even possible to implement corrosion-resistant laser markings without damaging the surface of the metal using annealing marking. A variety of metals can be marked with the laser machine.

Metals suitable for laser engraving and marking are:

  • Stainless steel
  • Aluminum, anodized aluminum
  • Hardened metals
  • Alloyed steels
  • High-speed steels
  • Titanium, titanium alloys
  • Carbides
  • Brass
  • Copper
  • Precious metals (e.g. silver, gold)
  • Coated metals

Laser marking metals in the industrial sector.

Typical applications for laser marking or laser engraving metals are product labeling and coding for the electronics and electrical industries, mechanical engineering and toolmaking, sheet metal processing, medical technology or the automotive industry.

Areas of application in the industry:

  • Product labeling as plagiarism protection
  • Functional laser marking e.g. size, diameter, etc.
  • Production information e.g. date of manufacture, batch number or serial number
  • Coding for permanent traceability
  • Data matrix codes for quality assurance
  • Data plates, machine markings and warning notices

Color marking on stainless steel.

  • A special type of annealing marking on metals is color marking on steel.
  • Based on the technical possibilities with the MOPA laser, colors can be marked largely reproducibly on stainless steel. For manufacturers of products made of high-quality stainless steel, this option opens up many new possibilities. With the special color marking, company logos or functional markings can be offered (e.g. hot/cold water marking on stainless steel taps).

Typical industries for color markings:

  • Kitchen appliance manufacturers who would like to adorn the stainless steel fronts of the appliances with their color logo
  • Manufacturers of knives and cutlery who want to adorn their stainless steel products with color logos
  • Engravers and job shops who want to expand their product portfolio
  • Processors of visible parts made of stainless steel in all possible industries who want to stand out from their competitors

What is the best laser cutting machine for you?

Different machines are available depending on the field of application.

Large-format laser cutting machine: SP Series

The SP series laser cutters are the comprehensive solution for cutting large-format materials. Fast and reliable laser cutting for signage and display or plastic fabrication.

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High-performance laser engraver and cutter: Speedy series

The fastest laser engraver on the market helps you make your daily work more profitable. Whether you are just starting your business or want to increase your production capacity.

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Laser cutting is easy with the right software.

The laser software Ruby® makes working with the laser easier and faster. Easily create designs, graphics, photo and text elements. Adjustments can be made quickly with the integrated workflow. You can switch between the “design” and “preparation” steps at any time in software that is both a graphics and a laser program. With all the graphics tools that laser users need. The Ruby laser software enables direct file import of pdf, svg, png, etc. These functionalities halve the time from the idea to the finished product. Without costs for additional software packages.

Interested in a laser cutter?
Contact us, we’ll advise you free of charge.

Because individual requirements require individual advice.

Why laser cutting is profitable.

Laser cutting is significantly cheaper than other cutting techniques. Compared to milling, there are no time-consuming or costly production steps. The acquisition costs of a laser cutter are amortised over the course of a year.

Interested in a laser cutter?
Contact us, we’ll advise you free of charge.

Because individual requirements require individual advice.

From the idea to the product with laser technology.

The ideal tool for prototyping and digital manufacturing.

FabLabs, Maker Spaces, schools and universities use lasers for model making, industrial design, prototyping and many other DIY ideas. The incredible and inspirational design possibilities offered by laser technology are also ideal for all types of art and design projects: Laser machines are used to process a variety of different materials such as MDF, cardboard, or polystyrene. Laser technology gives users complete freedom in the development and implementation of all their ideas. Laser cutting in combination with laser engraving enables creative minds to create inspiring designs in just a few process steps.

Inspiration: Sample templates for laser cutting.

We offer a selection of laser samples that have been cut, engraved or marked with Trotec laser machines in the sample selection.
All samples are described in detail, complete with instructions and file templates that you can use straight away.

Laser samples with instructions and file templates

Interested in a laser cutter?
Contact us, we’ll advise you free of charge.

Because individual requirements require individual advice.

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