"Laser marking" refers to marking or labeling workpieces and materials with a laser machine. How to laser mark depends on your application. There are laser marking methods such as engraving, removing, staining, annealing and foaming. Depending on the material and the quality requirement, each of these procedures has its own advantages and disadvantages.
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.
High marking speed
Laser marking is one of the fastest marking processes available in the market. 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 further increase the speed.
Laser etching is permanent and at the same time resistant to abrasion, heat and acids. Depending on the laser parameter settings, certain materials can also be marked without damaging the surface.
- Stainless steel, aluminum, gold, silver, titanium, bronze, platinum or copper
- ABS, polycarbonate, polyamide, PMMA or plastics with laser additives
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 effect of the laser beam causes an oxidation process underneath the material surface, resulting in a color change on the metal surface.
In the staining method, the heat effect generated by the laser beam causes a chemical reaction in the material. Depending on the material composition, this will result in different color shades. For example, if a light plastic material is discolored during laser etching, soot particles may be produced that will result in a dark marking.
During laser engraving, the workpiece surface is melted and evaporated with the laser. Consequently, the laser beam removes the material. The thus produced impression in the surface is the engraving.
During removing, the laser beam removes the top coats applied to the substrate. A contrast is produced as a result of the different colors of top coat and substrate. Common materials that are laser marked by way of removing of material include anodized aluminum, coated metals, foils and films, or 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.
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.
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.
Trotec offers you a wide range of laser machines for marking a large variety 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