The process of “laser marking” refers to the technique of marking or labeling materials and workpieces using a laser machine. Different applications may require different techniques, but engraving, staining, removing, annealing, and foaming are the most common marking methods. Each laser marking procedure will have its own unique advantages and disadvantages, depending on the materials being used and the quality requirement.
High-precision marking at constant quality
Laser marking technology is ideal for producing high-precision results, and even the most delicate graphics such as small-scale shapes and 1-point fonts can be created with superior quality.
High marking speed
Laser marking machines are leaders within the industry, offering unparalleled processing speeds that are amongst the fastest on the market today. Designed with high productivity and cost reducing benefits in mind, laser systems offer solutions for nearly all materials and applications. Furthermore, processing speeds can be greatly increased by utilizing a machine (e. g. galvo lasers) equipped with the proper laser source (e. g. fiber lasers or CO2 lasers) for the unique properties of your materials structure and size.
Laser etching is a permanent process that is resilient to acids, abrasion, and heat. Some materials can even be laser marked without surface damage if the proper parameter settings are utilized.
- Aluminum, bronze, copper, gold, platinum, silver, stainless steel or titanium
- ABS, polyamide, polycarbonate, 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 unique laser etching process available for metals and other materials. The heat produced from the laser beam creates an oxidation process below the suface of the material, which results in a change of color on the material surface.
Staining is another marking process achievable as the result of the chemical reaction created on materials when the heat of a laser beam is applied. Variations in color shades will depend on the compositions of the materials being stained. For example, lighter colored plastic materials can often discolor during the laser etching process, resulting in dark marking from the soot particles produced.
Laser engraving is the process of removing material as the workpiece surface is melted and evaporated by the laser beam, which produces an impression in the surface being engraved.
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 the foaming process, the laser beam melts a material which creates gas bubbles that reflect the light diffusely. Foaming will produce lighter markings in the areas the laser has processed, and this method is most commonly used for dark plastics.
Carbonized marking is a process that produces strong contrasts on bright surfaces, and is commonly used on polymers or bio-polymers such as leather and wood. When carbonizing a material, the laser heats up the surface (minimum 100° C) emitting oxygen, hydrogen, or a combination of both. Carbonizing always leads to dark marks with higher carbon concentration, and the contrast is rather minimally shown on darker materials.
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