Blank metals can be marked with a CO2 laser engraver if the additional application of a laser marking solution is used. To do this, the marking solution must be applied to your workpiece prior attempting to process with your CO2 laser engraver. Once thoroughly dried, the laser beam will burn the spray into the material during laser processing, and once finished, just simply wash off any excess residue to reveal your finished product. (In our example, we used stainless steel.)
For cleaning sensitive surfaces or high-priced workpieces (such as a watch), laser marking spray is a necessity. Prior to first time use, it is important to become familiarized with marking solutions as they are classified as hazardous materials, and need to be handled as such. Make sure to adhere to the corresponding safety regulations, so that you as the laser operated are protected as well as your employees remain safe.
Without the use of laser marking solutions, CO2 laser machines are not compatible for marking metals due to fact that they offer wavelengths of only 10.6 µm. A higher laser power as well as slower processing speed is also required for the metal to even react to the laser. This results in an excess of energy being introduced into the material, allowing it to heat up and become deformed. The resulting details on the engraving, such as small fonts, cannot even be seen.
In terms of productivity, efficiency and quality, using a fiber laser machine is the ideal solution for marking metals. Compared to using a CO2 laser with marking solutions, a fiber laser requires no additional preparation or follow-up when processing metals, and the finished product will be uniform and precise even with the finest intricacies.
Additionally, you can achieve other effects into materials using a fiber laser and certain parameter settings, such as anneal marking that produces a rich black or white color.
The engraving gives a depth into the metal that is extremely long-lasting as well as counterfeit-proof
Fiber lasers are offered in a few styles, including as a laser plotter in the Speedy series as well as in the form of galvo lasers in the SpeedMarker series.
Determining whether a laser plotter or a galvo laser will better suit your business needs will ultimately depend on what the laser machine is being used for, as well as your applications specific requirements.
Processing times of different marking methods
If you were to compare the time required to mark a data plate using the CO2 laser source from a Speedy flexx with the time it takes to mark the same data plate using the Speedy fiber/flexx, you would see right away that processing with the Speedy fiber/flexx is only 1 minute faster. However, you can also see that the Speedy fiber/flexx does not require any preparation or follow-up processes. The machine operator can use this time to work on other orders to increase the company's productivity. A SpeedMarker galvo laser marking machine is significantly faster.
All of these factors should be evaluated and carefully considered when determining whether a galvo laser machine or laser plotter is the right fit for you. More info.
If you would like additional information on the comparison between CO2 and fiber laser technologies, visit our laser type overview page
|Process Steps||Speedy CO2 + laser marking paste||Speedy Fiber / Flexx||SpeedMarker|
|Preparation and applying laser marking paste||4 min||-||-|
|Laser processing||5 min||21 min||2 min|
|Cleaning, Drying||3 min||-||-|
|22 min||21 min||2 min|