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Reproducible annealing colors on stainless steel

Published on: 07/24/2017 Author: Bernd Kerbl

Reproducible annealing colors on stainless steel

Since the market launch of the MOPA Lasers, numerous customers have already opted for a SpeedMarker marking laser with this laser source. In some cases, the possibility of producing annealing colors on stainless steel was an important factor in the purchase decision. Among these are customers from many different market segments – from North America through all European countries to Australia:

  • Kitchen manufacturers who are going adorn their stainless steel fronts with their logo in color
  • Knife makers who decorate their stainless steel knives with color logos
  • Engravers and job shops that were able to expand their product portfolio thanks to the new possibilities
  • Processors of stainless steel trim parts from other industries who want to stand out from the competition with color markings
  • As well as customers who simply want to keep the possibilities for color marking open

How can colors be lasered onto stainless steel?

Annealing colors are superficial colorations of stainless steels that result from the application of heat. The possibility to generate these colors with a laser has been around for a long time and has been scientifically investigated more than once, too. What is new, however, is the possibility of marking the desired colors so accurately and – above all – reproducibly. This is made possible by the MOPA lasers, in which – in addition to power, speed, and frequency – the pulse durations can be variably selected. The laser parameters can thus be tuned so precisely to the respective stainless steel that the desired annealing colors 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 colors can all be generated directly in the focus. Thanks to the small filling line distances, the marking of colors by tempering takes a relatively long time.

Different alloys – different laser parameters

Depending on the alloy, the stainless steel reacts differently. Therefore, the laser parameters have to be redefined for each stainless steel grade. Some annealing colors are somewhat more “forgiving” and work with different materials as well. Others, in contrast, are very finicky and need to be re-defined for each stainless steel. With some alloys, it may happen that not all colors work nicely. We therefore recommend sampling the application. With the parameter finder, which is already integrated into the SpeedMark labeling software, and some experience, the laser parameters can be found. Our application experts will be glad to advise you about this.

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Even multicolor logos are easy to implement

With the user-friendly labeling software SpeedMark, logos can be implemented as well. The logos can be imported in a wide variety of formats. The only important thing is that each desired color is mapped in a separate layer. For this allows the correct laser parameters to be assigned to each color.

SpeedMarker marking laser

Since end of 2016 all laser systems of the SpeedMarker series are also available with MOPA Laser. Depending on the requirements and the application, you can choose between laser workstations in different sizes, a table marking station or an open class 4 system.

More information regarding marking lasers

One laser - many possibilities

Reproduceable colors on stainless steel is, however, only one application example where the MOPA laser can display its strengths. Even when black marking on aluminum or marking on several plastics, the all-rounder outperforms conventional fiber lasers.

More possibilities for laser marking

Contact us for more information

Would you like to learn more about the advantages and possibilities of MOPA lasers? Or would you like to laser mark colors on stainless steel? Our application experts will be pleased to assist you and answer your questions about your applications.

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