Blank metals can be marked with a CO2 laser engraving machine only if you use a laser marking solution. The metal marking solution must be applied to the workpiece prior to processing with a laser machine. It first needs to dry and then will be burned into the material during the laser process. Once the laser process has finished, the excess marking paste must be washed off. (In our example, we use stainless steel.)
A laser marking spray is essential for cleaning sensitive surfaces or high-priced workpieces like watch markings. Furthermore, it is important to note that marking solutions are classified as hazardous materials. Be sure to adhere to the corresponding safety regulations to protect your own safety and that of your employees.
Without marking solutions, the CO2 laser source with a wavelength of 10.6 µm is basically not suitable for marking metals. A high laser power is required for the metal to even react to the laser. At the same time, the process must be very slow. This results in a lot of energy being introduced into the material, which will make it heat up and become deformed. The resulting details on the engraving, for example small font, cannot be seen.
The perfect tool for metal marking in terms of productivity and quality is the fiber laser. Unlike marking using a CO2 laser and marking paste, no preparation or follow-up is required when using the fiber laser. The marking result is uniform and very precise even for fine details.
Moreover, you can use certain parameter settings on the fiber laser to achieve other effects. For instance, the anneal marking can produce either a rich black or a white color.
The metal engraving gives a depth to the metal that is extremely long-lasting and also counterfeit-proof.
Fiber lasers are available in the form of laser plotters in the Speedy series as well as in the form of galvo lasers in the SpeedMarker series.
Deciding whether a laser plotter or a galvo laser is more suitable depends on what the laser machine is being used for.
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.
You should carefully consider several factors when you are choosing whether you should use a galvo laser machine or a laser plotter. More info.
|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|