A laser marking machine is a tool that helps with the process of marking identity, instructions, and even art on surface materials.
But it’s not as simple as shooting a laser on some metal. There are many kinds of surfaces, materials, and ways of laser marking that have led to an industry with many laser marking services.
Keep reading for an inside look at how laser marking works, and the different types of laser marking available.
How Does a Laser Marking Machine Work
To understand laser marking machines, you need to understand what a laser is.
A laser is a concentrated beam of light. LASER is an acronym for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. When the laser hits the surface material, it changes its properties and appearance, creating markings.
You can use laser marking for creating graphics, text, and even machine-readable data.
The laser marking machine acts as a stable environment that can adapt the power of the laser to whatever material it is marking.
The higher the UV wavelength, the stronger the beam is. A laser marking metal would need a wavelength of 1070NM, while soft organic matter would only need 355NM. Using a higher beam on softer material could ruin the surface.
You should view more of the specifics of UV wavelengths and metals before deciding what process to use.
Laser marking works on materials like metal, ceramic, glass, plastic, wood, cardboard, and paper. It has the ability to be powerful or gentle.
Types of Marking
There are many types of laser marking machines that use different methods to create markings. Let’s take a look at what they are.
This process creates a deep cut into the material, turning excess material into dust.
An example of a laser engraver for metal would be VIN markings. VIN markings need to be able to withstand aggressive environments without the mark losing preciseness. That’s why a deeper cut, or engraving, of a laser mark, is necessary.
Laser etching is the fastest process of laser marking. Instead of turning the excess material into dust, it melts the surface down, creating high and low bumps. This creates a readable contrast.
Think of production lines, where processes have to be fast. That’s where this type of laser marking machine comes in.
Unlike the other two methods, annealing doesn’t take away from the surface. It creates chemical changes, so you see the laser mark but cannot feel it. This works for things like stainless steel where the product must remain unaffected.
The Power of Laser Marking Machines
You can find laser marking machines in industrial warehouses and mall kiosks. This versatile tool has made precision marking widely available and adaptable.
There are a lot of different machines though, so make sure you know what material, process, and wavelength of laser you need first before purchasing anything.
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