What is laser marking?
“Laser marking” stands for marking or labeling of workpieces and materials with a laser beam. In this regard, different processes are distinguished, such as engraving, removing, staining, annealing and foaming. Depending on the material and the quality requirement, each of these procedures has its own advantages and disadvantages.
During laser engraving, the workpiece surface is melted and evaporated with the laser. Consequently, the laser beam removes the material. The thus produced impression in the surface is the engraving.
More information on laser engraving…
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.
In the staining method, the heat effect generated by the laser beam causes a chemical reaction in the material. Depending on the material composition, this will result in different color shades. For example, if a light plastic material is discolored during laser etching, soot particles may be produced that will result in a dark marking.
Annealing marking is a special type of laser etching for metals. The heat effect of the laser beam causes an oxidation process underneath the material surface, resulting in a color change on the metal surface.
During foaming, the laser beam melts a material. During this process, gas bubbles are produced in the material, which reflect the light diffusely. The marking will thus turn out lighter than the areas that have not been etched. This type of laser marking is used mainly for dark plastics.
What materials can be marked with a laser?
- Metals: Stainless steel, aluminum, gold, silver, titanium, bronze, platinum or copper
- Plastics: ABS, polycarbonate, polyamide, PMMA or plastics with laser additives
- Foils and films and packaging
Depending on the material, different laser types are used for laser marking (solid-state and CO lasers).
Benefits of laser marking
High-precision marking at constant quality
Thanks to the high precision of laser marking, even very delicate graphics, 1-point fonts and very small geometries will turn out clearly legible. At the same time, marking with the laser ensures constant high-quality results.
Laser etching is permanent and at the same time resistant to abrasion, heat and acids. Depending on the laser parameter settings, certain materials can also be marked without damaging the surface.
High marking speed
Laser marking is one of the fastest marking processes available in the market. This results in high productivity and cost benefits during manufacture. Depending on the material structure and size, different laser sources (e. g. fiber lasers) or laser machines (e. g. galvo lasers) can be used to further increase the speed.
Trotec machines for laser marking
Trotec offers you a wide range of flatbed and galvo laser machines for marking a large variety of materials.
Click here to go to the product selection