Everything You Need to Know About Laser Marking Systems

Laser marking or engraving is highly readable marking and leaves a permanent mark that enables effective personal identification and traceability, and is capable of performing under harsh environmental conditions. Laser marking is a method used for marking names, logos, symbols, barcodes, etc. on various kinds of materials using a laser. Laser marking systems are used in a highly adaptable, dynamic process for high-speed character, graphic, and 2D Data Matrix marking. The principle of operation of a laser marking system is that a laser beam modifies the optical appearance of a material that it strikes. This can happen through several mechanisms:

  Removing of a colored surface layer or ablation of material (laser engraving)

  Modifying the surface structure by melting a metal

  Slight carbonization or burning of materials like cardboard, paper, polymers, or wood

  Altering a plastic material by transforming or bleaching the industrial laser additives- pigments

  Expansion of a polymer in places where some additive is evaporated

  Generating surface structures like small bubbles

Laser Marking Systems have a wide variety of applications:

  They are used to add “use by” dates and the like on bottles, food packages, and part numbers, etc

  They are used in quality control by adding traceable information

  They are employed in marking electronic components, printed circuit boards (PCBs), and cables

  They are used for printing names, bar codes, logos, and other information on products

Compared to other marking systems such as mechanical marking and ink jet printing, laser marking systems has a number of advantages, such as low operation cost (no use of consumables), very high processing speeds, constant high durability and quality of the results, avoiding contaminations, very high flexibility in automation, and the ability to write very small features. Using laser systems, plastic materials, cardboard, wood, paper, acrylic and leather can be easily marked with relatively low-power CO2 lasers.

The following are the advantages of Laser Marking Systems:

  Laser marking is an indelible and permanent marking process, which stands against scuffing, wiping, wear and tear, impacts, and can only be removed by surface removal or grinding. Thus laser marking systems sustain the authenticity of your brand against all sorts of tempering.

  This process is non-contact type. It does not cause any deformation of the product unlike in stamping, punching, vibratory pencil, pneumatic pin, etc. This gives an aesthetic and accurate marking independent of hardness of the surface.

  These systems are highly flexible compared to any other marking technology. They can mark any fonts and images without changing any die, punch, stencil etc. unlike other conventional techniques.

  Since laser systems can produce a very fine beam with accuracy in microns, many micro and accurate details can be marked with precision using them. These systems can produce aesthetic images which are otherwise difficult to create with other marking technologies.

  Since these systems are a non-contact type, no pre or post processing is needed, which in turn considerably increases the marking productivity.

  These systems help greatly in cutting-down operating cost by reducing tool cost, labor cost, setup time, consumable cost, rejection improved cycle time.

  One of the focal advantages of laser marking is that it can be integrated with any online process and can be automated. With support of software, even variable batch numbers can be marked.

Considering the above features, applications and advantages, laser marking systems are certainly a better alternative to the conventional marking technologies.

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