All types of metal can undergo laser marking or laser engraving. Processes vary from product identification to deep engraving, whether we are talking about surface blackening (annealing) or 3D laser engraving. The list of metals that can be laser marked or laser engraved is long and includes the following types of metals (many others may not be listed below): stainless steel, high quality steel, carbon steel, copper, iron, ferrous metals, magnesium, aluminum, brass, gold, silver, platinum, palladium, titanium.
Laser machining of metals and alloys
When laser marking oxidizes the surface of ferrous metals (iron, steel and stainless steel) and titanium via the localized heating of the material, we call that annealing (surface blackening via the laser). The oxide layer is typically black, but it can also come in other hues (yellow, red or green, for example). With annealing, the surface of the materials remains unchanged. The color change occurs not via ablation but due to the localized heating of the material. On metal surfaces, the color usually reaches a depth of between 20 and 30 micrometers.
When engraving is carried out with a laser marker, a bit of the material is ablated from the surface of the component being treated. This marking effect can be obtained on almost all materials. Laser engraving is used especially with metals, plastics and ceramics. The laser beam penetrates the surface and removes a part of it, creating a depression in the area. Because the material is heated as it reacts to the air in the environment, there is often discoloration in the area that has been engraved and this makes the marked area all the more evident.
Deep laser engraving is a highly specialized procedure that involves engraving at a precise depth. The result is very similar to mechanical engraving. However, the laser process has many advantages which make it more suitable for the industry. During deep laser engraving, the material is removed in layers in order to engrave in an area as small as a few millimeters in diameter, which is something that is difficult to achieve with mechanical methods. Another advantage of the laser is the fact that even materials that are particularly difficult to work with can be marked without issue.
Video laser marking metals
Which are the main applications of laser marking on metals?
Typical industry solutions for metal laser marking and engraving include all the sectors where accuracy and precision are required, such as Automotive, product labelling and coding (serial numbers, codes and logos), Cutting tool industry and Medical Industry.
Can a metal engraving machine mark all kinds of metals and alloys?
Yes, all types of metal can undergo laser marking or laser engraving. The list of metals that can be laser marked or engraved includes all types of steel (stainless, high quality, or carbon steel, etc.), but also copper, iron, ferrous metals, magnesium, aluminum, gold, silver, platinum, titanium and more.
Which is the best laser source to mark, engrave or cut metals and alloys?
The best laser source to process metals and alloys is the fiber laser. LASIT produces the FiberFly laser that uses the most innovative technology with active fiber doped with Ytterbium. It is the ideal laser solution for precision laser engraving, marking, micro-machining and cutting of metal materials.