What is laser engraving?

laser-news-1 What is laser engraving and how it works

Laser engraving technology is one of the laser processing technologies. Laser engraving is a marking method that uses a high-energy density laser to locally irradiate the workpiece to vaporize or change the color of the surface material and perform permanent marking. Laser engraving can produce different words, symbols and patterns.

 

In this article we explained the differences between laser marking and engraving

 

Laser engraving machines are used when speed and high precision are required. For example, electronic components, medical components, promo gadgets, jewelry, automotive parts, plastic buttons, hydraulics, tags and so on. The laser spot is so thin that allows us to focus precisely on microscopic surfaces.

 

Laser engraving works by using a focused beam of light (the spot) to mark the surface of a material. When the beam interacts with the material’s surface, it alters the material’s properties and appearance. This concentrated beam targets only a specified area, allowing the laser engraving machine to create precise, high quality, high-contrast marks that are easy to read or scan on virtually any surface. This feature makes laser engraving ideal for applications where accuracy and permanency are critical to success.

The most common laser is the fiber laser, who is effective on all the metals and the majority of plastics, considering also its MOPA and Picosecond versions. This laser operates at 1070NM, delivering significantly higher power to mark harder materials, such as metal.

 

Another example can be the UV laser marker, which has a wavelength of around 355NM and offers a lower power for marking heat-sensitive materials such as plastic and glass. Because UV laser markers and other machines in the “cold laser” category emit less energy, they are great solutions for many organic or soft products, as they are less likely to burn the material. Compared to other non-permanent marking processes such as printing or labeling, laser engraving uses no consumables and requires less maintenance. 

 

LASIT also offers fast and reliable customer support, free marking samples and the possibility to see the laser laboratory and the factory in a video-call whenever you prefer. Book your call at this page.

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How does it work laser engraving?

Laser engraving is a process that vaporizes materials into fumes to engrave permanent, deep marks. The laser beam acts as a chisel, incising marks by removing layers from the surface of the material. The laser hits localized areas with massive levels of energy to generate the high heat required for vaporization.

 

In this article, you’ll find in-depth information on hot to choose the best laser engraving machine and which parameters you should consider.

 

But first here’s a short video that shows a fiber laser engraving process in action. In this video, you’ll see the high-quality contrasts, the marking speed, and the fumes generated during laser engraving.

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Prima-ell-incisione What is laser engraving and how it works

Surface before laser engraving

DopoIncisione What is laser engraving and how it works

Surface after laser engraving

From Solid to Gas: laser engraving process

Whereas laser etching melts the material surface to change its roughness, laser engraving sublimates the material surface to create deep crevices. This means that the surface instantly absorbs enough energy to change from solid to gas without ever becoming a liquid.

 

To achieve sublimation, the laser engraving system must generate enough energy to allow the material’s surface to reach its vaporization temperature within milliseconds. Considering the extreme temperatures required for sublimation, laser engravers are pretty powerful tools.

Laser engraving processes on materials

The traditional (infrared) fiber laser allows the marking of a wide range of components. If we also consider the MOPA version – i.e. with variable pulse – the number and type of possible laser processing increases. Less common are UV and CO2 laser markers, even though they have high performance on this type of material. The revolution in laser marking on plastic came with the advent of FlyPeak laser technology, which combines high peak power with short pulse duration.

 

In this article we deeply explain the processes of lasers on plastics. Here, instead, you can find which processes apply on metals components.

laser-03-scaled What is laser engraving and how it works
Laser engraving processes on plastics
Expansion
Carbonization
Color change or toning
Removal
Laser engraving processes on metals
Oxidation, black marking
White laser engraving
Laser deep engraving
Superficial ablation

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