Laser Marking on Metal

CopertinaImmagini-PagMetalli-1 Metals

Laser marking on metal is a contactless process that doesn’t require any additional pre-marking or post-marking work.

Laser marking is most effective on metal, where it’s easier to achieve diverse results. Laser marking, as well as laser engraving, is clean and precise. Lasers markers for metal are the most efficient industrial engraving technology available.

Laser markers do not damage metal, and the resulting mark is resistant to acid and corrosive chemicals. Additionally, laser marking machines help optimize production time.

Fiber and MOPA lasers

Fiber lasers are the best laser technology for marking metal.

They are perfect for laser marking, micromachining, and cutting any type of metal or alloy.

They are also great for engraving painted metal and surface-treated metal, such as anodized aluminum.

 

Fiber lasers can be used in their standard version or the MOPA (variable pulse) version. MOPA lasers are versatile and produces high-quality results.

MOPA lasers have the same advantages as traditional fiber lasers, namely:

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MOPA-DIFFERENZA-FIBRA Metals

These laser engraving systems have additional advantages for laser marking on plastic and on metal.

MOPA lasers can produce colored markings on steel and black markings on anodized aluminum.

Laser marking is less prone to corrosion due to limited heat transmission, and laser engraving edges have fewer burns.

 

MOPA lasers produce high-contrast laser marking on plastic. Impulse duration control means more uniform, burn-free laser marking.

MOPA lasers meet the quality, production, esthetic, and safety standards required by the automotive, hydraulics, home appliance and medical industries.

However, traditional fiber lasers still produce very high-quality markings on natural aluminum or die-castings.

Laser marking processes

There are several processes that can be applied to metal, including surface laser marking, deep laser engraving, and annealing.

Surface laser marking

Surface laser marking produces markings that are only a few millimeters deep. Once in contact with the material, laser marking melts it at the surface, changing its roughness. Compared to laser engraving systems, less energy converges to the laser beam.

Laser markers are also faster since they do not need to go deep.

Deep laser engraving

Unlike laser marking, which creates grooves, laser engraving evaporates the material in a few milliseconds to create permanent markings.

Laser engraving also lasts longer. It is therefore recommended when the marked component undergoes additional processes, such as sandblasting for die-castings.

Annealing​

Annealing is when the laser marking oxidizes the surface of the metal, heating it locally.

During the annealing process, the surface of the metal is kept uniform. This happens because laser marking involves only heating and not the removal of material.

The oxidized layer is usually black, but it can take on different colors depending on the temperature of the heated layer.

Color depth is between 20 and 30 µm.

What kind of metal is suitable for laser marking?

The most common metals for laser marking are:

pressofuso-36 Metals
Laser marking on metal for traceability

Metal is the most common material used in laser marking.

 

Across the board, metal products make up the bulk of the automotive supply chain. A large number of metallic components are also used in hydraulics and the medical industry.

 

Laser marking is most commonly used to meet traceability requirements — marking identification codes, most commonly QR codes and DataMatrix codes.

 

LASIT laser markers use our FlyCAD proprietary software to create codes with extreme versatility. The software is easy to use and manages data automatically by connecting directly to the customer’s MES-ERP system.

 

LASIT laser markers can also be integrated with an internal vision system for verifying and grading marked codes. A single station in the production chain ensures product traceability through advanced automation and experience.

The difference between laser marking and laser engraving

All laser marking and laser engraving methods have one thing in common: the laser beam is pulsed, releasing energy at specific intervals.

 

The difference is in the speed and line spacing, which determine the distance between each pulse.

 

In laser marking, the laser melts the material through heating and modifies its shape to imprint a permanent code or mark.

Laser engraving, on the other hand, vaporizes the material. The laser beam penetrates deeper into the surface and removes the upper layers by sublimating them, or rather through a direct transition from a solid to a gaseous state.

This difference is not immediately obvious to many, but for laser marking experts it is very important.

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