Laser marking on metal is a contactless process that doesn’t require any additional pre-marking or post-marking work.
Laser marking is extremely effective on metals, where it is easy to achieve a wide range of diverse results. Laser marking, as well as laser engraving, is clean and precise.
Lasers markers for metals utilizes 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 lasers offers 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 increase versatility and produce high-quality results on a wider range of materials.
MOPA lasers have the same advantages as traditional fiber lasers, namely:
MOPA fiber laser engraving systems also have additional advantages for laser marking on plastics and on metals.
They can produce colored markings on steel and black markings on anodized aluminum.
Laser marks from a MOPA source is less prone to corrosion due to limited heat transmission, and the laser engraved edges have fewer burns.
MOPA lasers produce high-contrast laser marks on plastic. The control of the pulse duration means more uniform, burn-free laser marking.
However, traditional fiber lasers still produce very high-quality marks on natural aluminum or die-castings.
There are several processes that can be applied to metals, including surface laser marking, deep laser engraving, and 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 ranges from 20 and 30 µm.
Surface laser marking produces markings that are only a few microns deep. The energy from the laser affects the surface structure of the material by melting it on a microscopic level. Compared with deep laser engraving, less energy is used to create a surface laser mark.
Surface laser marking is also faster than deep laser engraving.
Unlike laser marking, which creates melted grooves, laser engraving evaporates the material in a few milliseconds to create permanent markings.
Deep Laser engraving also lasts longer. It is recommended when the marked component undergoe additional processes, such as sandblasting for die-castings.
Metal is the most common material used in the laser marking industry. And metal products make up the bulk of the automotive supply chain. A large number of metallic components are also used in the hydraulics and the medical industry.
Laser marking is an ideal technology to meet traceability requirements where marking identification codes such as QR codes and DataMatrix codes is necessary.
LASIT laser markers use our proprietary software FlyCAD 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.
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 the surface structure crwating 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 sublimation – 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.