• Laser Marking

  • Laser marking offers a unique combination of speed, accuracy, permanence, repeatability and versatility that cannot be matched by any other marking method. Because it is a non-contact process, laser marking can be used on parts whose surfaces would be damaged by competing technologies such as hot stamping, labeling, and pad printing. Furthermore, laser marking can be done on a wider range of part surfaces and part geometries than competing technologies: smooth, textured, flat, contoured, cylindrical, spherical, and complex shaped parts can all be accurately laser marked.

    Laser marking is an environmentally friendly process, as there are no inks, solvents, and acids such as are required for pad printing, screen printing, and chemical etching. Because there are no consumables required, and no environmentally unfriendly materials to be disposed of, laser marking is a cost-effective process. Though the initial investment in a laser is higher than for some competing marking equipment, the payback time versus competing processes is typically less than one year. Laser marking speeds are determined primarily by the laser power, the complexity and density of the marks, and the nature of the material to be marked. Speeds of 1,000 to 1,500 characters per second are common.

    As laser technology has advanced over the years, an increasingly wide variety of materials can be successfully laser marked, including metals, plastics, ceramics, rubber, glass, wood, painted surfaces, and other organic and synthetic materials. With the range of laser types available today, the right combination of laser power and wavelength to mark even delicate surfaces is easily determined. Laser marking software that allows pulse shaping and other advanced techniques for minimizing heat effect on the surface of the part to be marked has contributed to the broadening of the variety of materials that can be successfully laser marked.

    Mark traceability information on critical parts

    Companies in high technology industries such as medical, aerospace, and automotive are using lasers to mark traceability information on critical parts. The direct laser marking of 2D codes, UID codes and more traditional bar codes is allowing companies to imbed great amounts of information into very small marking areas. A good example of the unique capabilities of laser marking versus competing processes is the marking of 2D codes onto the heads of tiny surgical screws. The combination of mark permanence, hygiene, and the counterfeit-proof characteristics of laser marking make it the marking method of choice for critical parts used in high technology applications.

    Ultrashort pulse laser technology to solve HAZ effects

    Relatively recent advances in laser technology have solved former laser marking issues associated with the heat generated by the laser marking process, such as melting, ablation, or other undesirable effects of HAZ (Heat Affected Zone). The emergence of ultrashort pulse laser technology permits “cold marking” to create a mark that does not damage the material or create microfractures that can damage the structural integrity of the material. This ability to permanently mark parts with minimal or no HAZ is particularly important for critical applications in the aerospace, medical and semiconductor industries.

    Printable Content examples – logos, photographic image, serial numbers, 2D codes, UID codes, bar codes

    Content that can be laser printed includes anything that can be programmed into a computer, from logos and photographic images to serial numbers, 2D codes, UID codes, and bar codes. The print quality is excellent and precisely repeatable from image to image. Part number serialization is as easy as entering into the laser software the command to print a prescribed number of parts with serial numbers beginning with “x” and incrementing each number by 1.

    Laser marking is reliable even in difficult production environments and does not require that parts be cleaned before or after marking. The marks are permanent, whether they are smooth annealed surface marks, or they are engraved into the material to a prescribed depth. The marks will survive the harshest of environments, and the only way to remove them is to physically grind them off.

    Laser marking systems are available as turnkey, standalone solutions in a wide variety of Class I workstations or can be integrated into existing production lines. This flexibility, together with the quality and permanence of the marks, make laser marking the clear choice for the most complex marking requirements faced today by companies in virtually every industry.

    Send us your most demanding applications and we will laser mark your parts FREE in one of our Applications Labs to demonstrate the quality and speed of laser marking. Contact us and we will provide shipping instructions.