What is laser engraving and what does it do?
By vaporizing material into fumes, a laser leaves permanent, deep marks. As the laser beam removes layers from the material’s surface, it acts as a chisel, cutting marks. When a laser strikes localized regions with tremendous energy, it produces the high temperatures required for vaporization.
It is the goal of this article to provide comprehensive information about laser engraving and how to find a laser engraving machine.
Laser engraving versus laser etching: what is better?
When choosing a laser marking process, you should consider three factors:
- Legible even under harsh conditions: resistant to harsh conditions
- Laser marking speeds are responsible for preventing production bottlenecks
- The marking method should be compatible with the material being marked
Laser technology is usually used to engrave metal workpieces that will be subjected to wear and surface treatments. A laser engraving machine can engrave steel and aluminum (including anodized and die-cast aluminum).
This process can engrave high-readability 2D codes that remain after post-processing. Shotblasting, electrocoating, and heat treatments can be used to address traceability issues.
When engraving highly resistant identifiers isn’t necessary, laser etching is often preferred since it is a high-speed process that uses less ablation.
Gasification: The Process of Turning Solids Into Gases
In laser etching, a material’s surface is melted; in laser engraving, the surface is sublimated. By absorbing enough energy, the surface becomes a gas without ever becoming a liquid.
The vaporization temperature of the material must be reached within milliseconds of a laser engraving system that produces enough energy. In view of the extreme temperatures required for sublimation, laser engravers are quite powerful machines.
Materials that reach this temperature vaporize into fumes. Fume extraction systems should always be included with laser systems to protect your work environment and the laser’s lens.
Fiber lasers are ideal engraving tools because they produce a wavelength that works well with metals.
Machines for laser engraving for sale
Using the following list, you can find the laser engraving machine that will suit your needs:
- In addition to our OEM marking systems, we offer industrial lasers for integration by you or by an integrator. A wide variety of laser marking systems are available with CO2 and fiber lasers.
- For turnkey automated and semi-automated laser solutions, visit our integrated laser machines page.
- By scrolling through the list of metals, you can find detailed information about the metal you will be marking.
- When in doubt, ask an expert for advice.
Can high-quality and high-contrast engravings be produced?
Laser engraving leaves permanent marks with deep crevices, which are darker (engraving depth can reach 0.5 mm).
Laser engraving creates contrast in two ways.
The bare material contrasts with the engraved marks in the first (and faster) engraving method. This method isn’t recommended unless the color of the bare material is pale enough to generate a high contrast.
Due to the fact that the second (and longer) engraving method engraves both black and white marks, the contrast is higher. This method uses laser etching (to create the white marks) and laser engraving (to create the black marks).