Laser Marking Systems
Advantages of Laser Marking
Marking with lasers offers a permanent, high-speed, and non-contact solution to your part marking needs. No masks or stencils are required and there is generally no thermal or mechanical stress on the part. Using industrial lasers, galvanometric imaging systems, and computer control, CMS Laser manufactures custom laser marking systems designed for to meet your business’s exact needs, and to optimize your actual application.
We can uniquely combine speed, permanence, and marking flexibility that cannot be matched by any other marking technique. Our markers are precise, versatile, highly reliable and cost-effective.
Laser Marking Methods
Several different methods of marking materials fall under the umbrella of “laser marking”. Each affects the material differently and some materials might react to more than one of the methods. It’s important to note that several variables play a part in which laser and method is best suited for your parts. Following is a high level breakdown of methods by material group.
Plastics can be marked with several different laser wavelengths and methods
- Charring (carbonization) produces dark marks on light plastics.
- Foaming produces light marks on dark plastics.
- Ablation removes material by breaking the molecular bonds of the material, essentially vaporizing it.
- causes various dyes and pigments mixed into the plastic to change color when exposed to various laser wavelengths.
- Melting raises the temperature to the plastic’s melting point (not high enough for ablation) and creates marks that do not change from the original color.
- Chemical Change can cause the color to alter as the laser beam interacts with the molecules in the material.
Metals generally absorb shorter wavelengths better, allowing them to accept permanent marking very well.
- Ablation vaporizes the metal leaving behind empty space where the laser path traveled.
- Oxidation creates an oxide layer which darkens the metal with no raised/lowered area or material debris.
- Layer Removal takes away an added layer (painted/anodized) and leaves bare, unaltered metal exposed.
- Melting can mark metals by change the surface texture of metals.
Marking glass with lasers requires the capability of at least a small amount of light absorption. It is a fast, non-contact method of etching/engraving on glass, and also a debris/waste-free method of marking inside glass.
- Micro-fracturing creates miniscule cracks by creating a significant temperature difference between the cold substrate and the heated beam path.
- 3D Marking uses a tightly focused laser and varied focal point to cause the micro-fractures to take place between the two surfaces of the glass.
Laser marks can be done on ceramics both pre and post-firing.
- Micro-fracturing causes very small cracks in the surface of the ceramic, causing light to refract differently from the marked area, and creating a grayscale mark.
- Melting is possible on some ceramics and can either rough or smooth an area, as well as cause minor surface height/depth differences, creating a somewhat less noticeable same-color mark.
- Additive Modification can allow the laser to change the makeup of chemicals placed in the ceramic, allowing for more high contrast marks in a range of colors.
- Engraving removes material along the beam path, leaving a permanent mark behind.
Laser marking works on nearly any material known to man, including diamonds, wood, paper, fabric, and many others. CMS Laser’s experienced engineers will design a marking application for your needs, using your sample parts to ensure it meets all requirements.
Industries Commonly Using Laser Marking
Our state-of-the-art systems can be utilized in a variety of industries such as automotive, aerospace, appliances, glass, electronics, medical, military, and many more. We receive samples daily into our Applications Lab that represent virtually any industry existing today.
Laser Marking a Wide Range of Materials
A combination of things has led to the ability to mark nearly any material available. First, the addition of new laser wavelengths has allowed us to find one that matches up to your product needs. What might reflect or pass through in one particular wavelength becomes the ideal mark in another. Secondly, materials manufacturers have advanced the processing and additives capabilities in the arenas in which their materials are found. This might mean that a medical-grade clear plastic that was previously resistant to marking now allows high contrast, crisp marks under a number of laser wavelengths.
At CMS Laser, our Apps Lab has designed and developed laser marking systems capable of direct part marking nearly any metallic and non-metallic material. We offer a no-cost and no-obligation application using your own sample parts to see how laser marking can increase your manufacturing capabilities.
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