Advantages of Laser Marking Metal
Putting marks on metal is as old as our history of working with metals. Historically a messy and time consuming process, the use of lasers to leave permanent marks in and on metals has changed the industry.
Now most metals can be marked at thousands of characters per minute, without any mechanical contact to affect the structural integrity of the part. And, depending on the part(s), there are multiple ways to pass those parts through the laser marking system. If you deal with several sizes or types of smaller parts, you would look at a Jedec tray X/Y table system (with possible Z laser travel) to mark many parts per cycle. Or, as some of our automotive industry clients do, you might find your parts could be marked On The Fly for very high throughput and minimal operator interaction. Many other system designs and automation capabilities have been implemented by our engineers, allowing our clients to configure their metal marking systems to integrate smoothly into their existing production processes.
In addition to the speed advantages, marks made with lasers are long lasting and durable. Depending on the metal and method, marks can also leave the surface completely intact through oxidation, which is important in cases where no surface variation is allowed. Extremely small legible marking is also possible with lasers, and all CMS Laser systems can connect with your data to allow for sequential marking of serial numbers, bar codes, or other variable data.
Laser Metal Marking Methods
There are four main methods of marking metals via laser. Some leave a tangible mark, often called engraving, which is often used in the automotive and tool industries.. Some change the molecular structure in the metal, leaving a mark but nothing that can be felt. This is often used in the medical and appliance industries.
- 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.
Metals Commonly Marked with Lasers
The additional wavelengths and powers available in the 21st century give us many options when it comes to working with metal. For many years some metals were extremely difficult to apply laser marking technology to, but now we can help you with virtually any metal or alloy, including:
- Stainless Steel
This is not an exhaustive list, so if you’re using a rare or unusual metal or alloy, talk to the engineers in our state of the art Applications Lab or fill out the form on the Apps Lab page, and we’ll get to work on your Free Product Analysis.
CMS Laser Metal Marking Systems
In the end, metal marking with CMS Laser is a cost and time efficient method for imprinting serial numbers, codes, text, patterns, logos and more on any number of metals and alloys…all while maintaining the integrity of the metal. No costs for replacing or sharpening stamps, dies, or bits. Our laser metal marking systems are being used in manufacturing facilities around the world, marking, annealing, etching, and engraving a wide variety of metals.
Metal Marking Videos