Using lasers to mark ceramic allows for precise heat control that can create detailed and durable marks. Text characters, identification numbers, data matrixes, or other graphics can be permanently marked on your ceramic parts using lasers, improving traceability or product identification.
Advantages of Laser Marking of Ceramic:
No Consumables – Marking ceramic with a laser does not require extra consumables like other ceramic marking methods such as ink printing.
Localized Energy – The laser’s localized energy allows for small details to be marked on the ceramic while keeping the heat affected zone confined to a small area.
Non-Contact Marking – Laser marking is done without any mechanical contact with the part. This allows for fragile parts to be marked without causing extra wear or damage.
Methods of Laser Marking of Ceramic:
Melting Surface of Ceramic
When marking many types of ceramic, the laser’s energy can be used to heat up the material and cause a direct color change in the marked area by melting the surface. Melting causes a darkening of the material that creates contrast without fully ablating the surface.
A 1064nm fiber laser is a typical laser used for direct color change melted marking on ceramic parts and can be used for part identification (serial number, data matrixes, and barcodes), decorative marking with graphics or text, and many other applications.
Etching Surface of Ceramic
Laser marking of ceramic can also be done by etching into the surface of the part to create engraved lines or patterns. This method ablates the ceramic material to change the angle that light reflects of the surface and allows the marked areas to appear with contrast to the background.
Color Change Using Laser-Absorbing Additive
A less common method for marking ceramic is to pre-coat the part with a laser-absorbing substance. When the laser energy is directed at the coated surface, the laser is absorbed by the coating and a color change is created in the coating which then adheres to the surface of the part. After marking is complete, the rest of the non-lasered coated is cleaned away to leave only the marked area. This method does require the consumable coating substance and is therefore only used when other laser marking methods cannot achieve the results required.