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Glass Marking

Glass Marking

Internal and external laser marking of glass

Whether you need an internal mark or surface etching, our laser glass marking systems can meet your needs. Due to its many advantages over traditional marking techniques, laser marking is found in an increasing number of industries—bringing flexibility, speed and repeatability to your application.

Other advantages include:

  • No consumables. Laser marking doesn’t require extra consumables like sand blasting, ink printing and other glass marking methods.
  • Repeatability. Laser marking is extremely accurate and repeatable due to the laser’s localized energy and system’s accurate controls.
  • Flexibility. Lasers can etch a variety of graphics and text, including intricate patterns. Switching between different parts is also simple, thanks to our custom software capabilities.
  • No stencils or masks. Our marking systems steer the laser like a pencil on paper—eliminating specific masks for each design. Marking a new design is as simple as uploading a new drawing file.
  • Easy automation. You can easily add laser glass marking to your automated operation. Our systems even mark glass On-the-Fly.

Internal and External Marking Methods

The two basic glass marking methods are external and internal marking. External glass marking utilizes lasers to etch the surface of the glass part—causing light to reflect off the surface and creating a contrasting mark to the eye.

External marking uses the following laser wavelengths:

  • 10.6 μm (CO2 lasers)—mark the surface with dots that have little to no radial cracking. This allows the mark to have a consistent appearance and minimizes extra chipping. The CO2 laser is the fastest option for marking glass and is found in many applications that require automation or On-the-Fly technology.
  • 355 and 532 nm (Nd:YVO4 lasers)—mark the surface with thin lines, or micro fractures—creating a frosted look. This method creates very intricate graphics and designs but is a slower process than CO2 marking.

Applications for external glass marking span many industries. Popular examples include:

  • Decorative glass marking
  • Nucleation
  • Marking rounded surfaces—the laser’s depth of focus gently marks even small variations in the surface of the glass, making laser marking suitable for rounded parts like wine bottles, stemware and other drinking glasses.
  • Automotive anti-theft glass marking—we manufacture a portable, handheld laser glass marking machine for etching VIN numbers onto automotive windows for anti-theft protection (U.S. Patent No. 8598489).

Internal Glass Marking

This method focuses a laser’s energy into the interior of a glass part—creating microfractures and a visually contrasting mark without affecting the outside surface. Internal glass marking uses 355-nm (Nd:YVO4) or ultrashort lasers. Their small spot sizes have high energy density and absorption rates that can mark precise locations within the glass. By changing the Z height and scanning in the X and Y axes, you can even mark 3D graphics inside the glass. Decorative glass marking is the most popular application for internal glass marking.

Backlit Graphic Marking

Another application for laser glass marking is to remove an opaque coating substance—paint, for example—from a glass surface in order to backlight the laser-removed areas. Depending on the coating, you can use many different laser wavelengths—from IR to UV—for this application. Wavelengths that are absorbed by the coating but transmitted by the glass are ideal. Lasers can remove graphics, text characters and even data matrices without damaging the glass.

Videos

Laser Marking of Glass

Class IV - Large CO2 Glass Marker

Automotive UID VIN Laser Marking System

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Contact our Applications Lab to determine the best wavelength for your glass marking project.

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