Today there are many different types of marking lasers that can mark all materials. Up until a few years ago, there were limits in terms of quality and range of markable materials, but this is no longer the case.
You can find the right Laser Engraving Machine based on the type of material and the expected result.
Given this wide range of possibilities, picking a suitable laser is not an easy task and can be a challenge for many operators in the industry. In this article, we will try to clarify what to keep in mind when choosing the right laser marker for our needs.
First of all, we need to understand the laser characteristics and the material properties of our components.
The main parameters to consider when choosing are the type of material, the marking quality, the aesthetic to be achieved, and the speed. In the case of stand-alone laser markers, speed is identified with cycle time. Cycle time is the time it takes for a component to complete its entire marking path, from its introduction into the system to the (if any) reading of the 2D code.
Among those lasers, you have most often heard of are Fiber, Wave, UV, and, of course, CO2 lasers. Each of these adapts to one material more than another. In general, we know the Fiber laser for its total effectiveness on metals. The Green Wave laser is more suitable for plastics, like the more famous UV laser.
The CO2 laser is the most widely used for marking organic materials. Within the Fiber category, there are also technological alternatives suitable for particular applications. We are talking about the MOPA laser and the Picosecond laser.
We will discuss them in more detail at the end of this article.
It is important to understand how the material to be marked absorbs laser light at the wavelength of the laser itself. Ferrous and non-ferrous materials have excellent absorption at 1064 nm, while precious metals do so at 355 and 532 nm. Plastics also absorb the higher wavelength laser output.
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