With laser engraving, materials are vaporized into fumes in order to leave permanent, deep marks. Through removing layers from the surface of the material, the laser beam acts as a chisel, incising marks into the material. By hitting localized areas with high levels of energy, the laser generates the high temperatures needed for vaporization.
We’ll explain the process of laser engraving and how laser engraving machines work in this article.
Here is a short video showing how fiber Grawerowanie laserowe works. During laser marking, you will observe how fast the laser marks are, as well as the fumes which are released.
Would it be best to engrave or etch with lasers?
You should consider three factors when choosing a laser marking process:
- Resistance to harsh conditions: the marking’s ability to remain legible
- Laser marking speed: the time it takes to mark a part that prevents bottlenecks in production
- Compatibility of the marking method with the material to be marked
Metal workpieces that are to be exposed to different types of wear or surface treatments are typically engraved with laser technology. Engraving on metal can be done with steel as well as aluminum (including anodized and die-cast aluminum).
In this process, a 2D code can be engraved with a high readability rate even after post-processing. The most complex traceability issues can be addressed through shotblasting, e-coating, and heat treatments.
Laser etching is generally preferred if the most resistance identifiers are not necessary because it’s a fast, non-ablative method. Lead, magnesium, and zinc can also be laser etched along with steel, aluminum, and anodized aluminum. Laser annealing can also be used to mark metals such as stainless steel.
How Solids Become Gases
Laser etching changes the surface of the material by melting it, while laser engraving creates deep crevices by sublimating it. Surfaces absorb so much energy that they instantly change from solid to gas without ever becoming liquid.
Sublimation is achieved by generating sufficient energy to reach the material’s vaporization temperature within milliseconds following laser engraving. Laser engraving is one of the more powerful tools when considering the extreme temperatures required for sublimation.
A material that reaches this temperature is vaporized into fumes. To ensure the safety of the work environment and to prevent damage to the laser’s lens, all laser systems should come with a fume extraction system and an air knife.
Because fiber lasers emit a wavelength that reacts well with metal, they are an ideal engraving tool for this application.
What Are Some Ways to Engrave High-Contrast Marks?
These magnified images show the chaotic surface that was generated by the laser engraving process. As a result of the deep crevices (0.5mm engraving depth may be reached), laser engraved marks are darker. When you laser engrave a surface, you can create contrast in two ways.
Unlike the first engraving method (which is faster), the second engraving method allows for contrasting black marks to be engraved. If the raw material color is pale enough, this method is only recommended.
With the second engraving method (and longer engraving time), higher contrast can be achieved since it engraves both black and white marks. By way of this method, the laser system engraves (to produce black marks) and etch(to produce white marks).
Laser Engraving Machines
Here are a few laser engraving machines you might want to consider:
- We offer multiple types of lasers for industrial applications, as well as OEM marking systems, which may be integrated yourself or with an integrator. Our fiber lasers as well as CO2 lasers form our range of laser systems.
- On our integrated laser machine page, you can find turnkey automated and semi-automated laser solutions.
- Scroll through the list of metals to find information specific to the metal you’ll be marking.
- A professional can always provide guidance if you need it.