You may already know about laser marking technology. Of course, that is natural because it is quite the trend these days. Perhaps you may want to buy a laser marking machine, but you are unsure of which type you should buy. Well, different industries have varying needs. You have to know about the types of laser marking, to find out which one you need.
The Laser Marking Technology
In general, laser marking works by firing a low-temperature, focused beam of light to carve designs onto a material surface. Unlike both laser engraving and laser etching, laser marking causes no damage to the material’s surface, thanks to its low power. The result is a discoloration that is caused by oxidation of the material.
From reading that description, you should be able to infer that the process is quick and takes no difficulty. Also, laser marking is quite versatile because you can use different materials for marking, and it still gets the job done. Moreover, the machines provide permanent marks with excellent quality. Furthermore, laser marking tools include a computer-assisted interface that allows you to program the design to be embedded. Lastly, laser marking machines require only minimal maintenance.
Purchasing Laser Marking Machines
You can find laser marking instruments in your area, or you may shop online. These are quite common now, so you will not have trouble finding one. If you need a versatile laser marking tool, then check out the Minilase XL Desktop Laser Marking Machine. The model is useful for various industries.
Types of Laser Marking Technologies
There are four types of laser marking technologies, namely annealing, carbon migration, coloration, and foaming. Obviously, each type has a different functionality than the other. Furthermore, each one offers you different results. You may read their descriptions and functions, then decide on which type of laser marking you need.
Annealing laser marking is the oxidation by applying heat to a surface material. Of course, the heat has a low amount of aggression. The process results in a defined, black mark that has a characteristic smoothness. However, you can vary the temperature at the metal’s surface. Doing so will give you different shades of green, red or yellow.
The process of annealing can be quite slow because it relies only on heat for oxidation. Also, cooling is required after you heat the metal. The types of metals usable for annealing are iron, stainless steel, steel, and titanium. Lastly, annealing is quite common in the medical industry for branding and internal tracking purposes.
Carbon migration laser marking also heats a metal or metal alloy, to cause it to bond chemically with the carbon it contains. The chemical bonds with carbon molecules bring its properties to the material’s surface. You will see a soot-like marking, which can be dark to black.
The advantage of carbon migration is the faster process thanks to the high-powered heat it uses. Of course, it is more concentrated, so it heats only a small area at a time. The glaring disadvantage when it comes to carbon migration is that it is only useful for metals with carbon. Examples of carbon containing metals are carbide, stainless steel, steel, and titanium. Lastly, carbon migration works best for aerospace, jewelry-engraving, and metalworking industries.
Coloring metals or plastics work by heating specific parts of a material’s surface, for a certain amount of time. Different colors and shades result through controlling the pulse frequency and width of the surface. For plastic coloration, manipulating polymers in the plastic material results to visible colors. On the other hand, metal coloration works by oxidation of previously treated or untreated surfaces. Overall, you can use coloration for decorative applications such as color coatings, decorative jewelry, and marking colors.
Foam laser marking is useful for creating light colors on darker-colored plastics. The color changes result through controlled and contained molten burns on the plastic surface. When the surface melts, foaming gas bubbles will form. Then, such bubbles will change the light refraction properties of the plastic. Overall, foaming is great if you want to provide lettering, light color effects, and symbols for plastic products.
The different types of laser marking technologies each come with their applications and expected results. For example, if you want to mark metals in general, then go for annealing. Carbon migration works best for carbon-containing metals. Also, if you work in the plastic industry, then foaming may come in handy. Lastly, coloration is ideal for decorative purposes.