Types of laser engraving: features and use
Laser engraving is the most used category today for custom marking objects and for placing logos, names of marks, etc. and it remains permanently on the object. And Couth is now going to tell you the different types of laser engraving available, which can be applied on materials such as glass, wood, metal, stone, and much more.
Worth mentioning is the use of machines during the laser engraving process that emit a beam of light at high temperatures, which can perform this at different depths.
This type of machine is also used to make cuts in a range of materials.
This procedure facilitates the series engraving, which involves the production of a large number of pieces regardless of their size, from very small to very large, the engraving of which would be much more difficult to perform in a conventional way.
Using laser engraving equipment gives flawless results on any type of metal, performing material extraction, colouring, and engraving in 2 or 3 dimensions.
Types of laser engravings
The types of laser engravings vary according to the way the laser light beam acts on the material as well as the type of gas they use, which include:
Surface laser engraving
Surface laser engraving involves engraving without the heat provided by the laser reaching the melting point, meaning that the only thing that changes on the surface being worked on is the colour.
In other words, a marking is obtained on the metal without it being penetrated and none of its properties being changed.
It is one of the most popular types of laser engraving in the aeronautical and medical sectors, as it is generally used on stainless steel and titanium as well tending not to corrode.
Layer extraction laser engraving
It is an engraving technique that consists of extracting the first layer of coating of the metal to be worked on, leaving the lower section exposed, which appears in a different colour, allowing for quick contrast and accurate engraving.
This type of laser engraving does not affect the properties of the metal and is generally used on painted surfaces, such as signage plates, and it can be done quite quickly, something very important for jobs with a short turnaround time.
Deep laser engraving
This engraving is performed on metal parts in 3D and 2.5D, requiring a high level of precision, as is the case of the watch sector as well as for the engraving of moulds and other tools.
Out of all the types of laser engraving, this is one where the most minute details are obtained with optimum accuracy and without deforming or damaging the part.
Fusion laser engraving
This is another type of laser engraving, which is performed when the laser light beam reaches a temperature at which a metal can melt. The power required in the machine for this type of engraving must be set according to the desired depth in the grooves, as well as according to the required contrast.
This engraving remains permanently on the part and is applied directly onto it, suffering very little wear over time due to its use or for storage.
It is mainly used in the automotive industry for the customisation of parts and is also frequently used to engrave decorative motifs, among many other sectors requiring high standards.
Argon gas or nitrogen is used to make this type of laser engraving, which pushes the laser light beam through a groove with a certain level of pressure until it is in contact with the surface to be engraved.
The result obtained from this other type of fusion laser engraving is relatively clean and precise, usually requiring no retouching.
Sublimation laser engraving
Out of all the different types of laser engraving, this is the one that requires more energy and more time to be applied than the fusion laser engraving mentioned above, due to the fact that the treated material is evaporated due to the high intensity achieved by the beam.
And, as soon as a cut is made, certain gas such as helium or nitrogen must be applied at a fairly high level of pressure in order to oxidise the cut surface.
Worthy of mention is how that this type of sublimation laser engraving ensures optimum accuracy and quality.
Oxycutting laser engraving
This type of laser engraving requires the use of oxygen as a cutting gas, which is applied directly in the cutting groove at very high pressure in order for the metal that has been heated to react with oxygen to obtain higher energy in the laser beam.
This is the one generally used from all the types of laser engraving when working on thick surfaces to obtain a better result.
Laser engraving in the industrial sector
The various types of laser engravings have been increasingly used in the industrial sector according to their needs and preferences, leaving permanent marks to protect intellectual property, to customise different articles, as well as providing checks and controls to prevent replication or forgery.
- This is a quick process that can be performed on any type of metal, as well as on technical plastics, where the laser beam physically removes a layer of the material, creating a cavity with the image chosen by the customer, which is easily discernible.
- One of the most frequent reasons for using the various types of laser engraving in the industrial market is security, which is used on identification cards, documents, credit cards and any other items that require additional security. adapting to the needs of each company.
- Its use is very important for improving the operability of industrial companies, thanks to how it facilitates the engraving of dates, data codes, batches, serial numbers, labels, components, times, symbols, codes that are specific to the industry, trademarks, and many more.
- The different types of laser engraving offer optimal quality marking, which can be read by inventory tracking tools and by different types of scanners.
- Laser systems can be connected to a factory network, which represents the option of monitoring operations, performing system maintenance, product support and as well as remotely solving any problems that may arise.
- This type of technology has allowed industries to add value to their products by placing a unique customised engraving of logos as well as names, codes, which prevents them from being forged or being easily detected whenever it is a forgery.
- This is because laser engraving is very precise that allows a range of details to be placed.
- The different types of laser engraving have been irreversibly implemented in those processes that merit identification on items, parts, safety notices, inventories, helping to better manage storage, production and loss prevention and control.
The industry sectors that have used the various types of laser engraving to give an additional warranty and security layer on their articles include laboratories, food industry, banking, government agencies, safety agencies, the automotive industry and robotics.
Benefits of laser engraving in the industrial sector
There are number of benefits of using laser engraving for the engraving of industrial brands, such as:
- This type of engraving can be used on a range of hard materials such as metal (bronze, stainless steel, nickel, silicon, titanium and aluminium).
- Many components can be engraved in an automated manner, where many parts can be engraved at the same time depending on the size and quantity of parts, a major benefit when bar codes are to be engraved on certain parts where accuracy and speed are required.
- The size of the pieces does not matter, thanks to the fact that the equipment has everything necessary to be able to work on everything from very minute to very big ones.
The engraving of heavy and large-volume parts is generally required in the industrial sector, precisely of how difficult they are to engrave due to their size.
However, there are a range of portable equipment that can be placed in such a way that they become able to reach the most inaccessible sections of the part.
Factors influencing laser engraving
There are several factors that influence laser engraving according to its procedure, which we detail below:
Cutting pressure and gases
More accentuated or deep engravings or superficial engravings can be obtained depending on the desired depth level in the cut.
The laser engraving machine expels the gases through a cutting slot where the pressure must be properly regulated, which is measured with the pressure bar unit.
The most commonly used gases include nitrogen, argon, oxygen, and helium. Its selection will depend on the desired results.
Power of the laser engraving machine
The power will depend on the type of laser engraving, as well as on the surface to be worked on, with a different power is required in each case. This is known as energy per surface.
Diameter of the part and bulb position
The diameter of the part to be engraved will determine the position where the nozzle should be placed on the same, taking into account the position of the bulb. This must be very precise as any faulty calculation influences the quality of the engraving of the part.
Laser speed and projection
The projection can be performed though pulsations or continuously, and you can choose the one that best suits depending on the type of cut. This is also the case with the speed.
However, the speed should be higher whenever strong power is required and should be reduced in cases involving the engraving of very thick materials.
Degree of polarisation
The degree of polarisation refers to the waves that must be emitted in order to provide the correct direction to the slice, which is a determining factor in the quality of the slice on the engraved surface.
As we mentioned above, laser engraving provides more benefits compared to traditional engraving, thanks to being able to obtain results at a high speed, increasing productivity and efficiency, attaining clear images, complex details and the option of producing identical images simultaneously, all with the same quality.
There are several companies in Spain specialising in the provision of this service, including COUTH® LÁSER. We are a company renowned for being specialists in industrial traceability and marking whose staff are capable of providing precise solutions to any request.
We at COUTH have upmarket state-of-the-art machinery such as LASER PRO, which allows to tackle those production requirements, regardless of how demanding they are, which can reach a power of 100 Watts while also allowing direct communication with the PLC.
Another machine we offer is the LASER MAX, which enables engraving whenever a much greater degree of versatility is required.
This high-yield type of machine has made us a recommendable option as specialists in laser engraving, standing out for its quality.
Therefore, if you are looking for a quality laser engraving job to be done, do not hesitate to contact us.