Laser Part Marking
Types of Markings
With the AREX fiber laser marking system from Datalogic, we are able to apply any kind of marking to a part, including:
- Bar codes
- Serial numbers
- Regulatory markings
Why should you choose laser part marking? There are so many reasons. It’s fast. It’s precise. It’s versatile. Laser marks don’t alter the surface tolerance of the material and they don’t rub off. With laser part marking, we can guarantee repeatability; whether you want us to mark one part or one hundred thousand parts, we can reproduce your marking accurately on each one.
AREX Fiber Laser Marking System by Datalogic
American Wire EDM's laser part marking system is the AREX Fiber Laser Marking System by Datalogic.
Datalogic is a leading developer and manufacturer of laser part marking equipment. The AREX Fiber Laser Marking System is capable of high-speed part marking. It provides superior contrast on metal surfaces, and is an ideal choice for PCB assemblies.
Laser Marking Processes
“Laser part marking” is an umbrella term that encompasses a wide range of part marking processes. Because there are many different processes, it is possible to add markings to just about any material. To learn more about the various laser part marking processes, read on:
In this process, the laser removes material A from the top of material B, which is a different material. A common use for ablation is in the production of “Day/Night” switches for cars. First, the clear plastic body is dipped in paint. Then, using ablation, some of the paint is lasered off, revealing a pre-defined logo or pattern.
For steel and titanium alloys, we use a heating process called annealing. With a laser, we selectively heat the material until it gets close to its melting point. By heating the material to just before the melting point, we’re able to create striking black markings. The annealing process does not remove any material. At American Wire EDM, we use annealing for things like surgical tools which need markings but cannot have crevices or indentations, as those things can breed bacteria. While annealing is an effective process, it is only effective with titanium and steel. Moreover, annealed markings can disappear if the material is heated to an extremely high level.
Laser light can cause plastic to change color. Color change is a simple process that creates a marking using a laser to change the color of the material – without removing material from the surface of the plastic. Color change is very common method of laser part marking, especially for consumer electronics.
Regular marking Lasers can cut very thin materials. Laser cutting thin materials is very efficient; however it is important to know that not all materials are suitable for this process. Some materials will show heat damage from laser cutting. Cutting thicker materials, such as sheet metal, fiberboards, and fabrics, requires high-powered marking lasers. Industrial, high-powered lasers usually employ wattages that run into the thousands.
Laser beams can ensure that ceramic paints and films are permanently applied by melting them into place. This process is called “deposition.” We use this process for things like decorative glass. This process is not a simple one, nor is it cheap, but the results are spectacular.
Engraving is the most common method of laser marking. In this process, the laser beam material from the surface of the part. Essentially, the laser beam acts like a chisel, chipping away at the surface to create the marking. The trench that laser marking produces is usually quite shallow: between .0001” and .005”.
Deep engraving is essential for creating molds, dies and stamps, and is only possible with the help of high-powered lasers. A slow process, deep engraving works best with high-energy lasers and materials that absorb lasers well.
Polishing is very similar to annealing. The laser beam melts just the very top few surface molecules. The material cools instantly, and the surface finish stands out. This process is useful for marking nickel and gold parts for electronic assemblies.
Weld lasers create weld joints in materials like plastics, ceramics and metals. Weld lasers are high-powered, and operate similarly to milling machines.
American Wire EDM provides laser part marking services to customers in a wide range of industries, including:
History of Laser Part Marking
The same lasers that make it possible for people to see without glasses or contacts also make laser part marking possible. Laser technologies date back to the 1950s, when a Columbia University research scientist named Dr. Townes developed the first laser. Two scientists from the Soviet Union took his invention and made it capable of producing continuous output.
Since then, laser technologies have been continuously refined in tandem with the development of new and innovative uses for them. Mid-century scientists believed that the best use of lasers was for spectroscopy (the study of the interplay between electromagnetic radiation and matter), but since then, lasers have become integral to everything from eye surgeries to consumer products like DVD players.
The same innovations that led to the development of these uses for lasers also led to the development of laser part marking. Lasers are extremely efficient at carrying data, which is why laser part marking is so effective.
Contact American Wire EDM
By offering laser part marking, we’re able to provide comprehensive services to our customers. We can machine and label your parts, and guarantee on-time deliveries. Our competitive prices and 24-hour production capabilities will save you time and money. Take advantage of all we have to offer. Contact American Wire EDM today.