Laser part marking technology is becoming more and more important in all realms of manufacturing, from automotive to aerospace and medical industries. This is because of the growing demand from manufacturers and federal regulations to be able to track and trace products throughout their lifecycle.
One of the most common questions we get is “How do I choose the right marking technology for my application?” The truth is, marking and engraving technology is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and there are a number of factors that go into choosing the best solution for your application.
So, before you invest in marking equipment for your plant, here are three main considerations to help you in choosing the best laser technology:
Your first consideration is the type of material you’re going to be marking. We like to break materials down into two main classifications: Organic or non-organic.
Organic materials are those like wood, glass, plastic or paper products. Metals, steel, cast aluminum—anything that will spark when you put it into a microwave (although we don’t recommend doing that!)—is considered non-organic material.
2. Type of Mark
Now that you’ve determined your material, what do you want the mark to look like? Are you looking for deep marks? Do you want more contrast in your marks?
Depending on the type of marking technology, you can create either a dark or a frosted mark. For instance, if you’re doing barcode technology and struggling with your vision systems’ ability to read the code, you’d want to use frosted backgrounds and dark marks. It’s all about your particular situation and how you want your final product to look.
3. Safety Considerations
Think about where your engraving machine is going to be placed. Will it be on the plant floor near operators, or do you have a dedicated, enclosed space for it? Will this machine be replacing another type of technology such as ink jet?
You should know that if your laser marker will be located on an open shop floor, your laser supplier should help you install a Class I laser safety system. This includes a laser-safe enclosure and warning lights, curtains to form safe entryways and other safety considerations. You can also opt for a laser workstation that includes a Class I safety enclosure and laser source in one compact unit.
If you have a Class IV laser, you would need a dedicated room that meets certain safety conditions, such as area posting, protective eyewear and a key switch so that it still meets safety requirements.
WHEN TO GO WITH CO2 LASERS
The CO2 laser technology is an easy-to-use technology ideal for creating long-lasting and high-quality engravings on thick organic materials (larger than 5mm). Machines using the technology usually have sealed-tube laser marking systems with galvo-steered beams of about 10,600nm that deliver a non-contrast mark. Therefore, it is the perfect option to replace other marking technologies like dot pen and inkjet when working with non-metals.
The CO2 laser markers are the oldest laser technology, and they do not require much maintenance. Therefore, they have lowers expenses. They also have fast processing, which improves their productivity. They are applicable in marking polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes, mobile communication devices, building materials, and food and pharmaceutical packaging.
In general, if you want to mark product information on organic materials and looking for a non-contrast mark, you may be looking for a CO2 Laser making technology. With a wavelength of 10.6 microns, it is generally safe to use in an open floor situation with Plexiglas shielding. A CO2 marking machine is a good solution in situations when you’re replacing other marking technologies, such as ink jet, dot peen or labeling.
Application: CO2 lasers produce high-quality marks on rubber, wood, cardboard, plastics, glass, and product packaging. They are a cost-effective alternative for marking the date, codes, serial numbers, and other product identification.
WHEN TO GO WITH FIBER LASERS
On the other hand, if you’re marking non-organic materials like metal or plastic and want contrast in your mark, fiber laser marking technology may be the best choice for your application. Fiber lasers, at 1-micron wavelength, must be in a separate room or enclosure with doors and must also follow the CDRH (Center for Devices and Radiological Health) safety considerations to make sure anyone working around it is safe.
Fiber laser technology is suitable for engraving materials like metals, rubbers, and plastics due to its high wavelength (780nm to 2200nm). The high wavelength makes it a suitable technology for permanent and difficult to remove markings. Moreover, the markings are of great quality. Therefore, laser engraving, cutting, and annealing are best with fiber lasers.
Fiber lasers possess a very negligible focal diameter. This makes them excellent, especially for permanently marking identification numbers, barcodes, and linear barcodes on metal.
Bottom line: The technology is suitable for graphics, identification numbers, 2D Data matrix, and barcode marking on different materials. These include metals, ceramics, and plastics.
Application: Fiber mark lasers offer a wide range of capabilities and produce a high-quality mark to engrave serial numbers, bar codes, 2D Data Matrix and graphics on the widest variety of materials, including metals, plastics and ceramics.
The Last but not the least, which type of laser machine i can choose from Cloudray?
(The configurations and marking effect display in this Guide is only applied to products on www.cloudraylser.com, not applied to products on any third-party shopping platforms, and only offer direct after-sale service and tech support for orders directly on www.cloudraylser.com too)
Features of Cloudray Each Series：
MP Series: Mopa (Anodized Aluminum Black Marking; Titanium & Stainless Steel Color Marking)
AR Series: 2.5D Deep Engraving with Electrical Lifting Column, better in engraving
QS Series:Q-switched pulse laser (large single pulse energy for deep marking)
EC Series: CO2 Laser Machine, widely used for DIY of Non-metal materials
CF Series:New Cloudray Integrated Control Card, Touchscreen,suitable for beginners in DIY metal materials
1.If you are new at this industry, want to explore more, we recommend that you can start your exploration with our QS Series as it is cost-effective, afforable price for laser machine (suitable for someone with limited budget)
2. If you are DIY seller, just need one laser machine for simple DIY (marking on common metals （such as Aluminum, Silver, Copper, Stainless Steel, Brass, Titanium, Tungsten）with color marking, NOT requires complex design in software in pattern of marking, CF Series will be suitable for you as its operating system is easy for new beginners and can keep data instantly even in the event of a sudden power outage.(Notification: CF Seris didn't support ezcard or lightburn, it has its own operating system,while our system are keeping upgrading, it can be compitable with Lightburn later,we are working on it now)
3.If you are familar with laser machine, and want to search functional one to start your own small business, if for DIY of metal materials and with require of color marking, we recommend MP Series (If don'e need multi-color marking, QS Series will also be okay).
4. If you requires deep engraving,2.5d deep engraving and common marking are important to your requirements, we recommend to choose AR Series.
5. If you are searching for laser machine for marking or engraving on non-metal materials( bamboo, coconut shell, paper, plexiglass, PCB board, acrylic,rubber, marble, granite, jade, crystal, leather, fabric and so on the vast majority of non-metallic materials), EC Series will be the best choice.