Products across multiple industries must meet label compliance standards, prompting more manufacturers to leverage laser marking to improve product traceability.
Cutting-edge fiber laser marking and similar technologies now allow companies to literally make their mark on materials that would be difficult — if not impossible — to alter otherwise.
Unlike screen printing or hand engraving, tools such as the TYKMA Minilase™ XL can deliver precision graphics on stainless steel, aluminum, copper, titanium, and virtually any other material on the market.
Even food in supermarkets is being laser marked, as sticky labels, screen printing, and hand engraving techniques are being rapidly replaced in favor of precise and durable laser etching.
Laser Marking and Device Marking Services for Logos, Serial Numbers, and More
Laser marking uses a precision laser to create graphics or lettering on materials that may be too complex for screen printing or hand engraving.
Regulations for labeling require products across multiple industries to meet labeling standards, prompting more manufacturers to leverage laser marking to improve product traceability. Cutting-edge fiber laser marking and similar technologies allow companies to literally make their mark on materials that would be difficult, if not impossible, to alter otherwise.
Let’s look at how laser marking compares to laser engraving and some of the major benefits it delivers.
Laser Marking vs. Laser Engraving
Laser marking and laser engraving each have their place based on the material that must be labeled. Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, the techniques are actually quite different.
When simplified, the greatest difference between the two is that laser marking creates a mark on the material surface, while engraving removes material to create a mark. Each procedure has its own unique advantages and disadvantages, depending on the materials being used and the quality requirements.
Laser marking uses a focused beam of light to change the surface of an item, creating an identifiable color change in the form of the desired pattern. Implementing certain additives in the material or coating of an item can change the appearance of the mark that is left. Laser marking is commonly used to mark medical products for identification and traceability. It is the preferred method for device marking in the medical industry because of its permanence and its ability to mark irregular surfaces.
Laser engraving, on the other hand, is a process of vaporization using a focused laser beam to cut into the given material. When the laser interacts with the surface, the vaporization removes a layer, creating a cavity that is able to be seen and felt. Skilled engineers can control the quantity of material removed to create a precise engraving. As an application example, the military and defense sector often uses laser engraving to mark parts and inventory for service, inspection, and tracking.
The Advantages of Laser Marking
Laser marking for logos and serial numbers offers many advantages over screen printing and label stickers, including:
- – Durability — Marks are fade-proof, water-resistant, and impervious to temperature extremes, allowing for reliable product traceability and eye-catching branding. Laser marks do not run or become distorted over time.
- – Precision — Powerful laser technology delivers smoother, enhanced marking and can be applied to a wide range of materials.
- – Versatility — Virtually any material can be laser marked, even oranges, allowing for reduced waste — especially important as today’s consumers become more environmentally conscious.
- – Repeatability — The highly repeatable operations offered by laser-etching tools allow for fast project turnaround and consistent, aesthetically pleasing appearance.
Laser marking can be used to mark your logo onto a part, like this pre-galvanized steel component used in a snowboard roof rack.
Use laser marking to add bar codes for easy tracking and traceability.
Examples of Laser-Marked Products
While the possibilities of laser marking seem virtually limitless, some applications are already benefiting greatly from this versatile technology. Below are a few key examples.
- – Part marking tooling components
- – Marking medical tools and devices with FDA information
- – Marking medical instruments with specific guidelines and capabilities
- – Applying aesthetic features and custom graphics for consumer product and architectural design industries
- – Etching critical mechanical components with traceable details such as part properties, batch numbers, and production data
- – Applying permanent identification to regulated items such as small weapons and firearms, as required by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Laser Marking with a One-Stop Shop
At ESI, we’re fully committed to continual improvement in everything we do, and aim to provide our clients with the most cutting-edge, reliable services available. We’re proud to announce the addition of in-house laser engraver and marker equipment, further bolstering our diverse service offerings for all stamped and machined projects.
To learn more about this versatile technology and how it can help with your next project, visit our laser marking page, or contact the team today.