The imposed government and industrial regulations have led to the improved process of laser marking, etching, and engraving. The regulations have increased the production of authentic and distinct products and parts. However, the question remains, how do you tell their differences? The truth is, each marking, etching, and engraving is different from the other. Mostly, people confuse these terms for the other. Even so, they differ in every aspect hence makes them effective for their functionality.
Laser Marking Process
Laser marking entails the interaction between the beam and a surface of a material. The relationship alters the materials appearance and its properties.
It is the markings obtained after gently passing a low-powered beam across the material. The method is known as discoloration. The method leaves highly different marks while the material remains uninterrupted. The laser heats up the material until it attains a black color. The color is as a result of oxidation. After heating, the material is cooled at low temperatures to effect in the annealing process. With all these processes, the surface is not damaged. It is left intact.
Laser marking distinguishes itself from engraving and etching. Laser marking services are hard to get since fewer places offer the services. It has earned itself a couple of names such as; laser coloration, Laser dark making, charring for plastic materials and annealing for metals. Laser marking comes along in four different types;
• Carbon migration
Applications of Laser Marking:
• It is commonly performed on medical devices for stainless steel and titanium parts.
• Also, laser making is effective in bar coding, UID coding, QR code, and logos.
The Laser Engraving Process
It entails a laser beam coming into contact with a material and digs up its surface to expose a cavity. The cavity acts as an identification for the eye level.
When the laser beam comes into contact with the material, it heats up and vaporizes the material. The process is fast, and as the heated material evaporates, it leaves a carve on the surface. The carve is noticeable by sight and can be felt in touch. For deeper marks, you can continue heating up the material to produce a masterpiece. Even though laser engraving gets categorized under laser marking, engraving stands out in its ways.
There are three distinct types of laser engraving;
• Deep laser engraving
• Laser ablation
The three differs by the nature of the surface they create and by the amount of surface removed during engraving. Laser engraving thrills people who want something more customized to suit their needs. However, it is not the best choice when making critical safety parts. You can engrave to a depth of 0.020 in metals and 0.125 on graphite. Laser engraving is the quickest way used to mark with a laser. It is efficient in making parts that will withstand tearing out. Laser engraving can be performed in almost any type of metal, plastic, wood, leather or even glass surface. It serves to inscribe serial numbers and logos.
Comparison between laser engraving and traditional engraving:
• Laser engraving can be performed on many different materials.
• It is legible when inscribing on small objects such as jewelry, unlike traditional engraving.
• You make your choice on the font you want to use.
• Product damage or deformation gets minimized with laser engraving
• Laser engraving machines deliver fast, unlike traditional methods.
The Laser Etching Process
Laser etching falls under laser engraving. It entails melting the surface of a material using the heat from the beam laser. The heat causes the expansion of the heated material, and it forms a raised mark. With laser etching, you can only engrave to a depth of 0.00.
Laser etching differs from marking and engraving in that;
• It engraves 0.001 or even less on the material
• It can get performed on bare, plated metal surfaces polymers or even ceramics.
What is a Laser?
A ‘laser’ is an abbreviation for; Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. For many years now, the use of lasers has bloomed in many companies. When creating a laser, you excite an atom. By this, you raise its energy level, and it easily releases light as they return to their ground state.
What is a Laser Doing?
A laser amplifies light. Once the atoms release light, the light gets amplified to create a focal point. As the particles move, they make a weak light which gets concentrated as more energy piles. Laser exhibit light rays that have the same wavelength and consistency. Thus, making the lights so powerful.
Who User Lasers?
A laser has many functions in the today’s settings. Lasers are useful in many industries including;
• Spinal implant
• Industrial and ornamentation
• Medical field
• Military and defense sector
• Oil and gas industries, among others
In every industry, the application of lasers may vary depending on the need.
Why Use Laser Marking, Engraving and Etching in Your Business?
In every business either aerospace, automotive, electronic and others, lasers serve to give identity to different parts. Laws and regulations have been enacted to oversee the identification. Therefore, reducing mistakes and enhancing part safety.
What are Laws?
In medical device industry, Food and Drug Administration passed a rule that manufacturers should include a unique device identifier(UDI) on device labels and packages. The rules were to enacted except where the law gives an alternative.
Lasers have an alphanumeric code that has two parts; device identifier (DI) and a production identifier(PI). The DI sheds some light on the labeler and the type of the device. On the other hand, the PI identifies the serial number, expiring date and the precise identification required for a human cell, tissue, cellular and tissue-based products regulated as a device. Part traceability relates to that used by automotive and aerospace part manufacturers. In aerospace, engines, propellers, and other replacement parts contain a registration and identification mark. Federal Aviation Administration dictates the information to include. Either manufactures name or the model designation.
Why is Part Traceability Important?
Any device or part either in the medical, automotive or aerospace industries is designed to increase safety for all regions. Example, in the automotive sector, part traceability serves to improve security and reliance on the vehicles. If any component fails, it is easier to contact the manufacturer for instructions and relevant information.