CO2 Galvo Marking & Cutting
What is Laser Marking
Laser marking is a method for labeling various kinds of objects using a laser. The principle of laser marking is that a laser beam modifies the optical appearance of a surface that it hits. This can occur through a variety of mechanisms:
• ablation of material (laser engraving); sometimes removing some colored surface layer
• melting a metal, thus modifying the surface structure
• slight burning (carbonization) e.g. of paper, cardboard, wood, or polymers
• transformation (e.g. bleaching) of pigments (industrial laser additives) in a plastic material
• expansion of a polymer, if e.g. some additive is evaporated
• generation of surface structures such as small bubbles
Laser marking has a huge variety of applications:
- • adding part numbers, “use by” dates and the like on food packages, bottles, etc.
- • adding traceable information for quality control
- • marking printed circuit boards (PCBs), electronic components, and cables
- • printing logos, bar codes and other information on products
Compared with other marking technologies such as ink jet printing and mechanical marking, laser marking has a number of advantages, such as very high processing speeds, low operation cost (no use of consumables), constant high quality and durability of the results, avoiding contaminations, the ability to write very small features, and very high flexibility in automation.
Plastic materials, wood, cardboard, paper, leather and acrylic are often marked with relatively low-power CO2 lasers. For metallic surfaces, these lasers are less suitable due to the small absorption at their long wavelengths (around 10 μm); laser wavelengths e.g. in the 1-μm region, as can be obtained e.g. with Nd:YAG lasers or with fiber lasers, are more appropriate. Typical laser powers used for marking are of the order of 10 to 100 W. Shorter wavelengths such as 532 nm, such as obtained by frequency doubling of YAG or Fiber lasers, can be advantageous, for marking of metals like gold, which has too low absorption in the 1-μm spectral region, short laser wavelengths are essential.
At Vytek, we generally make a distinction between etching and marking, where etching is considered to "engrave" the surface so that it can be felt to the touch, while "marking" provides no surface change to the touch.
Information to help you decide which system best fits your needs
- What is Vector or Raster
- Wattage needed to cut
- Air or water cooled chiller
- Cut material larger than 4x4'
- Cut material smaller than 4x2'
- Fast, large format cutting
- Raster material smaller than 4'
- Fast, large format raster
- Do I need fume extraction
- Wattage needed to raster
- What is marking
- Galvo or Gantry
- Mark metal
- Mark wood
- Mark objects larger than 6x6"
- What software do I need
- Can I network the laser
- What about training?