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What You Must Know About Laser Engraving

 

 

 

For the engraving industry, CO2 lasers, named for the gasses used to create the light source, are the tools of choice. There are a variety of advantages to using a laser over other methods of engraving; first of all, because the tool is a beam of light, there is no product contact, which translates into less chance of product damage or deformation. It didn't take long for the engraving industry to notice lasers and soon lasers were being used for a wide variety of industrial applications including welding, heat-treating, etching and engraving.

 

It was in the early 1960's when scientists first discovered, that they could create a light source, focus the energy and have a tool powerful enough to affect certain materials. The name of the light source - LASER, is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Sometimes laser marking is referred to as laser etching; unlike conventional etching, laser etching needs no masks or chemicals.

 

Laser etching is basically just another name for laser engraving. Almost all materials can be laser engraved/laser marked.

 

A laser works well for cutting acrylic (Plexiglas), PETG, thin polycarbonates (Mylar), styrene expanded PVC (Sintra), wood, paper and fabric. Laser etching provides a permanent message on an in-process or finished component. Laser cutting adds high precision, reduced contamination or warping, and a quality finish to industrial cutting applications.

 

Laser etching is the process of marking the material without cutting all the way through using reduced power. Laser etching can be done on many materials including slate, granite, stainless steel, leather, arborite, glass, mirrors, and premium hard woods.

 

Laser marking is also favored when the part to be marked is too small or has too complex a shape to be marked with anything but laser etching. Laser marking services can be used for many thousands of applications from computer keyboards to special promotional gifts. Some of the items that Co2 lasers and Co2 laser systems can be utilized for regarding laser marking and etching glass or quartz are float glass plants, manufacturing of glass doors and windows, permanent serial numbering, ANSI safety information, customer logos, decorative or specialty glass manufacturing, manufacturing data related to plant, production date and line, and/or part numbers.

 

Laser marking of glass by Co2 lasers on the fly or while moving can be an excellent addition for many industrial environments and applications for glass marking. Laser marking is flexible, programmable and environmentally clean. Co2 lasers can provide excellent results for marking glass and also provide significant reductions in operating costs and cost of supplies.

 

There are no consumables so operating costs are minimal, and the laser system, if properly exhausted, runs clean, so that costly cleanup or by product disposal is unnecessary. Laser engraving metal uses the most power especially if the metal is of the harder type.

 

Of the many items being laser engraved today, iPods and laptops rank among the highest in the consumer marketplace. Also laser engraving services are available in most engraving specialty stores because it's now the most common type of engraving. Laser machines and systems are used in a variety of applications and industries including medical device, aerospace, manufacturing, automotive, pharmaceutical, and electronic.

 

copyright©2007 J. Johanson  All Rights Reserved.  No permission is given to copy or repirnt this article in any way.