In the previous article, we explained the fundamental differences between laser marking and laser engraving, which are often wrongly confused. In marking, the laser melts the material through heat and modifies its shape to imprint a permanent code or mark.
Laser engraving, on the other hand, vaporizes the material. The laser beam penetrates deeper into the surface and removes the upper layers by sublimating them, or rather through a direct transition from solid to a gaseous state. This is because the laser hits localized areas with a high intensity of energy and therefore heat.
But how do I choose whether to mark or to engrave?
Now that we understand the difference between the two processes, let’s now define what are the main parameters that lead us to choose one over the other:
1 Marking resistance
Laser engraving penetrates the surface more deeply and is recommended for all those components that are at risk of wear due to the environmental conditions in which they will be set, or that are subjected to post-marking process surface treatments such as sandblasting, shot peening, e-coating or heat treatments
Marking is a process that takes less time than engraving, precisely because it penetrates the surface of the material less deeply. If the component is not subjected to a particular stress, such as with home appliances, electronic, promotional, and jewelry components, marking also guarantees speed mixed with the permanence of the result.
3 The material and its compatibility
As already explained, while marking dissolves the material by modifying its roughness, engraving sublimates the material by creating grooves. To do this, the laser must be powerful enough to vaporize the material in a few milliseconds and the material to be marked must have an adequate sublimation temperature, so deep engraving is not always possible.
When laser engraving occurs, it is important that the laser marker is equipped with a suitable exhaust system. LASIT has designed its exhaust fan, specifically designed to maximize the level of protection of both the environment and the laser itself.
Now that we have a more precise picture of the parameters that lead us to recommend one rather than the other process, it is time to find out about the 10 guidelines for choosing a good laser marker.