If you sell any products made of metal, investing in a laser marking machine is a great way to strengthen your brand and give your merchandise a unique, professional look.
Marking your metal components with a part number also makes assembling large numbers of products much easier.
A laser marking machine can etch complicated designs in a matter of moments. They can take any design you make on the computer and replicate it with perfect accuracy.
When you make your purchase, be sure that you are buying a laser marking machine for metal. While some lasers etch into metal with ease, some can’t mark metal at all.
Read on to find out which laser marking machines are the best for metal!
Types of Lasers
Three types of lasers are commonly used on metal. Each of them comes with its own pros and cons, but all are a worthy choice depending on your situation.
Below you will find an overview of several types of lasers. For more in-depth information about lasers and metal, have a peek at this website.
If you are only interested in laser etching on metal, a fiber laser is the industry favorite. They can make marks directly on any metal without any pre-treatment on the metal.
They are also able to work at lightning-fast speeds. They can engrave the back of a watch in the blink of an eye.
Not only that, but can also do different types of etching.
Fiber lasers can use the annealing process as well as the ablating process. Annealing is when intense heat brings the carbon in the metal to the surface, creating a black mark without removing any material. This is preferential when the weight and strength of the metal need to be exact.
The ablating process is when some of the metal is removed, creating a three-dimensional groove in the surface of the metal. You would want this if you needed the mark to withstand years of weathering from the elements or prolonged use.
The only drawback with fiber lasers is that they are only good at marking metal. Any other type of material is likely to catch fire under the heat of the intense beams. And even if there is no fire, the marks won’t be accurate.
CO2 lasers are the most popular type of laser marking machine. They can make accurate marks on a huge range of materials including wood, glass, plastic, or even food.
They are also much less expensive than fiber lasers.
There are some drawbacks to CO2 lasers. They are not able to work as quickly as fiber lasers. They are also unable to etch untreated metal because the wavelength of their beams bounces off the surface of most metals.
However, you can coat your metal with a special spray that will allow a CO2 laser to make a permanent mark.
CO2 lasers are the way to go if you want to be able to etch on a wide range of materials and you don’t mind the extra step of giving your metals a special light-sensitive coating.
UV lasers are sort of a compromise between CO2 lasers and fiber lasers.
They can etch into untreated metal as well as wood, plastic, and other soft and organic materials.
However, they aren’t able to make marks that are a deep and accurate as those made by fiber and CO2 lasers.
If your main concern is making marks on as many types of surfaces as possible, UV lasers may be your best bet. But if high accuracy and deep etching are a must that you will need to look elsewhere.
The Best Laser Marking Machine for Metal
In terms of accuracy and power, fiber lasers are the best laser marking machine for metal.
However, they might not always be the right choice for your business. If you ever want to mark any type of surface besides metal, you may want to invest in a CO2 or UV laser.
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