Guide to Understanding Laser Marking
What is laser marking and why is it important? The terms laser marking, laser engraving, and laser etching have become common in recent years. They are often used interchangeably to mean the same thing but they are different. The difference arises in the technical aspects. The degree of depth here is the key distinguishing mark. For nylon or plastic laser marking, the process is quite simple to understand. On one side is the plastic that needs engraving and the tool doing the engraving is a high-powered source of radiation. Lasers are commonly used here as they offer precision and are reusable over long periods of time.
When the high-energy laser hits the plastic, it supplies it with electromagnetic waves which are then converted to thermal energy at the surface of the material being engraved. This will lead to a reaction on the surface of the target piece of plastic. For plastics, the laser is usually set to frequencies that are close to the infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. This is the kind of wave that is normally associated with the transfer of radiant heat.
What are the details of the laser marking technique? The first reaction is charring or carbonization which causes the point of contact to darken. This is attributed to an accumulation of carbon particles at the point. The reaction that follows is a chemical change. The final reaction is what induces a color change. All these different steps can be achieved efficiently with the same laser. A few settings need to be changed to ensure that the steps are performed at energy levels that produce the best quality result. The speed, pulse cycle rate, and the power of the laser are some of the factors that are regulated to ensure optimum conditions for each step of the laser marking process.
All these steps are important and when done well the markings produced are sharp and durable. You should therefore choose a laser marking company that is experienced and knowledgeable. You should understand what their qualifications are and the experience they have in specific areas like laser additives. You should also understand their expertise in polymer and colorants, laser waveguide sources, and injection molding among others. An experienced laser marking company will be in compliance with all the regulations set.
A good laser marking company should be in a position to provide several related services to you. This will save on money and also time when you are looking for several solutions. Do they offer custom laser color match formulations and prototype samples? Finding a firm that can customize its laser marking services for you is golden. They should also offer analytical testing services. Other services will include adding vector graphics like your company logo and on-site problem-solving.
Laser marking is accompanied by technological innovation and finding a firm that will have state of the art equipment will mean that you get the best quality services. Now that you understand what laser marking entails, you can go ahead and look for a company that will help you achieve your goals.