In previous posts, we’ve highlighted the value of incorporating a laser system into your operations, especially when compared to other marking technologies.
One aspect that we haven’t explored much, though, is the color marking that is available from laser marking systems. If you have parts that you believe could benefit from a burst of color, laser engraving machines from TYKMA Electrox can be greatly beneficial.
Let’s take a look at how color laser engraving works, what it’s used for, and why TYKMA Electrox should be your source for color engraving machines.
What Is Color Laser Marking?
Color laser marking, or color laser engraving as it’s also known, is the process of adding color to an object that is being marked. “Marking” is the more apt term since engraving removes a portion of the material’s surface, creating a cavity, while marking merely “stains” the surface. You could, however, laser engrave a piece and then color laser mark it directly after.
Using color for laser marking or engraving allows you to expand your capabilities and provide more versatility in your product offerings, as well as alluring features for your customers.
Color laser engraving can essentially be broken down into two subsets, that of color laser engraving on metal and color laser marking on plastic.
Color Laser Marking on Plastics
As of this writing, color laser markings for plastics is still limited, but recently developed techniques may soon change that across the industry.
At present, plastic materials that are marked remain in the same color “family” as the original material, with variations in light and dark.
- For instance, a blue plastic material being marked will not be able to have a portion altered to be green, red, yellow, or other colors.
- Shade variations are possible, however, with dark plastics being changed to a lighter shade and light plastics being changed to a darker one.
As we discussed in our packaging industry post, though, a recent partnership has shown great potential in color laser marking plastics with different colors by way of laser-sensitive pigments and granules. We find this innovation fascinating and will certainly be keeping our eye on it.
Applicable materials for color marking plastic include:
- ABS plastics
- Polyethylene plastics
- Glass-filled plastics
- Various other plastics
Color Laser Engraving on Metals
Color engraving metal has more expansive capabilities and applications, with laser color marking stainless steel being particularly popular in a lot of industries.
This form of marking alters the surface layer of the material in question and can produce distinct colors on the piece.
Untreated, or raw, metal surfaces have a wide range of potential colors that can be marked on them, with the colors being produced by differences in laser frequencies, power, speed, focal distance, and more.
Applicable materials color marking metals include:
You can get a good look at color laser engraving on stainless steel in our video, where we add blue and red to an Ironbull Slinger bottle opener to give it a patriotic flair.
Applications for Color Laser Engraving
Companies have utilized color laser engraving and marking for diverse purposes, such as through:
- Personalizing products for customers
- Adding graphics, designs, and images to enhance a product
- Boosting their branding capabilities by marking a piece with their company colors
- Ornamenting craft metal works, watches, and jewelry
- Marking cell phones, cameras, and other electronics equipment
- Marking metal bathroom fittings to denote hot and cold water
- Marking parts for use in medical products, automobiles, aircraft, and more
- Marking firearms and knives for personalization
Of course, these are just some of the possibilities for color laser engraving. The sky’s really the limit and we’d love to help you get creative!
Choose TYKMA Electrox for Your Color Engraving Machine
Contact our team today so we can discuss options with you and find the perfect system for your color laser engraving needs!