As industry experts know, laser engraving involves the use of laser beams to engrave the surface of a chosen material. Throughout the process, the beam vaporizes the materials into fumes, leaving behind a clear and high-contrast mark.
In this post, we offer a 2024 Q&A about laser engraving, as our team understands you may have some more detailed questions about the process, its applications, preferred systems, and more. Read on for insights about the industry.
What Are the Benefits of Laser Engraving?
When using a laser marking workstation, benefits include precision, a variety of applicable materials, and its use across numerous industries. During the process of laser engraving, the laser beam removes a small amount of material from the surface, creating an indent or cavity. This results in markings that are more noticeable and long-lasting, which can be an important factor for industries that need clear and legible identification, such as manufacturing.
Ultimately, laser engraving is the go-to method when there’s a need for a pronounced, visible mark on your product. This includes common applications like creating text, images, or brand designs that need to stand out on the material.
Additionally, since laser engraving removes a small amount of material, it’s a suitable choice for a diverse array of materials, like wood, metal, and plastic.
Why Is Laser Engraving Preferred Over Laser Marking or Etching?
While laser marking and laser etching are great ways to achieve long-lasting marks on a variety of surfaces, there are certain instances where laser engraving is going to be the best option for you. So, when determining which technique is right for your application, know that some benefits of laser engraving include the following:
- Deep, high-contrast engravings – Laser engraving achieves a deeper, more pronounced mark on the material than other processes because it vaporizes layers of the surface being marked, resulting in a high-contrast result you can both see and feel.
- The ability to mark on textured materials – Certain materials with more inconsistent textures, like wood or leather, can make it harder to create a clean mark on the surface. However, when configured correctly, laser engraving machines have the capability of creating lasting designs on these materials and can even work on uneven surfaces.
- Engravings that last a lifetime – By removing a small amount of the material’s surface, laser engraving creates permanent, intricate designs that will last through harsh elements, inclement weather, or ongoing wear and tear.
What Does the Process of Laser Engraving Look Like in 2024?
While technology continues to evolve with time, here is a current, generalized process for laser engraving diverse materials:
- Create a digital design or file that specifies the pattern, design, text, or image you want to be engraved.
- Prepare the file in a way that is compatible with your laser engraving machine.
- Collect the product that you want to engrave. Remember that this process works best on items like wood, metal, plastic, leather, and more.
- Configure the laser’s parameters to the specific material you are working with. This includes selecting the proper focus, laser power, and engraving speed.
- Calibrate the laser engraving machine for accurate engraving. This can include adjusting the settings to ensure that you’re getting the desired engraving depth and effect.
- Implement safety measures like wearing protective eyewear and following ventilation protocols. Laser engraving machines can cause skin and eye damage, so proper protection is key. Each laser is given a grade on a scale of Class 1 to Class 4. It is important to know where your laser engraving system falls on this scale and follow the safety precautions established for that class of laser.
- Start the engraving process, which will follow the digital design you provide. You’ll start to notice that the laser removes some of the material from the surface.
- Inspect the engraving quality once it’s complete. Be sure to look for inconsistencies or defects and address them accordingly. Then, practice post-processing activities like cleaning, polishing, or coating your product.
- Take the next steps with your finalized item. Whether you create barcodes, serial numbers, brand logos, or designs, your product is going to have a mark that lasts throughout its lifetime.
What Industries Use Laser Engraving?
Laser engraving is an appropriate solution for any individual or company who is looking to create long-lasting marks on their equipment, products, and more. Here is a list of some of the industries that have benefitted from using our machines:
What Are the Top Laser Engraving Systems of 2024?
Laser engraving is performed using a fiber laser or CO2 laser. These systems are used because they have enough energy to vaporize and remove material from the surface of an object in a controlled and precise way. With that in mind, here are just some of our preferred machines for laser engraving:
- Scorpion Integration Fiber Laser Marking System – The Scorpion Integration Fiber Laser is ideal for integration into production cells or automated workstations. This system is a very flexible fiber laser system and doesn’t need an external control PC.
- Zetalase™ Duo Dial Index Laser Marking System – This machine is designed for high-volume production and features a two-position index table that provides maximum laser engraving throughput.
- LaserGear QUBE Laser Marking System – The QUBE is an entry-level Class 4 fiber laser. It’s ideal for integration into production lines or can be used in an open environment depending on your project goals.
- EMS400 XYZ Laser Marking System – This laser engraving system is a full-size, floor-standing system that is perfect for marking large components in multiple locations.
What Materials Should I Avoid When Laser Engraving?
Laser engraving is versatile enough to be performed on a wide variety of materials. However, even with the advanced technology we have available in 2024, laser engraving isn’t the best solution for every project. That’s because certain materials can produce toxic gases and carcinogens, which can negatively impact the safety of those operating the machine.
To keep yourself, as well as those around you, safe while still achieving the best results on your marked products, here are some materials you’d want to avoid when laser engraving:
- Materials containing halogens, epoxy, or resins
- Carbon fibers
- Artificial leather
Allow TYKMA Electrox to Be Your Laser Engraving System Supplier in 2024
TYKMA Electrox has over 65 years of combined experience in supplying the best laser marking, frosting, etching, foaming, and engraving systems in the industry. Our workstations are manufactured at our headquarters in Chillicothe, Ohio and distributed to a global network of satisfied customers. Regardless of your industry or application, we have unrivaled systems that can be used to engrave a variety of objects with ease and efficiency.
To date, we have installed over 10,000 systems, and we can’t wait to see how else companies can benefit from our products in the future. We offer 24/7 technical support, preventative maintenance packages for upkeep, and training, startup, and installation services.
Contact TYKMA Electrox Today
Be sure to contact us today for more information on our systems or for insights on the industry! We look forward to helping you in any way we can.