The laser marking field is one that is committed to evolution and innovation, leading to a variety of emergent laser marking trends. With everything from new technologies to new marking methodologies to new sectors making use of the equipment, the laser marking field is continuing to develop in exciting ways.
Let’s examine some of the more recent laser marking innovations and where the field is heading next.
UV Lasers, Green Lasers, and Femtosecond Lasers
Over the last number of years, various laser marking technologies have been developed that have advanced the field, including UV lasers, green lasers, and femtosecond lasers. The following is a breakdown on these laser engraving machine trends.
UV lasers, named for the ultraviolet wavelengths they utilize, operate within a space of 200 nm and 389 nm, with 355 nm being fairly standard. Due to the highly absorptive properties of these short wavelengths, UV lasers can supply what is referred to as “cold marking” for operators.
Cold marking does not allow excessive heat stress to affect materials that are being marked, particularly highly reflective ones such as gold, silver, and copper. This cold marking has been adopted for electronic chip marking, glass scribing, polyethylene marking, and other applications.
Green lasers, meanwhile, also can engage in cold marking, though their wavelength differs, often being around 530 nm. This wavelength puts them on the visible spectrum unlike other lasers, and they are named for their green hue. Both green lasers and UV lasers are also adept at marking certain kinds of plastics that other lasers are unable to.
When it comes to femtosecond lasers, these are lasers that are defined by their pulse durations rather than their wavelengths. Lasers operate with either a continuous beam or a sequence of pulses to accomplish their tasks. Femtosecond lasers fall under the category of “ultrafast lasers,” emitting their pulse durations from a few to hundreds of femtoseconds.
The rapidity of these pulses gives the machines they operate within higher peak powers much greater than what is possible via continuous wave lasers. This in turn reduces thermal damage to the material being marked, evaporating the chosen material without affecting the area around it, better facilitating the marking of sensitive materials.
AI Fueling Laser Marking Innovations
Another key laser marking machine trend is the emergence of AI and its ongoing adoption into varied applications. One such application has been to use AI to better determine and control the parameters of laser marking, facilitating more reliable color laser marking.
Previously, laser operators needed to manually edit process parameters as part of trial and error to attain the correct color they were going for. AI, however, offers the opportunity to better control the color range in a more exact and automated way.
Other applications underway include using AI as part of voice commands for laser marking system operation, as well as to identify and position parts for marking.
Yet another fascinating laser marking trend is the use of quantum dots for marking. Researchers have begun to experiment with quantum dots, which are small semiconductor particles which can emit light when they have been exposed to a laser.
These dots can in turn provide a greater resolution in marking, as well as more vibrant colors on a final piece, opening up a host of branding and personalization opportunities for companies.
Increased Usage in Key Industries
As laser marking technologies have developed, so have their uses in varied fields, with many industries not only coming to adopt laser marking and engraving into their operations, but relying on them.
Some of the areas that have seen growing demand for laser marking and engraving systems include:
These, of course, are alongside fields such as manufacturing, aerospace, automotive, defense, medical, and many more that have been utilizing laser engraving methodologies for years. We look forward to new industries adopting the technology, finding innovative solutions for their products and applications, and pioneering further uses for industries yet to come.
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