Processes like laser etching or laser marking may sound synonymous with laser engraving. However, they are actually distinctly different methods. And there are reasons to opt for one over the other.
Laser Marking: This method uses a slow moving beam to discolor metal materials. High contrast marks are made that can be clearly detected and read but without disruption of the material’s surface. This process oxidizes the metal where the laser makes contact, thus blackening that part of the metal’s surface. This is a common method for marking medical devices with codes, logos and other identification information.
Laser Etching: This is considered a variation of laser engraving. Rather than cut into the metal surface, the beam melts the surface in the pattern it creates. As the melted material melts, it expands. This expansion creates a raised surface. The final product is 3-dimensional. This is the perfect method to use when creating signage using Braille language.
Laser Engraving: This is the most popular method of using lasers to permanently mark a variety of materials. Lasers have been used to inscribe information onto materials like leather and glass as well as metals. The beam removes material as it travels across the surface in the designated pattern. The extreme heat of the laser vaporizes the material. This results in a crisp appearance to the eye and a smooth texture to the touch. This is the fastest laser marking method currently available and the most common technique in use. As for products with very little surface area to work with, like a timepiece battery, it is possible to mark even a tiny product with necessary information that is highly legible.
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