Dispelling myths about laser marking

laser marking

Dispelling myths about laser marking

Due to their versatility and reliability, as well as increasing regulations about part and product identification for traceability, laser marking systems are now being widely used in a broad range of industries including automotive, aerospace, military and defence, medical and electronics. However, there is still the perception that laser marking equipment is expensive, complex and dangerous.

John Grainger, Needham Coding’s Operations Director addresses each of those myths below.

Needham Coding - John Grainge

Laser marking systems are expensive

Laser marking is now a cost-effective way to permanently mark components, products or parts. Laser marking systems do not use consumables such as inks, neither do they include any consumable or replacement parts associated with more traditional methods such as chemical etching and dot-peening. As a result, the major benefits of using a laser-based system is the low cost of operation, cleanliness and speed.

Purchase price very much depends on the type of laser marking system being used and the application. Whether Fiber, YAG or CO2, it is important to consider the speed, reliability and accuracy of each technology in relation to the application when evaluating cost and value for money. Fiber laser systems are becoming increasingly popular due to their high functionality, affordability and working life of the laser components. However, CO2 lasers are almost always far cheaper than older YAG and newer Fiber models.

A major advantage of fiber laser machines compared to YAG or CO2 based units is the low energy consumption. In fact, some fiber models are ten times more efficient than traditional YAG units which generate a lot of heat. More of an effect can be achieved at a fraction of the power which reduces energy costs as well as lowering impact on the environment. Fiber units are designed using low power consumption components, which maximises energy efficiency and savings.

Laser marking systems are complicated

Many of today’s fiber units are compact, desktop systems that are extremely easy to operate and can be delivered fully assembled in the box. These can simply be unpacked, plugged in and programmed within a few minutes. The days of changing lamps, complex alignments and water cooling are long gone. Built for longevity and flexibility, the latest fiber laser models are air cooled, solid state and virtually maintenance free.

Our MiniLase™ Pro SE laser marking software automatically detects the laser marking system through the USB connection ready for programming. New projects can be quickly created from almost any graphic format so fonts can be dropped in for text, barcodes and data-matrix codes. It means our fiber systems offer compatibility with the most commonly used file formats, whilst also providing preset parameters for a very wide range of materials.

All marks can be automated to speed up production and our fiber lasers are available with interfaces that allow them to work independently without the need to use the main programming page. This eliminates operator error and guarantees a repeatable mark.

Laser marking systems are dangerous

Laser marking systems are graded by class. Most of our fiber laser marking models are class 1 in full compliance with CFR 1040 which makes them as safe to use as a CD player. All parts are fully interlocking which means a machine will not operate unless closed and ensuring no laser light emissions. Laser interaction with some materials can create fumes / particles but the use of fume extraction equipment minimises smoke, fumes or dust that can be created during the marking, etching or engraving process. Safety equipment needs to be used with class IV laser marking machines.

Needham Coding offers a wide range of Fiber, YAG and CO2 laser marking systems – backed by 27/7 service and support.

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