• August 17, 2022
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Laser Marking Technologies’ Guide to Laser Marking

Laser Marking Technologies’ Guide to Laser Marking

Presented by Laser Marking Technologies Australia

Laser marking utilises a relatively low power laser beam to apply a custom design to various surfaces such as parts, tools, medical devices, a broad range of metals, and plastics. Laser marking can easily generate clean barcodes, text, serial numbers, logos or any design requirements that can be uploaded to the software.

The laser applies the design onto the surface without degrading the attributes or conditions of the product’s material, unlike engraving or etching which removes and compromises the item’s original surface condition.

Laser is the least destructive marking option as etching melts the surface to create marks, while engraving removes material to create deep impressions and channels. Laser marking discolours the surface without altering or removing the material, as such it does not compromise the surface. Because of this feature, laser marking has become a popular method.

The industry has continued to evolve over the last 15 years, making fibre lasers more sophisticated and financially accessible to many industries for various applications. This rise in use can be attributed to fiber lasers winning reliability when compared to conventional YAG, CO2, YV04 and standard diode-pumped lasers. 

By eliminating the internal optics of conventional lasers, it also eliminates the need to align beam bending mirrors. This means that fibre lasers do not have internal optical contamination issues experienced by the conventional lasers—where contamination will cause the lenses to heat due to beam absorption, lead to a focal shift, loss of efficiency and eventual lens failure.

Long warm-up stabilising routines are eliminated with fibre lasers which means that a safety shutter and/or water-cooled beam dump is no longer required. Q-switched lasers depend on an RF source, an electro-mechanical transducer and an opto-acoustical crystal.

The MOPA (Master Oscillator Power Amplifier)

The MOPA (Master Oscillator Power Amplifier) is superior as the design utilises a seed laser and creates gains by switching sections of a monolithic fibre on and off. These sections are known to be saturable absorbers that hold a certain amount of energy and then must be discharged. The rate at which the fiber sections can be turned on and off is much greater than the rate at which an RF driver or Q-switched laser can be pulsed. This gives the MOPA configuration an advantage in certain applications where the exposed material requires much higher frequency pulses (as is the case with numerous plastics and certain metal finishes).

The beam Propagation Ratio is known as the M2. The closer the M2 value is to 1.1 or less, the higher the beam quality and the greater the energy density of the beam. The M2 value determines how small a beam waist can be focused, and the quality of the distribution of the beam. The result of these advancements has basically eliminated the need for required routine laser maintenance and the stocking of consumable items.

The Cobalt Dominator Series

The Cobalt Dominator series is an industry leading laser marking system. There are many available options for this stainless steel laser marking machine. Some of the options available include an automatic z-axis, a rotary axis, a conveyor, a turntable, an auto door and more. In addition, this machine also has removable side and bottom panels for larger part marking, making it one of the best laser engraving systems on the market.

An example of the Cobalt Dominator series in use. Source: Supplied.

Produced by Laser Marking Technologies in the USA, Laser Marking Technologies Australia is now stocking these outstanding machines and can discuss your requirements and provide effective solutions.

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