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How Laser Marking Can Be Used to Create Lasting Impressions

Posted on: July 14th, 2021 by BiznetDigital No Comments

Has your company struggled to create labels or barcodes that last for decades? Is it difficult to maintain part traceability with your current marking system? And how important is it that you’re able to read your mark long into the distant future? If part traceability, readability, and graphic clarity are priorities, laser marking might be the right strategy for you. And the following paragraphs will tell you how laser marking can be used to create lasting impressions. 

Creating Lasting Impressions

While some marking processes involve adding ink or etching designs into a material, laser marking targets the surface of the material, itself, in order to produce a design. By creating an oxide layer, manufacturers can make an adjustment in a material’s hue in order to develop contrast. From a long-term perspective, this type of logo or design is much more likely to withstand erosion, which is why the laser marking process is commonly used in the automotive and medical industry.

How Laser Marking Compares to Other Processes

When marking a product, manufacturers might use a number of different processes to yield their desired result. Electro-chemical marking, silk-screen marking, vibro-etch marking, and laser marking are commonly used in applications that require designs and traceability. But each of these processes have their strengths and weaknesses. Electro-chemical marking, for example, although cost-efficient, is much more likely to produce low-quality marks than some of the other marking methods. Laser marking is among the most effective methods used to create designs because of its ability to produce long-lasting high-contrast marks. But it’s also a terrific pick because it can be used on parts with intricate shapes. 

Using Laser Marking for Medical Applications

When it comes to medical marking, laser marking is one of the best marking options because of its ability to maintain the integrity of a material after it has been marked. Both the FDA (Federal Drug Association) and the EMDR (European Medical Device Regulation) require surgical instruments to feature marks on their bodies. 

And laser marking systems are the most popular tools that are used to create those marks for a number of different reasons. Not only does it help to prevent bacterial growth in medical instruments, it’s also great at delivering permanent contrast marks. 

In medical marking, studies have shown that high-contrast codes can withstand over 500 cleaning cycles with little wear. These marking methods can also help to prevent normal fading that takes place over the course of time, and corrosion. This makes surgical instruments as reliable as they can be while also creating traceability. 

When specific laser parameters are used to create the desired design, manufacturers can expect that design to withstand basic wear and tear. Because of laser marking’s ability to create timeless features, it’s often used as the number one industry pick in the automotive and medical fields. 

Here at Laser Marking Technologies, clients have access to a full range of laser types. Get in touch with us today to explore long-lasting processes like laser ablation, marking, engraving and etching, annealing, and full color laser engraving.

Lasers are More Scalable than any Other Parts Marking Method — Here’s Why

Posted on: August 19th, 2020 by BiznetDigital No Comments

Lasers are the top dogs when it comes to parts marking and parts traceability. They are accurate, stable, quick, and flexible. But one major benefit of laser marking? Scalability. Not only are the lasers themselves customizable, but they can be modified for your unique needs. Here are just a few ways,  but there’s many more! 

Customized Markings

For companies that have an array of products and materials that need to be marked, lasers are the ideal choice. Most everything about laser marking machines can be modified including their power output, speed, and other settings. The strength of the laser can also be adjusted for mark depth and can be used on a variety of materials, including:

  • Steel, copper, iron, nickel, aluminum, brass and more
  • Silicon
  • Gemstones (including diamonds)
  • Plastics
  • Polymers
  • Ceramics
  • Thin films 
  • Brick / concrete

Upgrading Machine Components

Lasers can be programmed and upgraded with ease. There are endless options for automation and modified systems including conveyors, rotary turntables, and robotics.

Conveyor Systems

Conveyor belts are one of our many component upgrade options. With this type of system, parts or bundles of parts must be positioned accurately. However, our laser sensor recognizes part presence and ensures exact repeatable placement. Conveyor laser marking are best for situations when:

  • A conveyor is already in use
  • Large parts can be stopped during marking 
  • The marking is on a flat or irregular surface 

Upgrading Machine Components

Rotary Turntables

Rotary turntables can be installed in situations where cycle time is limited and marking time must be optimized. Our lasers include ezcard rotary setup so rotary marking is simple. Other applications for rotary turntables include:

  • Part-to-part traceability inline within a harsh environment
  • Parts that must be marked at high temperature or withstand shotblasting 
  • When it must accommodate an existing production line

Robotics

Integrating robotics into laser systems improves precision and flexibility. It also reduces human error, as it requires less manual material handling. Robotics are best in situations when:

  • Parts are on a pallet or in an array. Robotics can aid in throughout for pickup processes 
  • There are multiple areas on a part that need marking. Robotics can rotate or reorient the part 
  • Robotics will help reduce labor costs

At Laser Marking Technologies, we’ve developed hundreds of custom fiber laser systems for part manufacturers and businesses. We have standard systems that are designed to grow with you. This means you can begin with a simple marking system and scale up to programmable auto Z axis, rotaries, turn table and many other options. Your machine can grow as your company’s demand increases.

If you’re in need of a custom configuration, or would simply like to learn more about how fiber lasers can work for you, please give us call. We’re happy to help in any way we can. 

How do Fiber Lasers Work?

Posted on: August 19th, 2020 by BiznetDigital No Comments

When it comes to parts traceability and laser etching, few methods compare to fiber lasers. Over the past decade or so, fiber laser technology has seen great improvements: the systems are easy to use, require little maintenance, and are more versatile than any other marking method. While the operator experience has simplified, the lasers themselves have become increasingly more complex. So, here’s a short introduction to fiber lasers and how they work. 

What is a “Fiber” Laser?

Scientifically speaking, a fiber laser is a “is a laser in which the active gain medium is an optical fiber doped with rare-earth elements such as erbium, ytterbium, neodymium, dysprosium, praseodymium, thulium and holmium” (cited here). According to businesswire.com, “banks of diodes” create fiber laser light that is then amplified through a fiber optic cable. As the light “exits” the cable, it is straightened and focused with a lens on the material. 

Why Fiber Lasers?

Traditionally, gasses, like oxygen and CO2, have been used as a “cutting” medium, but fiber lasers have proven more efficient. According to businesswire.com, they are 200% more efficient than CO2 lasers. This is because instead of gas, fiber lasers use a normal optical fiber made of silica glass. That fiber is then “doped” with traces of the rare-earth elements mentioned above. When photons are emitted, they are contained within the doped fiber core and emitted in a single coherent direction. 

This “containment of photons” sets fiber lasers apart from other parts marking methods because it allows for one important thing: stability. The beam generates from inside its core, so transferring it to a surface doesn’t require sensitive optical equipment. Therefore, complex internal beam alignments are eliminated. 

Typical Uses of Fiber Laser Etching

Fiber lasers are used in a variety of industries. These lasers are extremely versatile and can be delicate enough for medical equipment yet strong enough for auto components. There are endless applications for fiber lasers.

Main Benefits of Fiber Lasers 

Beyond being an industry leader in laser etching, fiber lasers have many practical benefits.

  • No moving parts or mirrors in the light-generating source, thus lowering operating costs 
  • Higher wall-plug efficiency, lower running costs
  • Higher welding/etching speeds overall
  • Can mark/engrave reflective materials like copper, brass and aluminum 
  • Typically sees 100,000 operating hours before maintenance is required

At Laser Marking Technologies, we’ve developed hundreds of fiber laser systems for part manufacturers and businesses. If you’d like to learn more about how fiber lasers can work for you, please give us call. We’re happy to help in any way we can.

Laser Marking or Dot Peen? Which to Choose and Why

Posted on: August 19th, 2020 by BiznetDigital No Comments

Choosing the right marking system is all about application and business needs. This doesn’t mean that one way is right and one is wrong, but there’s always a best choice depending on your product. To help you make your choice, we’re answering one of the most common questions we hear from our clients: “What’s the difference between laser marking and dot peen?”

Dot Peen

Dot peen marking is a technology that uses a rigid carbide tipped pin to stamp, peen, or etch thousands of closely spaced dots to create text. The mark depth can somewhat be controlled or changed depending on the material and is typically permanent. Modern dot peen technology is saddled with intuitive, easy-to-operate software systems. Advantages include: 

  • Reliable, fast and direct 
  • Ideal for industrial marking 
  • Portable machines 
  • Cheap equipment costs.

However, there are some downsides to dot peen marking. Compared to laser marking, dot peen marking makes a significant imprint on a material’s surface, which doesn’t allow for a smooth finish. And because this marking method relies on a system of dots, the marks are less legible. Disadvantages include: 

  • Extremely Loud
  • Low mark quality 
  • Parts must be rigid or clamped down 
  • Can be applied only to sturdy materials 
  • Carbide pin wears out easily and quickly
  • Slow speed 
  • Cannot mark barcodes

Laser Marking

Laser marking uses a pulsed, high peak energy beam to create precise marks and etching in various materials. There are several kinds of laser marking systems, as different wavelengths can be used to achieve varying depths of marks on equally varying materials. Laser marking is highly versatile and customizable. It is one of the most popular systems for marking because it is easy to use and requires low maintenance. Advantages include: 

  • High contrast marking
  • Smooth finish 
  • Extremely accurate 
  •  High speed 
  • Best quality mark 
  • Can be dynamically sized 
  • Varied depth from surface marking to deep engraving
  • Can create Barcodes as well as QR Codes

In Comparison

When compared to dot peen systems, laser marking has very few downsides. And though laser systems are a significant investment, they save time and money overall. Additionally, because both systems are best suited for metallic surfaces, but because lasers are faster, smoother, more exact and can etch a variety of marks (barcodes, QR codes, serial numbers, text, and images), the winner is pretty clear.

At Laser Marking Technologies, we’ve developed hundreds of laser systems solutions for part manufacturers and businesses. If you’d like to learn more about how laser part marking can work for you, please give us call. We’re happy to help in any way we can.

CO2 Laser vs. Fiber Laser vs. Ultraviolet – Which Part Marking Method is Best for You?

Posted on: August 19th, 2020 by BiznetDigital No Comments

Choosing the best marking system for your parts depends on the application and your messaging (marking) requirements. Also, choosing between marking methods can be a tough call as there are trade-offs with each. However, when making any decision, your unique business needs come first. Here, we compare three popular marking methods and the pros and cons of each: CO2 Laser vs. Fiber Laser vs. Ultraviolet (UV).

CO2 Laser

CO2 laser marking uses CO2 gas in a sealed tube as a laser medium. This type of laser is excellent for organic materials like rubber, wood, paper, glass and ceramic. Operating at a 10,600 nm wavelength, they are best for non-metallic materials and most plastics. CO2 lasers can be used for stationary bench-top use or mark-on-the-fly installations. They also have a wide array or applications, including industrial and high-duty cycle, as well as job shops and hobbyists.

Pros

  • Can mark organic materials and glass
  • Fast engraving speeds
  • Cost less than fiber lasers

Cons

  • Shorter lifetime on laser medium than fiber systems
  • Difficulties marking metals without assist solutions

Fiber Laser

Fiber lasers operate at a 1,064nm wavelength making them the ideal choice for parts traceability purposes. They are best used on metal surfaces but have an array of material applications. The quality of a fiber laser beam is virtually incomparable and can be altered for depth. Fiber lasers are popular for their ease-of-use, flexibility and low maintenance—most machines have a minimum of 100,000 operating hours before any maintenance is required.

Pros

  • Longevity on laser source
  • Fast engraving speeds on metals

Cons

  • More expensive than CO2 lasers
  • Difficulty marking some organic materials

Ultraviolet Lasers

UV Lasers operate at a 355nm wavelength, making them a shorter wavelength. They are a “low power” form of marking, meaning that they do not alter the part’s surface. UV lasers are best for specialty plastics, silicone, Teflon and some glass-marking. They are also ideal for precious metals, like gold and silver.

Pros

  • Good on delicate surfaces
  • Can etch non-metal materials and glass
  • Use less power than fiber lasers

Cons

  • While stronger than C02, UV is weaker than fiber on metal surfaces.

As you can see there is plenty to consider when choosing the right laser system for your business needs. At Laser Marking Technologies, we’ve developed hundreds of laser systems solutions for part manufacturers and businesses. If you’d like to learn more about the best laser system to mark your parts, please give us call. We’re happy to help in any way we can.

 

3 Ways Laser Part Marking Saves You Time and Money

Posted on: August 10th, 2020 by BiznetDigital No Comments

From permanent markers to stamping hammers and marking dies, there are several part marking methods. But when it comes to parts traceability, laser part marking is by far the most advanced and permanent. Despite lasers’ many efficiencies, companies hesitate to make the initial investment. But fear not: lasers have come a long way, and will save you time and money in the long run. Here’s how:

1. Laser Systems have Significantly Improved

As technology has advanced, so have laser systems. These aren’t the machines of the good ol’ days, they’re far simpler to use but way more powerful. At one time, laser systems were difficult to operate, needed routine maintenance, and specialized technicians. They also required intensive training and programming skills. But not anymore. Now, laser marking machines have user-friendly, graphical interfaces and function like your average desktop computer. Additionally, fiber lasers rarely fail and often see over 100,000 hours of use before maintenance is required. Due to these advances, the costs of laser equipment, training, and maintenance have significantly declined in the last 20 years.

2. Lasers are Fast

Simplicity means automation and speed. It only takes a matter of seconds to:
· Place the part
· Close the door
· Transfer the keyed-up barcode, serial number, logo, or text from the computer to the part’s surface via laser beam

Some lasers can permanently mark a ¼” diameter in a fraction of a second. With lasers, throughput remains consistent and speedy.

3. Lasers are Flexible and Customizable

Lasers are not only extremely accurate and quick, but they’re flexible. Their power output, speed, and settings can be altered, which means they can etch intricate details and more characters for traceability purposes. Additionally, the strength of the laser can be modified for mark depth. Medical implants, for example, must have an undisrupted surface and the only way to achieve this is through laser annealing for survival of the passivation process. For components that will be used in harsher environments, like auto parts, lasers can be programmed to leave a deeper mark.

So, for shops that have an array of products and materials, lasers are your best bet. And while the initial investment of a laser system might seem daunting, its ease of use, speed, and versatility makes it all worthwhile in the end.

At Laser Marking Technologies, we’ve developed hundreds of laser part marking solutions for part manufacturers and businesses. If you are looking for a better way to mark your parts, please give us call. We’re happy to help in any way we can.

Why Lasers are the Key to Parts Traceability

Posted on: August 10th, 2020 by BiznetDigital No Comments

Anyone who distributes products knows the importance of tracking them from creation to final sale. As parts travel through the manufacturing process, they undergo many changes and continue to evolve as they progress down the supply chain. Mapping a part’s “genealogy,” so to speak, is especially important when it comes to individual components. This process is also known as “parts traceability” and is a job best suited for laser marking technology. But before we tell you why, let’s look at the difference between “tracking” and “traceability” as these terms are commonly confused. 

Parts Tracking vs. Parts Traceability

Often confused as synonyms, “parts tracking” and “parts traceability” are entirely different concepts. Parts tracking describes the process of tracking items during manufacturing for efficiency purposes. This is achieved through barcodes or other labeling methods attached to containers. However, parts traceability aims to document the manufacturing of parts, assemblies, and sub-assemblies that contribute to a final product (such as the brake rotors on a new car). Both tracking and traceability play important roles, but tracing individual parts can get complicated – that’s where laser marking comes in. 

Laser Etching , Engraving, Annealing, Foaming 

Laser marking is one of many kinds of direct-part marking. By etching the product itself, it remains traceable for life, which benefits both businesses and their customers because it provides complete traceability in the event of a problem. 

Efficiency 

Laser marking makes parts tracing more efficient overall. In some cases, etching a part can be completed in under two seconds and requires minimal setup time. Additionally, as lasers have become more complex, so has their ability to pack a lot of information into small areas. For example, some bar codes, such as a 2D Datamatrix, can contain up to 2,000 characters, which allows manufacturers to capture the part’s entire history. 

Flexibility 

Laser marking is extremely versatile and customizable. As there are many types of lasers, they can be used to mark all types of materials. They can be delicate enough for medical equipment but powerful enough to etch the strongest steel.

Laser marking is the ideal direct-part marking method when it comes to traceability. Lasers are efficient, flexible and most of all, permanent. No matter what kind of part, lasers can be customized for any business’ traceability needs. 

At Laser Marking Technologies, we’ve developed hundreds of traceability solutions for part manufacturers and businesses including interfacing directly with their PLCs, Robots, ERP systems, and various databases. If you are looking for a better way to trace your parts, please give us a call. We’re happy to help in any way we can.

When it Comes to Laser Marking, What a Difference a Couple Decades Make

Posted on: August 10th, 2020 by BiznetDigital No Comments

The barriers to laser marking have narrowed over the last ten years. Lasers were once too expensive, and required extensive training and experience. That’s changed, yet many professionals in need of laser marking systems assume this is still the case. So, if you’re looking for a laser etching/marking or parts traceability solution, we are here to set the record straight on turn-key laser marking machines!

Ease-of-Use has Never been Easier

The rise of computers in the 1980’s led to significant advancements in laser systems. As computers were directly integrated into laser marking systems, they became more economical and less expensive. By the late 1990’s, many companies had adopted them as the standard.

However, during this time they were still difficult to operate and needed routine maintenance from a specialized technician. Additionally, using them required a lot of training and programming experience. Now, laser marking machines are graphically oriented and as simple to use as a desktop computer. Technology has become so advanced that lasers rarely fail—most see over 100,000 operating hours before needing any maintenance.

Lower Costs Than Previous Decades

Though laser systems have decreased in cost, they are still significant investments. . On average, if you’re going to mark materials like carbon steel, stainless steel, iron, fiber laser marking systems will cost between $9,500 – $45,000 depending on wattage and automation. However, custom configurations can cost much more. But technological advancements in laser marking systems save companies time and money overall. These cost savers include:

  • Lower operating costs because there are no moving parts or mirrors to adjust
  • Lower running cost due to high wall-plug efficiency
  • Fast marking speeds with high precision and repeatability
  • Generally are air cooled – no water chiller required

Mark Quality has Significantly Improved

The mark quality of laser marking is unparalleled. They can be customized for different marking depths and always result in a smooth, fine finish or desired texture. These systems are high performers, consistent, and leave little room for error. Because fiber lasers are stable, and require no internal alignments, they can typically be moved or relocated without compromising the mark. Therefore, operators won’t hold up production by having to readjust the item. In fact, operators are in total control, which allows for more precise, intricate marks.

So, if you’re thinking about investing in a laser marking system, feel free to contact us. At Laser Marking Technologies, we’ve developed hundreds of laser systems for part manufacturers and businesses. We’re happy to discuss how laser marking can work for you.

Uncategorized | Laser Marking Technologies