Etching and engraving are done on products to trace and track them. The process of laser engraving or etching includes the use of laser beams to etch elements on the surface of any object. Laser beams are focused on the area to create high heat which distorts the surface to create the desired image.
Scope of Laser Engraving
Unlike other types of etching, laser etching can produce high contrast designs on the surface without causing any damage to the rest of the area. Laser engraving can be done on plastics, leather, wood, glass, and even metals of all kinds. Laser engraving has shown to deliver better results in jewelry than through traditional methods. The chances of damage are also nil.
The Various Types of Laser Engraving Machines
Depending on the type of object you can make use of different kinds of engraving machines for the best results. Selecting the wrong type can lead to unwanted expenses.
Here are the five most popular types of laser engraving machines –
- Fiber laser machines
- Green laser machines
- UV laser machines
- CO2 laser machines
- Mopa laser machines
Fiber laser is the youngest innovation in the marking technology. It is one of the most powerful etching machines with a power level running between 20 – 50 watts. These types of etching machines are suitable for very deep engraving on tough metals. Durability, economic power usage, and speed are what make fiber laser very popular in the etching industry.
For highly reflective surfaces you can use green laser machines. The power range on this type is somewhere between 5 -10 watts. It works with great precision and is extremely suitable for sensitive surfaces such as silicon wafers. From marking on solar cells to etching on materials like circuit chips, plastics, and PCB board, the green laser exhibits a high quality of workmanship.
UV rays are longer than x—rays but shorter than visible light. They fall in the wavelength between 10nm to 400nm of the electromagnetic spectrum. The UV lasers make surfaces glow by inducing chemical reactions. Although UV lasers are expensive they are suitable for marking on medical and electronic products that have a low tolerance to heat. And these machines are not preferred for deep etching on metals.
This type of laser etching machine is exclusively designed for etching on non-metal surfaces such as ceramics, fabrics, glass, quartz, wood, or any type of organic surfaces. The logos, barcodes, and serial numbers are etched using this type of machine. When etching on metals using a CO2 laser a special type of marking agent is applied on the area to be engraved. The galvo-steered rays from the machine then permanently bond the marking agent to the surface of the metal creating a mark. One of the biggest advantages of the CO2 laser is its affordability and speed. You can use operating systems such as Linus and Windows to work with a CO2 laser.
The Master Oscillator Power Amplifier (MOPA) laser can easily pass off as a fiber laser marker due to the similarity in its design. The difference however lies in the internal technology that gives it different potentials. It has a higher power efficiency which causes the machine to give out a strong coherent beam. The power of the beam is further strengthened by the use of optical ‘A’. In terms of amplitudes, the MOPA laser can go up as high as 2700KHZ. The MOPA laser creates colorful markings on stainless steel and produces less foam when working with plastics.
There are a plethora of options when it comes to engraving. From basic engraving machines to sophisticated wood and metal engraves, there is just no limit to the types. In the list above there is no right or wrong machine. It all depends on the material surface that you want to work with. Learn more.