Special Engraving and Laser Machines
Laser engraving is a process in which a laser beam, either CO2 or Nd:YAG, is computer-controlled onto the surface of a component, resulting in a noncontact method of removing a controlled amount of material. The material is removed by vaporization.
This process is fast, accurate and repeatable. The noncontact beam can cut metals, fabric, plastic and wood. Lettering can be as small as 0.025". In certain applications, a protective coating must be preserved; therefore, the process must insure that the location, size and depth of markings are precise.
The size of the product to be marked is only limited by the user's ability to position it under the laser head. Long tubes, calipers, molds, and dies, along with intricate components, are typical of the articles marked.
Among the fields served by these operations are medical, agricultural, advertising, display, consumer products and electronics.
Types of lasers available are CO2 versions rated from 10 to 500W (gantry and robotic integration) and beam-steered YAG and CO2 coupled with the Windows-based operating system.
Advantages of laser engraving are fast turnaround, consistency and flexibility. Marks can be surface etched or deeply engraved. A disadvantage with the laser process may be the cost of marking small lots of inexpensive items like nameplates.
The technology of these processes is improving to yield faster and more compact markers.
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