A common surface property many part manufacturers aim for is good texturing without compromising the material’s surface and mechanical properties. Achieving such texturing is possible via many processes. However, the use of laser introduced better texturing due to accuracy and versatile material compatibility. This article aims to give you an insight into laser texturing and its applications in part production.
What is Laser Texturing?
Laser texturing is a marking process using laser beams to modify a material’s surface texture and roughness. The laser texturing machine produces a concentrated beam of light that removes part of the material’s surface with micrometer-level accuracy and flawless reproducibility.
Laser texturing is an important process that should be applied before surface finishing options such as painting, coating, and adhesive bonding. This is because it gives the part a distinctive appearance.
How Does Laser Texturing Occurs
Laser texturing is similar to any laser marking process. However, its marking depth is unique. In laser texturing, the machine’s oscillator’s focused beam of light leaves tiny parts on a material. The emitted laser beam passes through a scanning mirror and is focused by the focusing lens before reaching the part surface. Heat transfer occurs on the interaction of the laser beam with the part surface, leaving tiny patterns such as grooves, shapes, and dimples. The created patterns are permanent and burr-free, giving the part surface a distinct look.
Advantages of Laser Surface Texturing
Compared to other surface texturing processes, manufacturers favor the use of laser texturing because of the following advantages:
Laser texturing is a repeatable process with a high level of accuracy, as seen with other laser marking techniques. Unlike other surface texturing processes, there is reproducibility and lesser inconsistency in the desired surface finishing of the final product.
Surface-altering processes like abrasive blasting need consumables like acid and steel grits to texture surfaces. However, laser texturing does not need any consumables. Consequently, there is a reduction in operational costs.
Laser texturing creates specialized patterns without cracks, micro-cracks, inclusion, and other flaws on the material’s surface.
In comparison to other conventional techniques, there is a decrease in labor costs and production times. Also, the cost of protective equipment is reduced since the process does not involve using dangerous chemical reagents.
Lasers are flexible, which enhances their versatility. As a result, manufacturers use them to customize many materials. Also, because lasers are compatible with many material surfaces, there is a wide application for laser texturing.
What is Laser Texturing Used for
You can use laser texturing to prepare surfaces for the following processes
· Painting and Coating
Laser texturing produces a clean, wavelike, and rough surface which paints stick well on. Furthermore, the process enhances paint adherence by eliminating surface impurities and strengthening the electrostatic contact between the paint and the surface of the material
Additionally, laser texturing creates a corrosion-resistant oxide layer that prevents the paint from peeling off with time. This process gives a consistent paint.
· Adhesive Bonding
You can use laser texturing to prepare surfaces for adhesive bonding. This process gives a strong and predictable binding without introducing surface flaws. Unlike acid etching, laser texturing does not result in chemical changes or microcracks that could weaken the connection.
Laser texturing produces a large surface area and roughness. As a result, a stronger, more porous, and wettable connection is the outcome. This improves the mechanical interlocking of bonded parts.
· Laser Cladding
Laser texturing is applicable in working on a material surface before using laser cladding. With a textured surface, the clad material can easily adhere to the material surface. Consequently, this improves cladding efficiency, precision, and repeatability and produces flawless and consistent surface preparation.
· Thermal Spray Coating
The laser texturing technology offers certain benefits like the absence of grit particles, good interface contact, and limited affected area. This technology increases the adhesion strength of thermal spray coating across many industries.
Applications of Laser Texturing
Because of the many advantages it offers, many major industries use laser texturing
· Automotive Industry
Laser texturing is crucial in automotive part manufacturing as it makes it easier to create 2D and 3D details from high-quality digital images. Furthermore, the process is fast, precise, flexible, and environmental-friendly. Common examples of parts where laser texturing is applicable are interior car components such as steering wheels, instrument panels, and many more.
· Medical Industry
In the medical industry, laser texturing serves as a means to improve medical devices’ physical appearance. Also, it increases the gripping property of the device and can produce finer details in parts suitable for metal parts.
Laser texturing helps manufacturers in the medical industry to add textures that promote implant acceptance, mark implants for tracking, and make devices that pick up less debris
· Jewelry Industry
Manufacturers use electroplating in the jewelry industry to add layers of gold or silver to other metals. This gave the finished product a sleek appearance and increased corrosion resistance. Laser texturing increases the roughness of the underlying metal. So, the good or silver plating does not wear off with time and flakes off, with reduced risk of exposing the base metal.
Choosing the Right Laser Texturing Technology
To correctly texture parts, you must select the ideal laser texturing machine. However, this is only possible by determining the requirements regarding the material’s properties, shape, size, time available, and production method.
Additionally, it would be best to work with a reliable manufacturing partner or get your laser texturing machines from reputable services. A good laser-textured surface comes from using a good laser texturing machine, and with our laser texturing machines, you can quickly and repeatedly increase the roughness of your part. Contact us or check our catalog to get started.