Whether you need to imprint your logo, label parts, or put the vin number, serial number, or part identification number onto your product, then which option is right for you – laser marking or laser engraving?
Laser engraving and laser marking are two specialized technologies used in many industrial applications, offering advantages like extreme precision, flexibility and affordability. However, it’s important to understand the subtle differences between the two in order to decide which is the best solution for your particular project.
What is Laser Engraving?
Laser engraving is a process that uses an intense laser beam to remove a layer of material from the surface of a component. It’s typically used for creating lettering, logos and other designs on metal, plastic, wood and other materials. During engraving, the laser removes surface material by heating it until it vaporizes. You can continue output laser to create a deep engraving results. The result is a permanent design that can be observed up close or at a distance.
Advantage of Laser Engraving
Laser engraving is incredibly precise and is a great choice for intricate designs and logos of all sizes. It’s often used on surfaces such as plastics, tools and medical parts that need to be accurately marked without fully damaging their material or increasing their thickness. Additionally, laser engraving is long-lasting and very cost effective. The results produced via this method resist heat, scratches and fading, making them ideal for permanent product identification.
Disadvantage of Laser Engraving
The only issue is that marking can be slow, because you have to create a certain depth of engraving, and that takes a long time.
What is Laser Marking
Laser marking is another type of laser-based process that increases the durability, readability and contrast of the markings on your part. This process uses higher energy levels than those used during laser engraving, meaning it can be used to permanently alter the material’s surface by chemical or physical means, instead of simply burning away surface material. Common examples include blackening, contrasting, or etching a material’s surface.
Advantage of Laser Marking
Laser marking has several advantages compared to engraving. It provides fast, high-contrast, long-lasting marks on a variety of materials such as metals and plastics, with a fraction of the cost and time it takes to engrave them. It also allows you to mark large areas quickly, making it ideal for producing large batches of parts at once. Additionally, laser marking requires very little maintenance or additional equipment and is suitable for small customizations.
Disadvantage of Laser Marking
The only disadvantage is that it is not possible to create deep engravings, so the marked part cannot undergo long-term wear or chemical corrosion.
Which Do You Need for Your Project?
While the terminology can be a bit confusing—especially since it seems like laser marking, and laser engraving are all doing very similar things—each process is actually quite different, which means some processes may not work as well for your project. This could depend on the nature of your project, but it also largely depends on what material you are working with. For certain materials, engraving is no big deal; however, for others, cutting into the surface of the material can damage the integrity of that material—it could lead to oxidation, which may be a big problem. It’s important to know the differences between each technique so you can make an informed decision about which marking process will be best for your project.
When deciding which type of laser marking to use for your project, consider the material you’re working with and the size and number of marks needed. If you need a deeply engraved or customized mark, then laser engraving is best. However, if you need fast, high-contrast markings on large batches of parts or require just a few small marks on metal and plastics, laser marking is the ideal solution. With this guide, you’ll be sure to choose the right option for your needs!
Are you ready to get started?
If you would like to get started with laser engraving or marking of metallic or non-metallic surfaces, or if you want more information about which method will provide the best results for identification, then contact us at HeatSign today.