Printing technology has significantly evolved over the years, especially with the introduction of laser technology. More business opportunities have opened up, particularly for those who seek to customize or personalize the products they offer using lasers from a laser marking machine distributor.
Since its inception, tons of products have undergone printing by laser. For you to understand better how the process works, you first need to learn about the different laser marking techniques you can utilize for your products.
One of the known techniques in laser marking is engraving. This is the process of removing a portion or a layer of the target material. There are different types of laser engraving machines depending on the materials to be used, such as wood, metal and plastic. The type of machine also depends on the depth of the portion to be removed.
Also known as a non-contact form of engraving, laser engraving has evolved over the years as well. By applying laser beams several times to vaporize parts of the target material, deep engraving laser machines are able to create three-dimensional surface printouts with perfect precision.
Laser Anneal Marking
Many people think that laser printing is only used for non-contact engraving. But the most common laser printing is a process of discoloring the surface, which is called anneal marking. Unlike engraving, laser anneal marking does not remove any parts of the target material. Thus, the physical geometry and weight of the product remain.
The laser anneal marking takes place by heating parts of the material, effectively changing the color depending on the temperature applied. Some of the usual colors produced through anneal markings are red, yellow, blue and black.
While marking is used mostly to print on metal products like iron and stainless steel as well as on wood, it has a different effect on plastics and ceramics. Plastic absorbs laser radiation, causing the target surface to change its color.
Laser Color Removal
If the laser can print on hard materials, it can also reverse its process. Removing the color works almost the same way as engraving, though it only removes the printed portion through vaporization.
As mentioned earlier, plastic materials can absorb laser radiation. In the process of laser foaming, it performs an oxidation reaction. This enables a small amount of gas to be trapped inside the plastic layer, allowing it to inflate the target section. This, then, becomes permanent when it cools down.
As the name suggests, this laser marking technique only works on organic materials that contain carbon. Examples are wood, leather and plastic. Once laser beam is applied, the carbon then reacts by reversing its color such that a lighter mark appears on dark-colored plastics. On the other hand, it prints dark marks on light-colored plastics.
A lot of people might still have a different understanding regarding these laser printing terms. Knowing the different applications and how each process works hopefully clears the definition of the different laser marking processes and techniques.