How Does Laser Marking Work?

Posted by Able Electropolishing on September 30, 2014

Laser marking is a process in which a laser beam is used to mark machined metal parts. Wondering if laser marking is right for your metal parts? Learn about the process, as well as its benefits.

The Laser Marking Process

Lasermarking can be used to engrave identifying numbers, designs and more on metal parts. Many companies utilize lasermarking on critical devices. During the marking process, the laser vaporizes metal to engrave markings directly on the part or device. The laser can also produce various colors on metal parts, depending on the type of metal.

 

Benefits of Laser Marking

Laser marking is utilized for a variety of reasons. This metal finishing treatment is attractive to companies because of the following benefits it provides:

  1. Permanence—Stickers or labels are sometimes used as an alternative to laser marking. However, over time, these labels could become damaged and ultimately peel off the metal object. With laser marking, the information is etched directly on the product for long lasting part identification.
  2. Organization—Facilities that process multiple parts or devices need a system in place to ensure the appropriate components are used. Without some kind of marking on each device, metal parts may get displaced. If two parts look similar, they could also be used in the incorrect application. By marking each part with a part number, etc., employees and end users will be able to identify each part accurately.
  3. Safety—Some parts need to be properly marked for safety reasons. This is especially true in the medical industry. In 2013, the FDA required that all devices used in the medical industry must have a unique device identifier to ensure the safety of patients, as well as the accountability of doctors, nurses and operating teams.
  4. Traceability—Because devices must have markings on them, they also promote accountability for those who use them. In the rare case that an undesirable event occurs, the laser markings can hold those who used the device accountable.

 

Other Finishing Treatments for Metal Parts

Those who have their metal parts laser marked often submit them for other finishing treatments as part of the “final step” of the manufacturing process. The following are some of the most common metalfinishing processes:

  1. Electropolishing—Electropolishing enhances metal parts for a variety of benefits, including corrosion resistance, deburring, microfinish value improvement, ultracleaning and decorative finishing.
  2. Titanium Anodizing—This method uses titanium oxides to produce the bright colors that resist fading and do not need reapplication in the future.
  3. Passivation—Passivation is a metal finishing treatment used to remove surface impurities and enhance corrosion resistance. Although it provides light cleaning, electropolishing is the more effective treatment for removing embedded impurities. Electropolishing also enhances corrosion resistance, outperforming passivation by over 30 to 1 in salt spray test results.. Many companies and institutions choose to have their parts both electropolished and passivated.

 

For additional information about laser marking, contact Able Electropolishing today.