The Main Differences Between Marking, and Engraving
All two of these laser services provide a permanent marking solution, fulfilling regulations and adding distinction to your products and parts.
But what sets them apart?
While the two techniques may seem similar, there are actually quite a few differences between them.
The differences between laser marking, laser engraving, largely have to do with what each process does to the marking surface, including how deep the laser goes and how it changes the overall appearance.
Laser marking discolors the surface of the material, while laser and engraving actually removes a portion of the surface area as it marks.
Throughout this post, we will give you an overview of each of the processes and their applications to help you better determine which is right for your application.
Although these terms are often used interchangeably, there are differences between laser marking, and laser engraving. Each type of process has its own applications and attributes that make it ideal for different jobs.
The Laser Marking Process
Laser marking is what happens when the beam (nyaláb – raza laser) interacts with the surface of a material, slightly altering its properties or appearance.
- It is achieved by moving a low-powered beam slowly across the material using a method called discoloration, (elszíneződés – colorare) which creates high-contrast marks without disrupting the material.
- Laser heats the material, causing oxidation (oxidálás-oxidare) under the surface and turning the material black.
- It applies low temperatures to metal to anneal the surface.
- All of this is done while leaving the surface intact.
- It is less common and not all places offer these services.
- It is also referred to as laser coloration or laser dark marking,
- There are four common types of laser marking: annealing (hőkezelés – tratare termică), carbon migration (szén tartalom módosítás – schimbare conţinut de carbon), foaming (habosítás – spumare) and coloration (színezés-colorit).
- It’s popular in the medical device industry for stainless steel and titanium parts, but can be performed on other materials as well.
- A laser marker is ideal for bar codes, UID codes, QR codes, logos and other identification needs.
- This creates a cavity in the surface that is noticeable to the eye but not to the touch.
The Laser Engraving Process
Laser engraving is a process where the laser beam physically removes the surface of the material to expose a cavity that reveals an image at eye level.
- The laser creates high heat during the engraving process, which essentially causes the material to vaporize.
- It’s a quick process, as the material is vaporized with each pulse.
- This creates a cavity in the surface that is noticeable to the eye and touch.
- To form deeper marks with the laser engraver, repeat with several passes. In this way the material can be even cutted.
- There are three types of laser engraving: etching, (domborgravírozás – gravare în relief) deep laser engraving (mélygravírozás-gravare în adâncime) and laser ablation (abláció – ablaţiune)
- This is the most common option for people who want something personalized or customized.
- Not ideal for marking safety critical parts.
- It’s great for parts expected to experience high wear.
- It’s typically used to engrave serial numbers and logos, among other things.
- It is more legible than traditional engraving for small objects such as jewelry.