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Methods of Laser Marking

Annealing

The process by which the laser beam heats the surface of a metal, creating a change in color (usually flush with the surface/minimal to no depth). On most metals, a dark, ink-like contrast is achieved using this method. Annealing on thin metals has the potential to warp or distort the material due to excessive heat buildup. Consult our laser specialists for a marking method best suited for thinner metals.

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Shallow Engrave

The process by which the laser beam removes material, creating a durable and permanent mark (with or without contrast) that is <0.010” deep. This method is commonly used for applications sensitive to wear inducing elements like physical abrasion, temperature, pressure, weathering, etc.

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Deep Engrave

The process by which the laser beam removes even more material, creating an extremely durable and time tested mark. This method is frequently used for engraving steel molds and graphite electrodes along with many other applications. Typical depths exceed 0.010” while maximum depth engraving done with our lasers usually does not exceed 0.030”. Certain materials have easier penetrability so please consult our laser specialists if your project requires engraving to be deeper than 0.030”.

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Ablation

The process by which the laser beam removes only the coating on a given material (anodized aluminum/titanium, chromate/chem film, powder coated or other painted steel, black oxide coated metals). On most coated metals, a high contrast mark can be easily achieved with this method.

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Carbonization/Foaming

The process by which the laser beam oxidizes the carbon in a given material (typically plastic or anodized aluminum) to produce CO2, resulting in a high contrast mark. On clear/light contrast anodized aluminum we are able to achieve a dark contrast mark which is raised from the surface (typically 0.001” - 0.003”). On dark contrast anodized aluminum, this process results in a magnificent white mark. On darker plastics, the end result is a light contrast foaming which is slightly raised from the surface. On lighter plastics, the carbonization process leads to a grey or black contrast mark which may also be slightly raised from the surface.

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Data Identification Marking Capability

1D/2D Barcodes

Our lasers have the ability to mark numerous barcode variations in both 1D and 2D formats including Code 39, Code 93, Code 128, UPC A, UPC E, data matrix and QR code. Although these formats can be marked or engraved on most materials, certain metals and plastics may react better with the laser, resulting in a sharper and more easily scannable code. If you have any questions or concerns regarding barcode legibility/scannability, consult our laser specialists for a marking method best suited for your project.

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GS1/GTIN/UDI Global Standard Codes

In addition to basic barcode formats, we have the ability to input global standard codes such as GS1 and subsequent formats like GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) and UDI (Unique Device Identifier).

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Software Compatibility

DXF/DWG file formats

DXF and .DWG are the most ideal file formats that can be integrated with our laser programs. We can also process most .STP/.STEP or other vector-based file types by converting them to .DXF/.DWG formats that are native to our software. Occasionally, we can work with .AI files depending on the conversion process. File formats that DO NOT assimilate easily into our software include most raster/pixel type files (.JPG, .BMP, .TIFF, .GIF). There may be some exceptions, depending on the material and content being marked, so please consult our laser specialists to determine the proper initiative.

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