Micro Part Laser Marking
Traceability has become a buzzword of the 21st century across a multitude of industries, primarily to verify authenticity in these days of “pirate” products, forgeries and design theft. Nowhere is this more necessary than in the manufacture of micro parts such as those produced for use in information technology, engineering, medical devices, the auto industry and many other markets. For this reason, it has become imperative for manufacturers to permanently mark the parts they produce, and laser marking is a popular choice for this process.
Why Laser Marking?
Laser marking machines are able to deliver indelible marks that are small enough to fit on micro parts, quickly and cost-effectively. The laser marking equipment can create marks as small as 10µm, which means you need a loupe to be able to read it. Depending on the material used for the micro part marking, laser marking works by either carbonizing the surface of the part, ablating or engraving it:
- The process of carbonization produces the mark in a contrasting color, which is particularly useful for medical implant devices that need to maintain the integrity of the surface.
- Laser marking using the ablation process partially removes a layer of approximately 10µm or less from the material’s surface, which exposes the base material beneath and creates a contrast in appearance.
- Laser engraving removes the material within the design, resulting in a depression in the material that can go from 50µm to 100µm and deeper. This is ideal for parts that are likely to be subjected to abrasion, such as vehicle auto parts and bearings.
Deeper laser engraving is mostly used for parts that are exposed to harsh environments or for tool and die / mold construction, such as is used in the minting industry. However, deep engraving is also popular for designing jewelry and engraving firearms as well as in other industries.
Choosing a Laser Marking System
Laser marking equipment comes in various options, but a fiber laser marking
system is the most versatile for micro part marking.
The laser marking machines supplied by XT LASER use
fiber-pumping technology to bundle together fibers that are impregnated with a
product to increase conductivity:
Depending on the surface of the material, an infra-red laser light is used.
The light passes through the optical fibers to the head, where the beam expands to
create the mark needed on the metal, ceramic or plastic surface.
- The fiber laser marking process produces high quality images for flawless traceability, and uses no harsh chemicals or other consumables.
- The system needs very little maintenance. The machinery has a relatively small footprint, which makes it fast and easy to install in any location.
- Fiber lasers use lower pulse energies to deliver longer pulses with peak power,
- while diode-pumped lasers use a higher pulse repetition rate.
These features make fiber laser marking an ideal choice for the identification marks on micro parts for any industry.
Laser Marking Micro Parts
Laser marking offers a non-contact method of marking micro parts,
which makes them an ideal choice for parts with thin walls that damage easily
on contact. Marking is easiest on the flat surfaces find on most micro parts,
but a programmable Z-axis enables marking on parts containing steps.
Rotary devices facilitate marking on curved parts, if the difference between
the height of the part and the point where the mark is require is greater than 4 mm.
Fiber lasers are often the first choice for the marking of micro parts,
because of the quality, speed and cost associated with the process.
To learn more about laser marking for micro part marking, contact us today. We invite you to download our free product catalog and to view our informative videos. The world of laser technology is constantly changing and new innovations are being introduce every day. We would like to share that world with you.