Purposes and Process of Laser Engraving
One of the best ways to turn manufacturing material into art is with laser engraving, which serves several other purposes as well. Generally, this process is used to create images on surface material. Here are important aspects of the process.
Common Engraving Projects
- wooden, metal and plastic signs
- musical instruments
- art framing
- leather designs
- ID tags on products
- medical devices
- aerospace and automotive equipment
Main Benefits of Laser Engraving
Laser engraving can be performed on various material surfaces, including wood, plastics and rubber. A similar concept known as laser marking can be done on stainless steel, aluminum, titanium, brass and copper. Other materials appropriate for engraving include acrylic, stone, cardboard, tile and glass.
It’s common for manufacturers to apply engraving on industrial machine parts for identification purposes. Barcodes can be also be embedded into various commercial products. Of course, laser engraving is also commonly used for decorative purposes.
What Lasers Do
The reason large fabricators prefer laser machines for cutting and engraving is they speed up production cycles and make certain types of manufacturing more convenient and affordable. The concept is based on a high-powered laser beam, which concentrates a beam of light on a surface. As the laser heats up it vaporizes surface material. The result is a cavity that appears in the material. Deeper marks are created from repeating the process.
These machines are automated, executing programs through a controller, laser marking is based on X, Y and sometimes Z coordinates. There are various types of laser machines to choose from, depending on material thickness and type of project. Essentially, software used in laser markers converts vector files into mathematical data that tells the controller how to move the laser on the marking surface. The operator can modify power output, input settings and machine speed depending on material type and thickness.
The initial design can be created in various types of graphics applications that produce vector files such as Corel Draw, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop or AutoCAD. The reason vector files are used is that the images remain clear even when size is adjusted.
Manufacturers across various industries must comply with government regulations about putting unique device identifiers (UDIs) on products. The purpose for these UDIs beyond identifying parts is to reduce errors and ensure safety. This information is useful if a part fails and needs to be replaced.
The goal of laser engraving is for the final result to be legible or attractive. If you need laser engraving work or other types of projects that use laser cutters in Orange County, Serra Laser & Waterjet is here to serve your needs. Give us a call at 714.680.6211 to tell us about your project and get an instant quote any time of day.