Laser marking is a type of Direct Part marking of products. This highly advanced marking method is used as a dynamic, highly adaptable process for high-speed character, graphic, logo, bar code and 2D Data Matrix marking. The laser marking method not only makes the marking permanent and highly readable but also discourages tampering. The Department of Defense (DoD) has mandated the use of laser marking for 2dimensional Data Matrix Symbols as per the MIL-STD 130M standard. As per a 1992 estimate, the DoD lost nearly $2 billion in inventory for improper marking method.
Laser marking is considered to be one of the most efficient marking methods that are used for marking identification number onto products. Apart from military equipment industries, several other industry groups including ISO9000 standard groups have made permanent part identification and Direct Part Marketing (DPM) compulsory to improve the traceability of their items. Laser marking improves the accuracy of inventory, decrease inventory management costs by reducing the workforce burden and enhance the efficiency and productivity by better product traceability.
Laser Marking Process
Laser marking provides an excellent method in counterfeit & forgery prevention, product tracking & identification. The materials used for Laser marking are usually lead and cadmium free and hence are environmentally friendly. The water based solutions are contact free & tamper proof and hence can withstand to abrading, scuffing & corrosion. The process involves a highly concentrated energy from a very parallel beam of light being focused to a microscopic spot to create a variety of images. This laser marking can be very fast with up to 1000 characters per second. Better legibility of the laser marking through a color contrast between the mark and the base material.
Different types of markers are used for laser marking. Some commonly used laser markers are Diode-pumped lasers, Lamp pumped lasers, Fiber laser, Deep engravers and CO2 lasers. One great advantage of laser marking over traditional marking is that laser marking can be done virtually on all types of metals, woods and even glass and plastic surfaces. Earlier there was a problem in marking for plastic surface items. But thanks to laser marking, now marking and engraving can be done even the surface of plastic items. Besides that, laser marking can also be done on aluminum, titanium, stainless steel, rubber, ceramics, wood and paper products.
Benefits of laser marking
- Highest Speed, Highest Contrast Marking for making Class A readable codes on all materials including bare and coated metals, ceramics, composites, plastics, pc boards and more. Marking can be done even on rough metal castings to smooth highly polished surfaces.
- Smallest to Largest 2D Matrix Codes can be marked with laser marking. It the most Flexible 2D Matrix making method used in the military industries.
- Laser marking is used for all combinations of 2D Matrix Codes as per UID compliant, MIL compliant, ECC200, etc.
- Laser marking has parameters such as “cell creation” and cell “fill” to adjust the properties and thereby assuring proper readability on all materials and surfaces.