Laser Engraving Service
Add the finishing touch to your parts and components with Arrow Cryogenics’ permanent green, YAG, and UV laser engraving service. Request a quote today, contact Arrow Cryogenics to learn more, or watch the video below to see what our custom laser engraving service can do for you.
Why Use Laser Engraving, Marking or Etching?
Compared to marking products with ink, laser engraving, laser marking, and laser etching are much more precise and environmentally friendly, require no drying time, and are permanent. Laser engraving, marking, and etching are used for a diverse array of applications, including:
- Product identification
- Product traceability
- Protecting products from unauthorized imitation
- Better legibility
- Long term durability
- Resistance to high temperature sterilization
- Providing functional information for components
Laser Engraving vs. Laser Marking vs. Laser Etching
The terms “laser engraving,” “laser marking,” and “laser etching” are often used interchangeably. However, although the end result of all three is more or less the same, these are distinctly different processes.
In laser engraving, the laser beam removes a thin surface layer of the material, to create a cavity in the shape of the desired image. Heat from the laser beam “vaporizes” the material, and forms deeper marks that can be seen with the eye and felt by touch. This makes laser engraving ideal for high wear parts on which other markings may be worn off over time. It is a very fast process, and is commonly used to engrave serial numbers, logos, and other identifying marks.
Laser marking uses a low-powered beam, moved slowly across the material, to create high contrast markings. Heat from the laser beam causes oxidation on the surface of the material, turning the treated area black. The material surface is left intact. Laser marking is commonly used on stainless steel and titanium, but is equally effective on a broad range of materials. It is often used to produce bar codes, QR codes, logos, and other identifying marks.
A modified form of laser engraving, laser etching uses the heat from the laser beam to melt the surface of the material, which expands to leave a raised mark. Laser etching creates markings with a shallower depth than laser engraving. Because it changes the surface finish of the material, laser etching also alters its reflectivity and enhances the contrast of the design. Like laser marking and engraving, this process can be used to add a variety of markings, from lettering to serial numbers to bar codes and more.
Laser Engraving for Virtually Any Material
Arrow Cryogenics' state-of-the-art, high-speed, non-contact laser marking systems provide superior results on nearly any material you need marked. Three different laser marking systems are available to meet your laser marking and laser engraving needs. Our team will determine which laser technology is best suited to your project, based on the specifics of the markings you need and the material to be marked.
UV (ultraviolet) lasers produce shorter wavelengths (355nm), making them especially useful for industrial processes. UV lasers are used for various non-thermal ("cold") processes, including surface color changes (see below). Like YAG lasers, UV lasers are commonly used for medical procedures, including dentistry and ophthalmology.
Our green laser marking equipment produces a 532nm wavelength, visible beam. It is specially designed for high speed laser marking and etching on plastics and metals. Its small, focused beam is ideal for precision marking on even the smallest workpieces.
With three different types of laser part marking equipment, we can mark or engrave nearly any material. From laser marking steel to laser marking plastic, this process can permanently mark components that are difficult or impossible to reliably mark through other methods.
YAG (yttrium aluminum garnet) lasers are one of the most common types of solid-state laser, and are used for myriad applications. The laser we use for YAG laser marking produces a 1064nm (1.064 microns) wavelength, making it ideal for absorption by most metals and some plastics. In addition to laser marking and similar manufacturing purposes, YAG lasers are often used for medical procedures, such as cataract surgery.
YAG Lasers vs. CO2 Lasers
CO2 lasers are another popular technology used for laser marking applications. These systems emit a beam with a wavelength exactly 10 times larger than those of YAG lasers (10.64 microns). Because of this, CO2 lasers are not as effective as YAG lasers (or UV lasers) for marking metal materials. Instead, CO2 lasers are most often used to add markings to wood, rubber, plastics, and other “organic” materials.
Arrow Cryogenics' Laser Part Engraving Services
- Laser Engraving/Laser Etching: Laser engraving can be used on a broad range of materials, including polymers, stainless steel, titanium, aluminum, and other metal alloys. The high power of the laser evaporates the material during the process, resulting in an engraved surface. Oxides sometimes form in engraved areas, making the marks clearer and more visible. Laser engraving does not involve tool bits, which are in contact with material surfaces and eventually wear out. With no bit heads to replace, laser etching offers a considerable advantage over other engraving techniques.
- Laser Annealing: The surface of the material is locally heated to form a very thin oxide layer. Different colors can be created depending on the power that is applied to the laser.
- Material Removal: Coated materials can be marked by removing the top layer with a laser. The anodized layer on aluminum is often removed to produce a clear, clean mark.
- Change in Color or Bleaching: This process is most commonly performed on plastics. The structure of the individual molecules or additives, such as color pigments, are directly changed or removed through laser marking. A change in color or bleaching is then visible on the material, creating a mark.
- Foaming: Foaming is only possible on certain plastics. The laser melts the plastic locally, creating gas bubbles in the material. As it cools, these gas bubbles are encapsulated in the material. A raised surface is then formed, creating the marking.
Watch the video at the top of this page to see examples of many of these laser marking processes.