What is a laser marking machine?
A laser marking machine is a laser machine that uses a laser beam to make permanent marks on material surfaces. Sometimes, people also refer to the laser marking machine as the laser engraving machine, laser printing machine, or laser etching machine. The effect of marking is to expose the deep material through the evaporation of the surface material. So the exquisite patterns, trademarks, texts, or codes will reveal. Such laser engraving machine is mainly used on some occasions that require finer and higher precision marking.
How does a laser marking machine work?
The laser marking machine uses the laser beam to leave permanent and clear patterns or text marks on the surface of different materials.
In simple terms, the working principle of a laser marker is as shown below. The laser marking process is under the control of the laser marking system. A laser beam is generated by the laser, oscillated by the oscillating mirrors, and focused by the field mirror. Finally, the laser beam acts on the surface of the workpiece to achieve a marking effect. The laser beam will evaporate the surface material to reveal the deep material of the workpiece. Then mark beautiful patterns, logos, texts, numbers, and so on.
Taking a fiber laser marking machine as an example, the fiber laser generates fiber laser beams. Then the laser beam is expanded by optical fiber and directed to the X and Y oscillation mirrors. Under the joint control of laser marking software, oscillation mirrors, and field mirror, the fiber laser beam leaves permanent characteristics or patterns on workpieces.
The effects of laser marking machines include the following types:
- Vaporize the target material surface to reveal the deep layer of the material through the laser.
- Make chemical or physical changes to the surface substance of the workpiece through the laser, thus engraving required patterns.
- Burn part of the surface substance by the laser to reveal the required patterns and texts.
How many types of laser marking machines?
The laser marking machine falls into multiple types based on different classification standards. Besides, there are some differences in the functions and applications among different types of laser markers.
Based on the machine size, we often call the laser marker portable laser marking machine, desktop laser marking machine, laser engraver handheld, hobby laser engraver, or desktop laser marker.
In accordance with the laser visibility, the laser engraving machine can be divided into UV laser marker, green laser marking machine, and infrared laser marking machine.
According to the laser wavelength, the laser marking equipment includes the 266nm laser marker, 532nm laser marking machine, 808nm laser marker, and 1064nm fiber laser engraver.
In light of laser power, we have the 20W laser marking machine, 30W laser marking machine, 40W fiber laser marker, 50W laser engraver, 80W steel marking machine, 100W laser marking equipment, etc.
In terms of lasers, the most commonly used laser marking machines include the following four types.
Fiber laser marking machineIt refers to the laser engraving machine using a fiber laser source. The fiber laser etching machine is mainly used to leave marks on most metal and some plastic and rubber materials. So it is also called the best laser engraver for metal, laser engraving machine for metal, laser engraver for metal, or the laser engraving machine on metal.
This type of fiber laser marking machine has advantages of good beam quality, long service life, high photoelectric conversion rate, energy-saving, and environmental protection. The fiber laser engraving machine for metal is mainly used in the fields with high requirements on marking depth, smoothness, and accuracy. It has wide applications in the industries of 3C, automotive, medical equipment, electronic components, IT, hardware, tooling, gold and silver jewelry, etc. The color laser marking machine can also leave colorful marks on workpieces.
CO2 laser marking machineA CO2 laser marking machine refers to the laser engraving & cutting machine using a CO2 laser. It adopts the post-focusing method, which has the characteristics of small size and a high degree of integration. This type of laser printing machine is suitable for marking and engraving most non-metallic materials. For instance, this laser marking machine can mark paper, plastic, non-metallic labels, leather fabrics, glass ceramics, resin plastics, bamboo, wood, PCB boards, etc.
UV laser marking machineThe ultraviolet laser marker is equipped with a deep UV laser. It is a good laser for engraving metal and non-metal materials. It has the features of high electro-optical conversion rate, long service life, stable operation, high positioning accuracy, and marking efficiency.
The UV laser engraver for metal and non-metal can perform ultra-fine marking and special material marking. It has wide usage in making marks on high-end electronic products, cables, cellphone accessories, food, PVC pipes, medicine packages. And also PCB board, metal surface clad layer, construction material, plastic, etc. The portable laser engraver is the first choice for customers who have higher requirements for marking effects.
YAG laser engraverYAG laser is a solid-state laser with a laser wavelength of 1064nm, which belongs to the infrared light band. Its characteristics include high oscillation obedience, high output power, and good stability. So YAG laser engraver is also one of the most laser markers in the market. The YAG laser marking machine for sale can mark a variety of metal and non-metal materials. For instance, stainless steel, aluminum alloy, copper, gold, ceramics, synthetic materials, rubber, leather, plastic, paper, etc.
Parameters of the laser marking machine
Different laser engraving machine has different parameters to meet various processing requirements. We provide multiple options for laser power, ranging from 20W to 100W. Besides, you can also customize the suitable making area according to your processing needs.
| ||Fiber laser marker ||CO2 laser marking machine |
|Laser ||Fiber laser ||CO2 laser |
|Wavelength ||1.064um ||10.64um |
|Output laser power ||20W, 30W, 50W, 100W, optional |
|Pulse repetition frequency ||10kHz-200kHz ||10kHz-100kHz |
|Working area ||100x100mm, 200x200mm, 300x300mm |
|Focusing range ||≤±30mm |
|Marking speed ||≤12000mm/s |
|Marking depth ||0.01-2mm |
|Marking line width ||0.01-0.1mm |
|Working voltage ||110V-220V, 50Hz/60Hz |
|Working temperature ||18-28℃ |
|Cooling method ||Water cooling ||Water or air cooling |
|Operating system ||Microsoft Windows |
Why choose a laser marking machine?
Traditional marking methods include pneumatic marking, electro-erosion, screen printing, and inkjet printers. Compared with the above, laser etching machines have been chosen by more and more users due to the following advantages.
- Laser marking machine adopts optical contact instead of mechanical contact. And it has no mechanical stress. So it is especially suitable for high hardness, high brittleness, high melting point, and high precision working. For example, the fiber laser engraving machine can mark cemented carbide, solar wafers, precision bearings, etc.
- Laser marking processing also has the characteristics of high energy density, small heat-affected zone, small thermal deformation, small thermal stress, etc. It will not affect the internal electrical performance.
- The marks made by a laser engraving machine for metal are permanent and not easily erased. They have no deformation and falling-off. It is suitable for the anti-counterfeiting of goods and meets the requirements of product traceability.
- The laser engraving & cutting machine adopts a numerical control system, which is easy to configure and modify. And it can realize the requirements of a unique product code. So the laser marking machine is suitable for custom processing, with small-batch and multi-batch processing.
- With a delicate marking effect and high precision, it can improve the product grade and increase the added value. The line width can be as small as 10um, and the depth can be less than 10um. Laser etching machines can leave tiny marks with high precision.
- The laser for engraving metal and non-metal materials has low consumption and no pollution. So it is energy-saving and environmental protection. Our portable laser engraver fully meets the European environmental standards and GMP requirements.
- Laser etching machines and laser engraving & cutting machines are suitable for flexible marking processing. You can make custom marks on your products with our laser marking machine.
How much does a laser marking machine cost?
We all want to buy a cheap fiber laser engraver or laser marker with the best quality. So you may wonder how much does a laser marking machine cost. Actually, the laser markers with different laser powers, laser sources, working sizes, structures, etc. Have quite different marking machine prices. The laser marking machine price ranges from $3,000 to $30,000 generally.
The fiber laser marking machine price is from $3,500 to $25,000. A CO2 30W desktop laser marking machine may cost you less than $3,000. A high-quality advanced industrial laser marking machine could cost over $40,000. So many factors can affect the laser marking machine price. In general, the higher the power, the larger the working size, and the more the functions, the higher the laser marking machine cost.
5 factors affecting the laser marking machine price
BrandWe all know that the prices of laser marking machine in different brands vary greatly. Famous or well-known brands tend to use high-quality machine parts to ensure product quality and maintain their reputation. So the fiber laser engraving machines of famous brands usually have a higher price than non-famous ones.
ConfigurationsWith different configurations, the laser marking machine price is naturally different. People may choose common, domestic, or imported kits or parts for their fiber laser engraving machine. Thus, the laser marking machine price using high-quality or imported parts is higher than the one using common parts. In addition, the machine size or effective working size can also affect the price of the laser marker. For example, the price of a laser engraver handheld, a portable laser engraving machine, or a mini laser engraver is relatively low.
Machine typesThe prices of different types of laser markers are also different. We need to analyze the material type, marking content, and marking effect to choose a suitable laser engraver. Generally, the price of a fiber laser marking machine is higher than that of the other types of laser marking machine.
Laser marking powerThe fiber laser engraver for marking can choose the laser power among 30W, 50W, 80W, 100W, or above. And the CO2 laser power for marking can be 20W, 30W, and 60W, and the UV laser power 3W, 5W, etc. The greater the laser marking power, the higher the laser engraving machine price.
After-sales serviceGenerally speaking, the better the after-sales service, the higher the laser engraving machine price. After-sales service generally includes the replacement of marking machine parts, marking machine maintenance methods, marking machine upgrades, and so on. The perfect after-sales service makes users more assured.
What does the laser marking system do?
Laser marking technology, as a modern fine processing method, has been widely used in all walks of life. It ushers a broad prospect for excellent quality, high efficiency, no dust, and low cost of modern processing production.
The laser marking system has extensive uses in the following fields.
Various metal materials, electronics, hardware, and tool marking. Some hardware accessories and electronic components use laser-marked codes or patterns for advertising, anti-counterfeiting, and other purposes. Laser marks are more wear-resistant for automobiles, ships, machinery, and equipment that are prone to friction.
Laser marking equipment has wide applications in IT, communication, equipment manufacturing, food and drug, medical equipment, glass, crafts, gifts, jewelry, packaging, printing, tooling, hardware, instrument, and other fields.
A UV laser marking machine can mark polymer materials, electronic components, wire-speed limiters, reflective films, plastic buttons, sapphire, glass, ceramic tiles, aluminum plates, signs, etc.
Laser marking machines are also used to mark dates, batch numbers, QR codes, and other information on food, drink, drug box, and other packages. It has such advantages as no consumables, clear printing, high resolution, low failure rate, and environment friendly.
With the continuous expansion of modern laser marking applications, laser marking machines have higher requirements for miniaturization, high efficiency, and integration.
How to choose the right laser marking machine?
Marking materialsThe first thing to consider is the marking materials. Generally, a fiber laser engraving machine is mainly for marking most metal materials and some plastic and rubber materials. Thus, it also is known as a metal etching machine, such as the laser engraver for metal, laser etcher for metal, best laser engraver for metal, and the laser engraving machine on metal. The CO2 laser marker is mainly for non-metal materials, and the UV laser marking is selected for special materials.
Working table sizeFirst, we must understand that the work table size of a laser marking machine is not the bigger the better. Because some laser marking machines have unstable average laser output at each point on a large format. And the marking products on the same table have different depths. This may affect the marking effect. We must choose the suitable laser engraving portable machine format according to the size of your marking materials.
Specific process requirementsLaser marking can be subdivided into more specific processing techniques, like plane marking, 3D marking, fixed marking, flying marking, and etching. Therefore, users must inform the laser etching machine manufacturer of their detailed processing requirements before purchasing. Many suppliers can also customize the laser marker based on your specific needs.
Laser machine manufacture qualificationsWhen choosing a laser marker, users tend to focus on the contract and price, ignoring the supplier’s qualifications. It is likely to lead to unnecessary troubles for future work. There are many laser machine manufacturers on the market, so it is necessary to do some investigations. A good laser machine manufacturer shall have certain production and delivery capacity. Besides, they should gain multiple relevant certifications and have a high customer satisfaction degree.
Related servicesThe competition in the laser industry is becoming increasingly fierce. Except for the product quality and price, customers shall also learn more about the services related to the laser marking machine. Good laser manufacturers offer a complete service system, including pre-sales, during-sales, and after-sales. Among them, customers usually pay much attention to the after-sales service. It can help customers solve any problems encountered in the installation, testing, and operation of the laser marking machine.
DIY laser marking machine or buy a small laser engraving machine?
With the rapid development of laser industries, DIY laser markers and small laser printers have gained more popularity these days. DIY laser printing machines usually only apply to the home laser or the desktop laser marking near me. Features of the DIY laser marker and printer include simple structure, practical usage, and low cost. However, DIY laser machines require the CNC basic knowledge and hands-on ability. Besides, it takes you more time to buy all the needed parts.
A small laser engraving machine is a great choice for those handicraft lovers and small studios. For example, if you want to mark some graphics and text on the metal panels, you can buy a mini laser etching machine for metal or a small laser metal etching machine. Also, if you intended to mark and print the small non-metallic work, I recommend you to purchase a laser engraver handheld, a portable laser marking machine, or a laser engraving portable machine. They are small in size, take up little space, and are easy to operate.
Precautions for buying a laser engraving machine
WorkpiecesThe material and surface treatment are two important factors affecting the marking effect.
Laser marking is only one process for workpiece production. In some cases, there may be previous polishing, electroplating, and adding photosensitive additives and subsequent pickling, passivation, and powder spraying processes. Therefore, the quality of laser marking also has an important influence on subsequent processes.
The laser of most industrial laser marking machine is with fixed wavelength. Major lasers include fiber laser (1um wavelength), CO2 laser (10um wavelength), UV laser (0.35um wavelength), green laser (0.5um), etc. In general, we often use fiber laser marking machine to mark metals and multiple plastics. We use a CO2 fiber laser to mark plastics, wood, paper, leather, etc.
Budget and costThe laser marking machine cost mainly includes the purchase cost, consumables, operation, and maintenance costs.
The first two are easy to calculate by comparing the prices from different laser marking equipment manufacturers and calculating the replacement frequency and unit price of the consumables. So you may need to pay more attention to the maintenance costs or after-sales costs. A good fiber laser engraving machine manufacturer shall be able to provide complete after-sales services. If there are any problems or part replacement during use, the laser marking machine manufacturer should be able to respond quickly and provide solutions. Many manufacturers only sell machines but do not provide after-sales service. This undoubtedly increases after-sale costs.
Service life of the laser printing machineThe theoretical life of a fiber laser engraving machine is 10 years. Nowadays, there is 20W, 30W, 50W, 100W, 200W fiber laser engraving machine for sale on the market. They all have a relatively long service life.
A CO2 laser engraving machine for plastic can also be used for about 10 years if the laser is well sealed and properly used.
How to choose the fiber laser marking machine power?
The industrial laser marking machine has gradually replaced other marking equipment on the market due to its incomparable advantages. Many customers may hesitate about the laser power when buying a laser marker. Is it the truth that the higher the laser, the better the laser marking results?
Generally, the higher the power, the greater the energy a laser engraving machine can output. Meanwhile, the higher the power, the deeper a laser marker can mark. Accordingly, the adjustment range for the marking depth is wider.
A fiber laser marking machine is mainly for marking metals, alloys, oxide, ABS, epoxy resin, electric elements, tools, glasses, jewelry, etc. The common fiber laser power includes 20W, 30W, 50W, 70W, 100W, 120W, etc. A 20W fiber laser engraver can leave clean and pretty marks on most materials. Besides, if you want to increase the marking depth, a 30W fiber laser marking machine will do. So the higher the power, the deeper it marks. But this is also based on the specific materials. You may leave satisfactory marks on certain materials with a 20W fiber laser, but a 30W fiber laser can't. Some materials are just the opposite.
What's more, the laser power is adjusted by percentage in the parameter setting, which ranges from 0% to 100%. And the general default parameter is 50% output power. Therefore, a 30W or 50W fiber laser engraving machine can adjust its output power to 20W to mark materials without changing the laser.
In addition, the higher the laser power, the higher the metal laser marking machine price. For thinner stainless steel and carbon steel, it is possible to use a low-power fiber marking machine to mark very well. At the same time, it can ensure a fast marking speed and high work efficiency, and also save cost.
Therefore, it is not necessarily right that the higher the power, the better the marking results. Customers shall choose the fiber laser marker according to their materials and processing requirements instead of chasing higher power blindly.
How to choose the field mirror for a fiber laser marker?
WavelengthChoose the field mirror that is compatible with the laser marker. The fiber laser has a wavelength of 1.064um, so the field mirror shall match the wavelength of 1.064um. The same to the CO2 laser marking machine and UV laser marker.
Processing areaMany customers intend to use a field mirror with a large processing area. Because they think they may mark larger products in the future. However, they forget one issue: the larger the processing area of the field mirror, the larger its focal length and working distance. A longer focal length means a larger laser spot. So the energy density distributed on a larger spot area with the same laser becomes smaller. This will result in a shallow marking effect of the laser marking machine. We all know that the laser attenuates in the air. So the longer the focal length, the greater the loss of laser energy. Thus, choose the field mirror with a suitable but not the largest processing area.
Focal lengthWe think, under the same processing area, the short the focal length, the better. Because short focal length will leave deep and narrow lines on materials. Furthermore, the short focal length has high requirements on the flatness of the material surface. So the fiber laser marker with a short focal length is not suitable for marking uneven or arc surfaces. Meanwhile, if you increase the focal length, the marks become shallow as we mentioned before. Therefore, you need to choose a suitable focal length for the field mirror.
How to maintain a fiber laser marking machine?
It is necessary to maintain and care the marking machine for metal and plastic on a regular basis. This helps ensure the marking precision and extends the service life of the fiber marking machine.
- The operator shall be familiar with the indicators and buttons of the fiber laser engraving machine before using it.
- Always keep the laser marking machine clean and tidy. Clean the dust on the field mirror.
- Check if the laser can generate laser beams normally and clean the dust around the laser regularly.
- Check whether the grounding of the fiber laser marking equipment is firm, and the power cord and plug are intact to avoid leakage accidents.
- Apply lubrication to the lifting device and guide rails of the laser marking machine regularly to keep smooth operation.
- Replace the circulation water tank once a week. Because the water quality and temperature will directly influence the service life of the laser. We recommend using purified water or distilled water and keeping the water temperature under 35℃.
- Keep the workpiece surface clean before marking. Otherwise, the marks will be obscure.
- Remember to turn on the fume exhaust system of the laser marking machine when there is fume or odor generated during the marking process.
- No inflammable or explosive materials are allowed to be put around the fiber laser marking machine.
Regularly check the fuse, power supply line, and indicator circuit, so as to avoid the power indicator light off, poor contact of the incoming line, and no indication of the voltmeter.
How does color laser marking work?
In recent years, the technology of color laser marking on stainless steel has gradually matured and gained popularity. But ordinary laser marking machines may not meet the needs of color laser marking.The laser marking machine we use for color laser marking is the MOPA pulsed fiber laser marking machine.
The MOPA laser marking machine uses an electrically modulated semiconductor laser as a fiber laser. It has good laser characteristics and pulse shape control capabilities. The prominent advantage of this laser marking machine lies in that its pulse width and frequency are independently adjustable. Moreover, adjusting one of the parameters does not affect other laser parameters, which is not available in Q-switched lasers. The MOPA laser marking machine can achieve stable high peak power output by matching with laser parameter adjustment. This feature brings infinite possibilities to stainless steel color laser marking. In the actual marking operation, all the pulse width, frequency, power, speed, filling method, filling spacing, delay parameters will affect the color effect.
The laser marking machine can change the color of the material surface layer by the laser beam energy to get the colorful marks. Then how do the different colors appear? An oxide layer is generated after the laser heats the surface layer, and thin film interference occurs in the oxide layer. Thereby the color effect appears. Oxide layers of different thicknesses can be achieved by controlling the laser energy and parameters, resulting in different colors. The laser marking machine can also make color gradient markings, which has a high degree of security and traceability in anti-counterfeiting applications. A color laser marking machine can process such materials as stainless steel, titanium, chromium, and aluminum.