From the patterns on your kitchenware to the patterns on your stained-glass windows, laser leaves its mark everywhere.
The reason why people choose laser marking over methods such as doing it by hand or other forms of radiation is:
1. Speed. Laser works fast. By programming a design into a laser machine, that design can be reproduced in a matter of seconds. The same thing, by a human hand, would require a hundred times that duration.
2. Repeatability. Watermarks, logos, barcodes etc are all security information, and producing perfect replicas is of the utmost importance here.
Laser replication is as error-free as it gets, with error levels too low for even the most sophisticated machines to detect.
Also, repeatability is often desirable even when it is not of such paramount importance – for example, while printing designs on apparel or accessories in bulk.
3. Precision. A laser beam is no more than a few microns thick. A micron is a thousandth of a millimeter – yes, I have my calculations correct.
Therefore, there is no better instrument than laser for making fine markings on areas where precision is absolutely necessary. This is why laser is used on things like glassware, medical implements, barcodes, backlit keyboards etc.
Till recently, however, laser instruments have been limited to 2-dimensional surfaces. Even this was not seen as too great as limitation, as the biggest advantage of laser was its speed, precision, repeatability and permanence.
Now, the same precise performance has been diversified to include 3D items, of the most complex shapes and varied sizes. This is where 6-axis laser comes in. 6-axis laser technology combines several features:
• 3D scanning, for one
• Use of robots to move around the workpiece. This allows a more constant path and distance of the laser, where both the head and the material being worked on are moved around to generate optimal results.
• Marking lasers with vision system
• Software tools to allow image wrapping, even around complex and elaborate 3D shapes such as lanterns, vases, gems and so on
Consequently, 6-axis lasers have become highly popular in industries that require high-precision cutting, etching or marking on 3D surfaces.
As most people know by now, markings these days are made by erasure as often as they are made by painting. Backlit keyboards, for example, work by having paint on the entire surface, but a few layers of paint removed to create the symbol on the key. The same holds true for car dashboards etc.
6-axis lasers are being used in the aeronautical industry too, to remove the paint from magnesium castings. Another important use of this sophisticated, state-of-the-art marking technology is to remove metal plating from surfaces to generate beautiful, complex patterns.
For cost-effective, efficient and aesthetically pleasing marking technology, there is no better choice than a laser marking system.
by Gen Wright from ArticlesFactory