Laser marking printers provide the ultimate versatility for printing text, numbers and codes onto a wide range of materials. Easy to install and operate with no on-going consumables, fiber lasers are the ideal industrial coding solution.
Lasers work well on a variety of substrates including plastics, ceramics, matte metals and rubbers. Choosing the right laser for your specific needs is essential.
Many products require some kind of code, barcode or mark for a variety of purposes. From serializing a part to help with inventory control to adding a data matrix code to ensure government compliance, lasers can add this information quickly and efficiently.
Fiber lasers have a much shorter wavelength than CO2 lasers and can be used on a wider range of substrates, including uncoated metals (which rotary engravers cannot touch without chemicals). They also produce a higher contrast and are much more responsive than inkjet printers, allowing them to be used in production lines where speed is paramount.
A fiber laser system is a great solution for manufacturers who are looking to reduce downtime and increase throughput. They can be integrated into the line and perform without consumables, making them easy to maintain. Additionally, they can be paired with an array of other tools to create the complete marking, reading and code storage solution that is ideal for your operation.
A bank of diodes produces light and the fiber optic cables channel and amplify that light to form a laser beam. This allows the machine to work much faster than traditional machines. This also reduces maintenance costs because there are no mirrors to keep aligned.
A key feature of laser marking is that it’s chemical-free. This makes it safe to use on a wide range of materials. Laser printing can be used to code and etch metal, plastics, glass and more. Lasers offer great flexibility for FMCG packaging and product identification, and are highly productive compared to other coding technologies.
Industrial lasers for marking are either fiber, ultraviolet or CO2 based that mark by ablation, etching, foaming or laser scribe imaging. Demand for fiber laser systems is increasing for its ability to mark bare metals, and in tough environments. These systems are easy to integrate, reliable and fast for large coding areas and challenging products.
Using a bank of diodes to produce light, fiber lasers use optical fibers to channel and amplify that light into a tight beam. The result is a much smaller laser point with greater power density than CO2 lasers. This allows them to mark into thicker materials like HDPE and metals, or at faster speeds on thinner workpieces.
This efficiency also results in lower operating costs. In contrast to traditional inkjet printers, which require the purchase and replacement of ink cartridges and solvents, laser marking machines perform without consumables. This means that you can free up floor space and reduce storage costs.
Additionally, fiber lasers do not rely on mirrors or reflective surfaces to create their mark. This makes them much more accurate, especially when marking onto 3D surfaces. The MD-U and MD-F series lasers from KEYENCE feature auto-focusing technology, which ensures that the mark is always perfectly focused regardless of the surface orientation. This capability is particularly valuable in applications where the product needs to be marked with a 2D code, such as on plastic tubes or gas meter casings.
The laser printer is a non-contact type of printing technology that uses a mirror system to focus a beam of light on a photoreceptor drum. As the drum is rotated, toner is exposed and a bitmap of characters or numbers is written on the surface.
The resulting codes are very clear and legible. They can be easily scanned or read from the packaging or product. This technology is popular for food and beverage products, such as cans, as well as metals like sanitary ware, tools and hardware, luggage, leather bags and more.
Fiber lasers use power differently than traditional CO2 lasers and have tighter beams that are better suited for marking thinner materials. They also do a better job of marking on anodized aluminum which is a very difficult material for CO2 lasers to mark quickly and accurately. Because they are so sensitive to the environment, they require very little maintenance versus inkjet solutions. This helps manufacturers keep up with production demands and frees up time for other tasks.