Laser Markable Metals (LMM) refer to materials that appear metallic and can be marked with a CO2 laser. Fiber lasers and Yag lasers mark some metals but are more expensive and less common
DIFFERENT REACTIONS ON LMM
According to marking results with a CO2 laser, LMMs are classified into 4 groups :
Engraving : Color surface is removed or burnt by laser (FIGURE 1).
Examples: Rowmark, Metalgraph Plus, IPI LaserMetallic Brush, lacquered aluminum, DuraBlack
Whitening : Metal turned white by laser heat (FIGURE 2).
Examples: Black anodized aluminum , LazerWhite.
Ceramic bonding : A coating is applied (brush, spray) on the metal and fixed by the heat of laser (FIGURE 3).
Examples: CerMark, TherMark
Positive image transformation : pre-coated metal is marked by a surface chemical transformation (FIGURE 4).
Examples: AlumaMark and laserable anodized mirror aluminum (LAMA)
Each metal and each marking method has its own advantages and disadvantages, the most important being the finished product rendering. No matter for your customers how the plate is engraved as long as the finished product meets their expectations.
When selecting a LMM, 3 points should be taken into account :
1. Basic material : LMMs are made of aluminum, steel, brass or even metal looking plastic Proper material should be chosen according to customer's needs.
2. Marking type : : most LMM appear metallic, although some just include a metallic paint.
When imaged with a CO2 laser, some form a black “positive” mark (black mark on a metallic background) and others are imaged up to a white “negative” mark (white mark on a black or metallic background).
Select material that creates appearance requested by your customer.
3. Durability : It is a common idea that something made of metal is durable. This is simply not the case for LMMs. Some are specified for outdoor use, others not. When choosing a durable LMM, be sure that it is meant for outdoor use. If you plan to work with industrial or military suppliers, make sure your LMM meets military specifications (Durablack).
Depending on all above points (Metal / Plastic, Positive or Negative Marking, indoor / outdoor use) you can choose appropriate material.