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Blog on laser marking & traceability, laser cleaning and safety standards

Laser Marking Time Estimate for Industrial Applications

Traceability can be the source of a great competitive advantage for diecasters and many others in the primary metals industry. Laser marking combined with Data Matrix Code is a great means to do direct part marking. Do you want to know how much time a laser need to engrave your marking on different metals? Want to know more, read on or contact our laser technology experts.

Laser Direct Part Marking and Data Matrix Codes

The marking speed of high power laser makes the engraving of large data matrix codes onto most metals a distinct possibilities. Data Matrix Codes (DMC) are easily recognisable by automated and manual scanning systems.

A 25 x 25 mm DMC can be engraved in aluminum with a 100 W laser in as little as 8.6 seconds. If you want to include a human readable version with 31 characters, add a few more seconds, and that’s it.

The Three Factors That Influence The Marking Time

Apart from the size of the DMC, logo or text that needs to be etched on the metal surface, the factors that have the most impact on the marking time are: 1- the material, 2- the types of marking used and 3- the power of the laser. Let’s review them one by one.

1- The Impact of Material on Laser Engraving Time

Here is some of the metals that can be engraved with Laserax’s near-infrared pulsed fiber lasers: aluminum, stainless steel, zinc, magnesium, titanium, nickel, tin and lead. In the table below, you can see how much time it takes to engrave a 25 x 25 mm Data Matrix Code on each one.

 

Data Matrix Code
Laser marking time
Pale marking on pale background
(25 x 25 mm)
with a 100 W laser

Materials

Time (sec)

Titanium

11.1

Aluminum

9.6

Zinc

9.3

Nickel

8.8

Stainless Steel*

8.0

Magnesium

7.2

Tin

5.2

Lead**

2.9

* for laser engraving
** 50 W laser

2- The Contribution of the Types of Marking to The Marking Time

Data Matrix Code

We strongly recommend using DMC to convey the information you require because of its high information density and best in class ruggedness. It is a much better solution than any type of barcode. It is even better than the better known QR Code.

For best legibility to scanners and imagers in many lighting conditions, you should use a pale background with dark markings. The following table lists the laser marking time on aluminum for different types of DMC with Laserax’s 100 W fiber laser.

 

Data Matrix Code
Laser marking time
aluminum
(25 x 25 mm)
with a 100 W laser

Types of marking

Time (sec)

Dark Marking on Pale Background

9.6

Dark Marking Without Background

6.3

Pale Marking

1.8

Human Readable Text

As for human readable text, we suggest going for the fastest types of marking. These marks are usually a fallback position, but given the reliability of the laser marking - DMC combination they are seldom necessary. Single stroke without background is used only in the fastest applications. For better legibility, we recommend using dark filled and pale filled characters. The next table lists the laser marking time on aluminum for different types of human readable characters. We are using 10 mm high characters in a 31 characters string. For more information on Data Matrix Code download our guide Industrial Traceability: How Barcodes Work.

 

Readable Text
Laser marking time
(10 mm characters)
31 characters in the string
with a 100 W laser

Character font

Time (sec)

Dark Filled

11.9

Dark Outline

6.2

Dark Single Stroke

1.4

Pale Filled

3

Pale Outline

1

Pale Single Stroke

0.5

3- The Incidence of the Power of The Laser on The Marking Time

The optical power of the laser is closely related to the speed of a laser system. The more powerful the laser the faster the laser system. Laserax has laser ranging from 30 W to 200 W. There is a tradeoff to be made between the amount of information to convey, the power of the laser, the marking time goal and the price of the laser system.

How Fast are the Lasers Used to Mark Metals?

Depending on the material, the amount of information to be engraved and the power of the laser the marking can take as little as a few seconds and as much as several minutes under some very special circumstances. Laserax has developed lasers that are highly adapted to the task of marking directly on metals identifiers of all kinds. It makes our solutions the best in the primary metals industry. Our laser systems are used in plants the world over.

We recommend using Data Matrix code but if you are still not convinced that the laser marking of Data Matrix code is the most rugged way to implement a traceability system with direct part marking, you should read our blog on the challenges of direct part marking on aluminum diecasting.

Should you want to get a time estimate for the marks you want to engrave on metals such as aluminum, stainless steel, zinc, magnesium, titanium, nickel, tin and lead feel free to get in touch with our laser technology experts.

 

Contact a Laser Expert

Posted by Normand Lemieux, BBA

Normand Lemieux

Normand is a well-rounded and autonomous marketing professional with a recent specialization in web marketing. He thrives to share experiences, to apply knowledge, to learn new things and get stuff done.

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