A review of the role of laser technology engraving in manufacturing and the tools you need.
Lasers are remarkable machines, traditionally used for cutting materials in extremely precise ways. The newer ones now weld, drill, and engrave in a wide range of settings. Over time, they have become extraordinarily efficient and powerful.
There are different types of laser engraving machines. Some engraver machines work with a stable workpiece and only the laser moves (or inversely). Other machines are made for cylindrical workpieces. Lastly, there are laser engraving machines where the laser and the workpiece are both immobile but galvo mirrors are moving the laser beam on the surface to engrave.
In manufacturing, ink printing on a product or package often results in sloppy, imprecise lettering or smearing, especially if the item is mobile while being printed.
Laser engraving eliminates this issue by being much more precise and being able to create the smallest of lettering and symbols exactly as desired, even if a product is moving or vibrating.
Precision engraving is essential for virtually any product or application, but it can be especially necessary for lettering and symbols required for government compliance.
If your product needs special warnings, symbols, or handling instructions on its front, you don’t want to take the risk of having illegible or unreadable lettering due to poor printing processes. Laser engraving can also be needed for foreign languages and symbols, as these often need to be very precise to be legible.
If a production line switches between products, the manufacturer might need to stop and change the ink cartridge in an inkjet printer, or reset the distance from the printer or stamping machine to the product, and so on. This stoppage can slow down production or even bring it to a grinding halt!
Laser engraving is much more adaptable, as you don’t need to manually adjust distances, depth of spray, pressing depth, and other such details, and there are no inks to swap out or cartridges to change. Your production processes won’t be slowed down even if you need to switch between several different products, packaging, and the like.
There are many benefits to using laser engraving in the production of products and packaging. Whatever your product, the speed of production, or needs for compliance, laser engraving is frequently the most efficient and precise means of labelling or other markings items. As the technology becomes more affordable, we expect to see more businesses switch to lasers for their production process. And overall, this would reduce the need for traditional printing methods and result in a big win for our environment.
Connecting to IIOT
Another one of the benefits of laser marking is the ability to connect with the IIoT.
Previously, large manufacturers with multiple laser marking machines would have to manually upload a new job each time there was a new order (which was a time-consuming and inefficient process). With today’s laser technology, connecting automation and laser marking to the IIoT is very simple and a lot of the previously manual tasks are automated.
We all know how much even 10 minutes saved with automation here and there can profit a business at the end of the day.
Stamping a product involves contact between the product and a press of some sort. Some products can get damaged by even minimal pressure and contact, or the ink used for printing might bleed into the product or smear across its surface.
Laser engraving involves no contact so it’s safe to use for delicate products, porous materials, or any material that might be compromised by pressing, printing, or stamping. Laser engraving also won’t strip away coatings or paints, and won’t dislodge aggregates or anything else embedded in a product’s surface.
The bottom line is, every modern manufacturer should take advantage of the latest technology to enhance and efficientize their production lines. Laser engraving is the newest kid on the block and it’s not going anywhere for now.