Testing Laser Marking: How to Get Relevant Application Test Results… with the 1st Round

Is your project time schedule tight? Do you want to get things right the 1st time? Then look at the following guidance what information to provide your laser supplier with to increase your chances of getting relevant and meaningful laser test results with the 1st trial:

1. Define your need

Be specific about what you want to achieve and what is most important to you.

2. Define the content details

Provide clear information on what content you need how and where on your product. Ideally, you provide a drawing with that information. Otherwise, describe the content details, such as text content, text font (e.g. single line, true type) and height (in mm), graphics (only outline or filled), 1D or 2D code (encoded content, size of output, code type, minimum grade of readability) and so on.

3. What is the available time per mark?

Inform about the available net marking time per mark. “Net marking time” meaning here what is the available total time for the marking process itself. If you can’t provide a net marking time, provide as a proxy the cycle time of the manufacturing process which involves marking or the maximum throughput per hour.

4. Specify the kind of mark

State what kind of mark you need to see on your product. For example, is a high contrast necessary for machine readability or is a human-readable melt mark good enough? Or shall the mark come along with material removal (engraving) or the opposite is required, i.e. the mark shall be smooth? If possible, enclose a benchmark part, which shows what you want to get (at least).

Detail on the left: High-contrast marking (black/white marking) for optimum machine readability.
Human-readable melt mark for traceability on automotive part (venting valve).
Smooth mark on dental implant (annealing).

5. What kind of material is the to-be-marked product made of?

Give information about the type of material(s) provided. If you want or need to mark different materials with the one and same laser system, make that clear right from the beginning and define which of these materials must be markable or would be nice to be markable with the selected laser.

Day/night marking for automotive interiors on plastic switch.
Medical PEEK, marked with a fiber laser (polyetheretherketone).
Color Laser Marking on metal
Color marking on stainless steel.

As you can see, you can significantly influence how good the first test results will be for you and your team. But: Don’t worry if you cannot provide all these information, maybe because it is the first time that you deal with laser marking – laser experts will help and consult you.

More information

Checklist: How to prepare the acquisition of a laser marking machine
Applications consulting and application tests
Procedures for laser materials processing
Laser marking machines
Laser marking systems for integration