Laser technology has been present for a long time, and because of that, its applications are constantly increasing. From welding methods, to now surface cleaning and de-rusting as well as marking, lasers offer us a lot.
In general, lasers are divided into fiber and carbon dioxide lasers. However, not everyone knows their differences, as well as their applications. Depending on the situation, they both have their advantages and disadvantages.
In this article, we’ll talk exactly about cleaning and marking laser machines and the differences between them. This will help in learning more about their properties, and deciding which machine is more suitable for your situation. Keep reading and find out more.
Ways for metal processing
When it comes to metal processing by using rays, there are two major methods.
The first method is called marking, where the features of the metal are altered and contrast is obtained. This is done with the help of a laser marking machine through an oxidation process, as suggested by https://hispeedlaser.com/.
By slow heating of the metal, the carbon is brought to the upper layer where the oxidation is done. With that, there is no damage to the material which results in markings with a completely smooth finish.
Normally, by using this machine, you can mark other non-metal objects. However, that is not done by oxidation but rather with interference with the surface molecules.
Among the main features that ray marking provides are smooth surfaces and marking that prevent the formation of rust and bacteria collection. Also, the markings can be done in various colors, by adjusting the power of the ray, its speed, and the frequency of the pulses. However, marking is a slower process than cleaning.
The second method is called ablation or cleaning of the upper layers, where the surface layer of the metal is removed with the help of a ray. This process is quick since the laser’s power is usually stronger and ablates the upper layer of the metal.
However, it is important to understand the verges of destruction each metal has. With that, you can adjust the power of the beam, and target only the wanted layer. Ray ablation can be used in engraving emblems and names, which is usually done before the coating of the metal.
Also, rays can be used to free metals from corrosion and other deposits such as grease, paint, or dirt. It is important to understand that the surrounding metal is not affected by this process, since there is no heat exposure and the quality of the steel remains.
Fiber is the first system we’ll go through, and it is usually used for ablative purposes, but marking can be done as well. It has a galvo unit installed which is a series of mirrors that move to accurately point the beam in the wanted area. Also, they have integrated scanner that controls movement and aid in situations with differently shaped objects and various textures. This makes them highly precise.
Such lasers can be paired with computerized numerical control and produce automation for assembly line needs.
The fiber lasers can anneal or alter the features of the metal. They work with various colors and metal cleaning purposes. The application of fiber units can be done on most metals including steel, copper, polyvinyl chloride, and lots of other materials.
Fiber lasers advantages
Fiber lasers offer various benefits, starting from a vast number of materials you can work on. Also, the applications are permanent, meaning they cannot be altered and they are of high quality.
This machine does not cause pollution, since chemical use is not needed. Even the gas that is a laser can be extracted by using a special exhaust attached to the unit.
The working life of fiber units is around a hundred thousand hours, which makes them long-lasting. Also, there is almost no chance of failure, and there is almost no need for maintenance. The system is extremely easy to use, and there is also a CAD application that you can use for vectors.
As mentioned above, the fiber systems are fast, and can even reach a speed of eight thousand millimeters in a second.
Carbon dioxide lasers
Carbon dioxide units serve a great purpose as marking machines. This specific system is great for objects that cannot tolerate heat, and are much more precise. Also, they are highly sustainable since they are gaining photons from a high percentage of the power compared to alternatives.
In addition, their maintenance is also rarely needed and is usually low-cost. The easiness of operation is another benefit that carbon dioxide lasers provide. You only need to create the design on your computer and transfer it to the unit, using the USB connection that it has.
Carbon Dioxide laser material applications
What makes this system so good is the gentleness with which it works. With this, very delicate objects can be marked, and the emblems can be extremely precise. Some of these materials include:
As a plastic polymer, acryl is one of the most interesting and affordable materials you can work with. The delicacy of the carbon dioxide beam makes it easy for you to engrave letters and emblems as well as create jewelry.
The leather industry is an important place where carbon dioxide lasers can be used. With that, you can make various designs and add a personal touch to belts, wallets, bags, and lots of other products.
Personalizing glass items such as cups and bottles is another current trend. With that, the marking CO2 machine can help in creating designs and engraving them. However, this beam cannot help in cutting the glass materials.
Paper is among the most used materials globally and is great when paired with a CO2 marking machine. With that, you can create business cards and other products that can significantly improve the marketing of a company.
Metal objects are not as good as these other materials when combined with a CO2 marking machine. While you can use this beam for engraving, if you are centered on metalwork, it is best to go with the fiber system instead.
By using the CO2 marking machine, you can easily mark and cut wooden items which makes it highly interesting. While plywood is the most used variant, you can surely try all the other wood products including bamboo as the best option for our environment.
After going through the features that each laser has to offer, and the different materials they are better to work with, you surely have an idea of which system is better for you. In case you have more questions, consulting with manufacturers would surely be a great idea to learn more about them.