We are seeing an increasing number of enquiries, from companies needing custom information engraved onto mould tool inserts or directly onto the mould tool. In the example shown, the test block on the left shows three depth samples for the customer, while the image on the right, shows two finished inserts with the image to the selected depth and of course the image inverted for moulding.
Under normal circumstances, deep engraving is not a commercially viable option due to the length of time the process takes however, in the case of mould tool inserts and mould tools, the time and cost of currently producing them, makes the laser process very competitive. In most cases the total cost being below £100 per insert for laser engraving. In addition, the solution is a single process which means that turnaround times are much quicker than more traditional methods.
The process involves the laser removing very thin layers of material, as it reproduces the image in multiple passes. With a laser spot size of less than 150 microns, the definition (we are told) is better, especially on smaller characters, and the surface finish in the profile is more than acceptable. Using the laser parameters, we can select power, speed and the beam overlap criteria, to finish off the profile with fine surface finishes. By optimising the power, we are able to control the heat generation, so that there is no distortion created and by controlling pulse and overlap detail, we minimise the amount of raisure normally associated with deep engraving (raisure is a burr type effect created around the edge of the image).
Many of the areas for inserting information are not flat, as in the image. While there are some restrictions with marking onto curved surfaces, it does work and if controlled, creates more than acceptable results.
If you would like further information on this laser application, or any other application, please request a call back or talk to one of our laser marking specialists on 01737 826902.