Laser marking aluminium, is a widely accepted process across many industries, including medical and pharmecuticals. The aluminium can be anodised with a coloured dye, clear, or as in this case, plain aluminium. The nature of its application, means it does not require any finish to the material.
Material quality effects laser marking aluminium
When laser marking aluminium, the quality of the material determines what level of quality the marking achieves. In some cases, where the alloy content of the aluminium is low a small grain structure is present, an almost white resulting mark can be generated. With the larger grain structure, full vapourisation may not occur, leaving rough edges or raisures to the mark area.
Both CO2 and Nd:YAG can be used when laser marking aluminium. Nd:YAG provides a much faster process time and mark quality due to spot sizes available. They tend to be much smaller than on CO2. The image shown is laser marking by Nd:YAG, and in this example, the contrast is created by the roughness caused against the polished surface.
In some instances, the aluminum will burn providing a grey effect to the mark. If time allows, it is always a good idea to repeat the process, using much lower power levels to skim the surface and remove the burn effect.
High speed applications
In many high volume applications, such as this, the laser marking of the aluminium can be performed by CO2 TEA lasers. These mask based systems fire a large format spot through a metal mask containing all the data. Batch codes or sell by dates being good examples.
The marking information, seen in the photo, does not directly reflect the actual marking used for the application.
If you would like further information on this laser marking application or any other application please request a call back or talk to one of our laser marking specialists on 01737 826902.