A start-up company wanted to experiment with lasers, with a view to offering some form of personalisation, on a range of jewellery being offered to its potential market.
The majority of the products were based around gold plated finishing. The Nd:YAG seemed to provide the greatest flexibility, enhanced by the larger spot size of the beam. It was felt that the larger beam size provided high contrast and visibility of the mark on the highly reflective gold surfaces. In the example shown, the vaporisation to the surface is through the gold plating and nickel down to the base materials, where the surface oxidisation is providing the black mark aspect that you see. While this might seem like over kill, that customer wanted to see the highest impact possible before making a final decision on marking parameters.
While it would be more ideal to laser mark before plating, logistically this would not work. In the first instance, the customer would work through the subcontract marking route, until numbers were such, that the logistical aspect would easily justify the purchase of a machine.
Gold is not compatible with the thermal-bonding process known as Thermark, so this could not be used to achieve higher levels of contrast to the surface.
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