Laser marking is used on commonplace objects such as drinking glasses to brilliant bronze plates for decorative purposes. On an industrial scale, laser marking on stainless steel cuts and marks beams to be used for buildings.
See what laser marking does for various industries.
Identification in the Semiconductor and Electronics Industry
Lasers are used to identify and trace electronic parts. Components are marked to assure customers that they passed the company’s quality standards. Trademarks, serial numbers, and other identifying codes are also etched onto materials. Markings are also placed near openings and plugs to indicate where they fit.
Fiber, green and UV, and C02 lasers are the main marking systems used to create identification marks. Different wavelengths are applied to metal and non-metal materials to etch identifiers on superconductors and other electronics. Engravers match wavelengths with materials to ensure components are undamaged by the process.
Meeting the Standards in the Medical Industry
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration stipulated in 2013 to device labelers that they must apply Unique Device Identifiers (UDI) on medical devices. The UDI must have a form in plain text and one that uses automatic identification and data capture (AIDC) technology. Labels have the product and manufacturer name, device information and quantity, bar code, reference and lot numbers, and expiration date.
Laser marking is used to meet UDI standards. The process is precise enough to create product and device identifiers that humans and AIDC tech can read. Using lasers to put UDI on medical devices also has no adverse effect on the function of the device. The absence of a reaction on machine functionality is thanks to the lasers’ biocompatibility, or a material’s compatibility with living tissue.
Applications in the Aerospace and Automotive Industries
Both the automotive and aerospace industries have made extensive use of laser marking.
Safety belts, buttons, and ceramic spark plugs in cars are all marked with their functions, manufacturer names, and identification marks using lasers. This is done for all kinds of car parts to enhance their traceability. Product traceability is important to car manufacturers and part suppliers. If their parts are easy to track, they can be easy to recall in case of contamination or defects.Aerospace companies make the same use of lasers for their parts. Circuit boards, screws, cockpit avionic panels—if it has text on it, it’s likely engraved by lasers. Manufacturers using the tech eliminate tool wear because laser marking is a non-contact method of engraving. Lasers are also used extensively in aeronautic fabrication and maintenance. They’re used to cut, weld, de-ice and heat, and drill materials.
Industries across the board continue to devise ways to apply laser marking. Improving its safety is just one of them. In fact, sufficient progress was made in laser marking safety that it can be used on food without ill effect on the food or the people who consume it.
Extend this safety to yourself if you ever try laser marking at home. Wear safety gloves and goggles, work with easy materials at first, and have supplies at hand to mitigate possible accidents.