Buying a laser marking system is a large purchasing decision that requires planning and research. Here are the main specifications and considerations necessary for tackling the laser system buying process.
Buy vs. Job Shop
One of the biggest factors that should to be thought through before buying a laser marking system is whether or not buying a system is the best decision. Utilizing a job shop, rather than buying your own in-house system, can often time be the most cost-effective solution.
For instance, applications with very low volume or long periods between laser marking requirements can sometimes find that outsourcing their laser marking is, in the long-run, less expensive than purchasing and operating a system in-house. You should consider if you have enough work to keep an in-house system operational and running for enough hours in the day to justify the equipment and operating costs.
Personnel is also something that should be considered when weighing these two options. Do you already have someone in-house with the skills to operate a laser marking system? If not, are you prepared to hire someone to fill that skill gap? Are you willing to fund training for existing personnel and absorb the opportunity costs associated with losing them part time to operating your laser system?
Conversely, there are factors that can tip the scales in favor of buying a laser system. Shipping your products to an outside job shop, for instance, might be very costly. Large, fragile, or heavy parts can all make shipping prohibitively expensive, especially if parts need to be marked often.
For some applications, there is a consideration of trust and quality to keep in mind. Can you trust an outside job shop to handle your products to your standards? Will you need to invest a significant amount of time into checking the outsourced product before you are able to utilize it?
Weighing out these considerations should be a necessary step in your decision-making process. For some applications, especially high-volume applications, the choice is clear. However, it is worth taking the time to consider all of your options.
What are You Marking
Once you have made the determination that in-house laser marking is more cost-effective than outsourcing to a job shop, one of the most important considerations for buying a laser system is what you will be marking.
- Before shopping around for a system, you need to know:
- The materials you will be marking
- What you will be marking (text, logos, etc.)
- Will the laser be integrated into an existing system, like an assembly line, or will a stand-alone unit work?
- Are there mark depth or cycle time requirements?
Each of these aspects of your application will help determine the type of laser system that is best for your application, as well as the price. In fact, pricing a laser system is an important part of buying a laser. We’ve written extensively about what impacts the price of a laser marking system, and understanding what goes into that price is an important part of buying a laser. Reading Pricing a Fiber Laser Marking System is a good next step for those interested in buying a laser.
Contact Jimani and see what they can do for you with a state of the art laser marking system.