Introduction to Laser Marking and Engraving Systems

Almost all laser marking systems can be broken into categories with two types of motion systems – Flying Optics Systems (Gantry Style) and Steered Beam Systems (Galvo Driven) and two types of lasers- 1064 nm wavelength (Fiber and YAG lasers) and 10,600 nm wavelength (CO2 lasers).

Each type of motion system has its own advantages and disadvantages and each type of laser is only suited for some materials. There is no such thing as a laser marking system that is well suited for every application or every type of material.

Flying Optics Gantry Style Systems- This type of system has the advantage of large marking areas. The marking area can be as large as the travel of the gantry system that moves the focusing lens over the workpiece. The disadvantages of gantry style systems is that they are slow simply because by the speed of the gantry and more maintenance intensive because of the number of moving parts.

Steered Beam Galvo Driven Systems- These types of systems have the advantage of being lightning fast compared to gantry systems and have no maintenance associated with them because the only moving parts are the mirrors mounted on galvanometers inside of the scan head. The disadvantage of galvo driven systems is that they are limited in the size of the marking area by the flat field focusing lens. Typical marking field sizes range from 5 inches square up to 12 inches square. Jimani only works with and builds Steered Beam Galvo Driven Laser Marking and Engraving Systems.

The material being marked or engraved determines which wavelength (color) of laser light is appropriate. If one wanted to mark wood, for example, the optimum wavelength of light for that material is that produced by a CO2 laser. If one wanted to mark metals, the optimum wavelength would be that produced by a YAG or fiber laser. The material to be marked dictates the type of laser that is needed. There is no such thing as a laser that is well-suited for all materials. Fiber Lasers have replaced YAG lasers for almost all 1064 nm marking and engraving applications. The reasons have to do with both price and operating costs, maintenance, power efficiency and laser power output capabilities. Jimani builds both CO2 and Fiber Laser Marking and Engraving Systems.

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