Laser Marking Systems FAQ

You will find the following information here:

What is laser marking?

Laser marking is a non-contact printing method that marks or engraves high-quality 1D and 2D bar barcodes, multiple lines of text, batch number, lot codes, logos, etc., on various products for identification, tracking, and tracing purposes.
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What are the advantages of laser marking?

Laser marking systems offer reduced downtime, the elimination of most consumables (both for cost and environmental reasons), permanent marks, and reduced preventive maintenance costs associated with ink-based printers.
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Do laser marks wear off?

Laser marking systems produce permanent marks on materials such as glass, metal, plastic, rubber, and wood. The process alters precisely targeted areas of a product or package to create permanently marked barcodes, including DataMatrix codes, dates, lot and batch codes, logos and other marks. Marks cannot be removed other than by destroying the product’s surface.
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How does laser marking system work on metal and other substrates?

Laser marking systems can slightly engrave a metal surface to produce highly legible codes and other marks. The marking process takes a few milliseconds; the more characters that must be formed, the more time it takes. The power density emitted by the laser on the product determines the marking quality. Videojet offers both fiber and CO2 lasers with metal marking capabilities.
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What is the cost of a laser marker?

Videojet lasers marking systems using CO2, fiber, and UV technologies are available to suit a range of production and budget requirements. Contact Videojet for help in identifying the right technology and model for your operation.
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What is the difference between the various types and power levels of laser markers and which one is right for my application?

The different types of laser systems mainly vary based on the wavelength of the lasers that they emit, and the different power levels. The most important factor in choosing the right laser coder is the wavelength. The wavelength determines whether the laser will react with a material or not. Subsequently, the power and laser optics can be determined based on the speed required and the code size. Videojet offers laser marking systems with wavelengths of 10,600nm, 10,200 nm, 9,300 nm (CO2 lasers), 1064 nm (fiber lasers) and 355 nm (UV laser) along with power options ranging from 2W to 100W. Videojet laser experts can help you determine the right laser configuration best suited to your needs.
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What variables should be considered when selecting the appropriate laser marking system?

Factors to be included in evaluating the correct system consist of line speed, pitch (spacing) between products, substrate (material) to be marked, code content (amount and field size), environmental conditions, and integration needs.
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What interfacing options are available?

Videojet laser marking systems are available with the option of Videojet Touch Control Software (TCS+) with the TU440or a CLARiTY controller, an external touch screen operator interface, or a PC (with Videojet TCS+ or Smartgraph software). For connection to PLCs, there are optional Ethernet / IP™ and PROFINET industrial protocols.
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Do products need to be moving in order to be laser marked?

Videojet steered beam lasers can mark products in motion as they travel on a production line. They can also mark in a stationary or static mode where the product does not move.
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What is the typical preventive maintenance (PM) for the laser marking system?

Basic preventive maintenance is minimal: filters in the fume extractor must be changed periodically and front optics should also be checked and cleaned as needed. Depending on the operating conditions and usage, a more detailed PM is recommended on a yearly basis.
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What safety considerations are involved when using laser marking systems?

All Videojet lasers are considered Class IV and are recommended to be operated as Class I systems to ensure operator safety. This can be done by installing a beam shield around the point where the laser marks on the material. The design, dimensions, and material used to fabricate the beam shield are determined by the type of laser being used. Interlocks are normally included to stop operation if all the elements of the beam shield are not in proper position. Guarding is the responsibility of the buyer, but Videojet laser experts are happy to provide guidance on beam shields and, if necessary, provide a complete solution along with Class I certification from third-party providers.

In addition to the beam shield, Videojet also recommends the use of fume extractors to ensure operator safety. Fume extractors not only prevent the operators from inhaling fumes as a result of laser marking, but also help keep the laser optics clean and ensure code quality.
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How long does a laser marker typically last?

Laser marking systems are known to be reliable, and depending on the laser type, the expected laser source life is between 20,000 hours to 100,000 hours.
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Is a laser marking system capable of operating in humid and dusty environments?

Laser markers can withstand varying degrees of dust and water ingress depending on the IP ratings of the machines. Videojet offers laser markers with ratings up to IP69 with suitability for washdown and resistance to dust particles.
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