Laser Etching and Engraving: How Do They Differ?

Laser technology has changed the way manufacturing companies approach production. Laser machines are used to create designs, patterns, letters, and other key visuals for various products and items, allowing companies to customise them easily. There are two main types of approaches: laser engraving and laser etching aluminium.

Stainless steel engraving and etching are often used interchangeably, but the actual procedure, results, and material compatibility are largely different. To help you understand their contrasts and whether they might be for your application, continue reading our discussion below:

Laser Etching

Laser etching aims to leave designs and markings using a high-powered laser. To create the designs, a machine leaves raised marks on the surface of the material, which are then hit by the laser beam and electrifying the surface. The material absorbs the energy and starts heating up, expanding the surface and changing its colour and texture.

Laser etching is also faster than laser engraving since it requires less energy and only heats the surface rather than removing material.

The reflection-to-absorption ratio affects the resulting colour of the etch, whether it will be black, grey, or white. If you prefer raised marks over carved ones, laser etching is your ideal solution.

When to Use Laser Etching

  • Your material is metal, except stainless steel
  • You need faster turnaround times with lower lead times
  • You need to use laser marking before non-abrasive treatments, such as heat treating and powder coating

Laser Engraving

On the other hand, laser engraving creates designs, letters, and other visuals on materials by removing or vaporising the surface. Instead of simply raising bumps on the surface via heat, laser engraving digs through the materials with the help of a computerised system. A laser engraving machine has a maximum engraving depth of 500 microns.

Laser engraving creates more durable, long-lasting marks than laser etching. The impressed area can withstand environmental conditions since it does not make the material malleable.

When to Use Laser Engraving

  • You are working on aluminium or steel
  • Durability is your top priority
  • You need to use laser marking before using abrasive treatments like sandblasting and shot blasting

Explore Laser-Etched and Engraved Products

Are you curious to know more about laser etching and engraving? Visit Artcom Fabrication to discover the best laser manufacturing solutions in Australia.