The rise of laser cutting and engraving has become a game-changer in various industries, yet, a veil of oblivion often shrouds the public’s understanding of this critical practice. Why is it suddenly so popular, you may ask? How does it work, and why should it concern you? Let’s unleash the secrets of laser cutting, marking, and engraving together!
The Wide Reach of Laser Cutters and Engravers
Industries from medical and scientific research to automotive, aerospace, funeral homes, trophy manufacturing, and municipal forged pieces have found laser cutting and engraving indispensable. The appeal is undeniable: Durable marking, from precise lettering and detailed pictographs to efficient barcodes and DataMatrix laser markings, all made possible by the power of lasers.
Traceability, the ability to trace a product back to its origin, is a key benefit that underscores the importance of laser marking in today’s data-centric world. In fact, many government organizations, like the FAA, have recognized the necessity of traceability, establishing it as a standard practice.
The Science Behind Laser Cutting, Marking, and Engraving
You won’t be able to spot the laser in your infrared CO2 laser or fiber laser, or even the ultraviolet range Nd:YAG laser. That’s because they operate outside the visible light range of the electromagnetic spectrum.
So, how do lasers work? They rely on mass-less particles known as photons, which travel in wave patterns. When directed coherently, these photons create the powerful beam we know as a laser.
The concept of frequency and amplitude play a key role in understanding how lasers work. Frequency is determined by the number of peaks a wave has in a given period of time (measured in Hertz (Hz)). The wave’s “height” is known as its amplitude. The higher the amplitude, the more energy it carries.
To put things into perspective, the radio waves your phone, WiFi, TV, and radios use fall between 3MHz and 300GHz. This means they peak anywhere from 3,000,000 to 300,000,000,000 times per second. Impressive, isn’t it?
Unleashing the Power of Laser
Lasers concentrate all the photon energy at a specific frequency range onto a single spot. When the amplitude increases and is maintained over a longer duration, the spot heats up. As the metal heats, it oxidizes faster—resulting in marking. The heat penetrates only a few micrometers in depth.
As the metal receives more energy and heat, it begins to melt slightly. This melting process leads to vaporization—this is the engraving phase.
The power and duration increase further, and the heat penetrates deeper into the material. While some of the heated material vaporizes, not all can escape this way. Instead, a pressurized noble gas, like argon, is used to push the molten metal away. Voila, we’re cutting metal.
Unleashing the Benefits of Laser Cutting and Engraving
Incorporating a laser cutter and engraver into your manufacturing processes can enrich your production and compliance with regulations. It’s a captivating world where cutting-edge technology meets intricate science. Now, the next time you encounter discussions about 5G technology, lasers, or nuclear radiation, you’ll have the knowledge to understand and participate.
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