Industrial Laser Services
2D engraving is a method that uses the Z-plane direction to engrave material through the removal of material with the pulse of a laser. This form is best for products such as coining or arms.
Two-dimensional engraving is a laser ablation process of projecting an image onto the surface of the part and removing material layer by layer. The natural depth of focus in the laser’s F-Theta lens allows for small incremental removal of material in the Z-plane direction, while the physical position of the laser remains constant. This process is best utilized on flat or nearly flat parts comprised of alloy material. Engraving depths of 0.00025" to 0.040" can be achieved in cycles 3–5 times faster than traditional milling, mechanical engraving or EDM (erosion) processes. Markets such as injection molding, blow molding, tool and die, coining, knives, arms, and many more use lasers for this type of high-quality engraving.
The key differences between 2D and 3D engraving are based on the 3D engraving laser’s ability to work on complex surfaces that do not lay flat, as well as its movement in the direction of laser focus which allows for a deeper engraving.
Three-dimensional engraving is a multi-faceted technology. In comparison to two-dimensional engraving, in three-dimensional engraving the laser is still used to remove material from the base part layer by layer. In contrast, the laser and scan head/galvo head are typically moving down (in the direction of material removal) to allow for much deeper and higher quality engravings. This laser movement also allows for two additional key functions: the part no longer needs to be flat, allowing for more complex or geometric surface pieces to be processed; the controlled movement of the scan head also allows for deeper engraving than that of a two-dimensional engraving.
Laser Texturing & Structuring
This process is used on many products that we interact with in our daily lives. It includes creating texture or structured contrast on a part—similar to that of a grip portion of a cell phone case.
Laser texturing is a segment offshoot of the core 3D engraving process. This process uses the same concept as 3D engraving, but it is used to create a textured or structured relief in the part. This type of texture or structure can be found everywhere in daily life. From aesthetic texture on the dash board of a car to a functional texture on the steering wheel, to a grip portion of a cell phone case. The texture process can be accomplished on molds and transferred to parts. It can also be processed directly onto metal or plastic parts for everyday function.
Laser Hole Drilling
This process creates small holes in material, which is achieved by pulsing a laser beam on a specific area.
Laser hole drilling uses either a scan head-driven or fixed optic laser system to drill a hole of a specific size into a part or product. With a scan head-based system, a depth-to-width aspect ratio of up to 3:1 can be achieved for micro hole drilling. With fixed optic pulsed lasers, an aspect ratio of up to 20:1 can be reached. The most common industries where this technology is used are automotive, electronics and aerospace.