Over the past 30 years, fiber lasers have gradually become a premier technology in the industrial coding and marking field. Invented by American physicist Dr. Elias Snitzer in 1961, fiber laser systems were largely used for niche applications before technical advancements in the 1980s and 1990s allowed them to be used for industrial marking and cutting applications. Today, fiber lasers, alongside CO2 laser marking systems, are considered to be among the best coding technologies on the market.
The popularity of fiber laser marking machines is largely attributed to their ability to mark non-organic materials. Fiber laser systems produce wavelengths 10 times shorter than CO2 systems. In many cases, materials that cannot be marked by wavelengths produced by CO2 lasers can be marked with a fiber laser marking system. The ability of materials to absorb the shorter wavelength from a fiber laser creates a contrast, color change, or surface distortion in the substrate. Fiber lasers use the same marking delivery method as CO2 laser marking systems and have the ability to mark high-density materials like rigid plastics, steel, and aluminum, expanding the applications they can be used for.
However, not all fiber laser marking machines are created equal. If you’re on the search for a fiber laser system for your operation, here’s what you need to know.
When considering which fiber laser system will work best for you, several factors will guide your search. The most obvious starting point is confirming the machine is well-suited for marking applications. There are many fiber laser systems on the market, including models that are best suited for welding, drilling, and cutting applications.
The systems designed for welding, drilling, and cutting most often utilize continuous-wave beams as opposed to marking systems that typically utilize pulsed beams. While some fiber laser systems can generate both beam outputs, it’s essential to know that your potential system choices will generate the appropriate beam for your needs.
Beam output similarly affects which materials the system can mark and how quickly. Consequently, it’s essential to ask the following questions while searching for a laser marking system:
It’s important to determine the effectiveness of the laser marking system to produce the desired throughput and quality of the marking application. Always test the exact material to be marked with the exact laser marking system you intend to use.
A marking application must be evaluated thoroughly. Factors to consider include:
With this information, you should be able to find the best fiber laser marking machine to fit your operational needs. Next, we’ll look at the best places to begin your search.
As one of today’s premium marking technologies, fiber laser systems are available from a variety of sources. However, there are a few laser companies that maintain higher profiles than their competitors. To begin your fiber laser system search, we recommend starting with these five businesses:
Headquartered in Ditzingen, Germany, Trumpf has been manufacturing and distributing industrial equipment for nearly 100 years. It first entered the laser market by creating its own CO2 systems in the mid-1980s, and now it offers a wide range of laser systems, including its flagship fiber laser model, the TruFiber.
Compatible with stainless steel, titanium, aluminum, and copper, as well as plastics and textiles, TruFiber systems use pulsed beams to perform marking applications. To meet the needs of differently-sized businesses, TruFiber systems are available in different models, ranging from the high-powered TruFiber P to the compact TruMicro Series 2000.
Since 1974, Japanese company Keyence has kept a high international profile in the coding and marking industry. Known in the industrial printer sector for its continuous inkjet models, it’s also active in the fiber laser field, where its MD-F Series systems are widely popular.
Keyence differentiates MD-F Series fiber laser machines from the competition by focusing on its “Wobble Control,” i.e. the MD-F system’s circular marking pattern. Conventional laser systems mark materials by creating a series of overlapping single lines. In contrast, MD-F Series lasers are moved in circular patterns, keeping the energy more highly concentrated and thus more effective.
A titan of industrial printing, Domino Printing Sciences is one of the biggest names in the coding and marking industry. It first gained its reputation by designing high-powered continuous inkjet systems in the 1970s, but in August 1994, it expanded its product portfolio to include laser marking systems. Before long, Domino’s laser marking systems were adopted by some of the biggest companies in the world, including Dr. Pepper.
Today, Domino’s top fiber laser option is the F720i. Designed for use on industrial canning lines, the F720i fiber laser can mark up to 100,000 cans per hour with high-quality, fully traceable codes. Further, the system is designed to resist the challenging elements commonly found in industrial canning environments, such as high humidity, temperature changes, and sugar-filled air. As a result, the F270i is capable of delivering long periods of extended uptime for maximum efficiency.
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