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Engraving precious metals with fiber lasers

Engraving precious metals with fiber lasers is booming. What was reserved for a few in recent years is becoming more and more accessible due to the improved Chinese laser source suppliers. Fiber lasers have improved in recent years in terms of lifespan, laser power and machine costs. This has made laser engraving, laser marking and laser cutting of (precious) metals available to many.

noble-metal-machining-with-laser technology
Various fiber laser engraving machines for laser engraving metals

Want to get a quote, demonstration or your own material? 

You are most welcome to see if fiber laser engraving technology is a suitable solution for your engraving or marking application or application. Bring your digital design or material with you to a demonstration and we can view the result on the spot. Of course you can also send it.

The rise of the fiber laser engraving machine

Fiber lasers emit a laser beam with a frequency of 1064nm that was previously often produced by YAG sources. Besides expensive, Yag was often less stable, which meant that source costs were high. Fiber sources have recently become very stable and claims of 50-100k lifespan are no longer exceptional. Fibers are available in ever-increasing capacities. 10W has long ceased to be the basis, but ranges of 10-50W for engraving and 300-2kW for cutting (precious) metals are available stably from the top suppliers. By using the top suppliers in China, quality, delivery and support are guaranteed and many questions can be met. This has recently been underlined by large companies, such as Apple, who mark their phones with the necessary production numbering and CE labels.

How does a fiber laser engraving machine work?

Engraving / marking lasers are available between 10-50W. 10W is suitable for various plastics, but a minimum of 20W is required for metal. The laser beam is controlled by means of mirrors, which means that a high processing speed of up to 1500 mm/sec can be achieved. The disadvantage of using the mirrors is the limited work surface. Because the laser beam is focused after the mirrors, the convexity of parts is equally connected to the work surface. The more convex the lens, the smaller the focus distance, the more powerful the laser is in the focal point, but the smaller the range around the focus point. This range is linked to the work area. Working areas with 65×65 and 100x100mm are the standard solutions, but can be enlarged to 150×150 and 200x200mm. The best choice can be determined on the basis of the object to be processed and the materials to be processed.

How does a fiber laser work
Mirror head of a fiber laser

Engraving in metal in color

The latest sources give access to the use of short pulses. These can not only engrave and cut thin metal, but also permanently discolour stainless steel. Blue, yellow, green and red, colors that also appear in welded stainless steel objects, can be applied in a controlled manner in addition to the standard dark gray highlight colors. By using different pulse lengths, frequencies and powers the colors are applied in a controlled manner and this gives a new dimension in the creation of different surface structures.

MOPA marking laser
MOPA fiber laser for color laser engraving
laser safety fiber laser set

Laser safety of fiber engraving lasers

To be able to safely apply fiber lasers, MetaQuip has closed machines that comply with laser safety standards. This allows an employee to work safely and directly next to the machine. A closed machine is not suitable for all applications and open machines have also been developed for this.
These can be used safely within the Working Conditions Act if the user strictly adheres to the rules. Safety glasses and warning signs / stickers should make the room laser safe. For this, the operators must be trained and provided with certified materials, possibly an expert who can assess the set-up and layout on site. For cutting lasers, an open fiber laser is only possible if adequate laser protection is included in the room, this must be determined in consultation with an expert.
If you want to purchase a cutting laser, always ask for the external inspection report for laser safety, this can always be offered for inspection at MetaQuip, after all, safety comes first.

Applications & materials – engraving precious metals with fiber lasers

Fiber lasers are widely used in the manufacturing industry for marking parts or products. Easy placement of logos, type numbers, QR and barcodes. We also see many applications in the creative industry, such as jewelers, but also for personalizing promotional gifts or smartphones.

Materials that can be engraved with a fiber laser are all metals (such as stainless steel, iron, steel, metal, silver, gold, titanium etc.) but also a number of plastics (such as ABS), mirrors and natural stone (slate, marble, granite). Go to the complete bill of materials ...

Do you want to know if a fiber laser is suitable for engraving your material? With some simple tests we can quickly determine together what the best possible result is.

Applications for jewelers

Applying fiber laser in precious metal processing offers various possibilities. Usually marking lasers are sufficient in terms of strength and processing surface, because silver and gold jewelry are usually not very large in size. By lasering the patterns repeatedly on the object, it is possible to cut through 1.5 mm gold / silver in 1 to 3 steps. In addition to cutting, the laser can be used to mark complex patterns on the object so that designs can be converted from digital directly onto the object. Structuring surfaces, from matting to patterns, can give new structures to jewelry and, for example, decorate watch dials. By using the latest technology, stainless steel can be decorated with colored parts in addition to standard engraving, thus realizing unique new applications and designs. For round objects such as rings, a rotation head is a possibility to distribute the engraving well over the circumference.

Silver laser engraving
Laser engraving jewels
Laser engraving rings
Mes laser engraving
Laser engraving of knives
Nameplate laser engraving
Laser engraving of promotional gifts

Applications of fiber laser engraving machines for industry

Applying fibers in the metal or production industry is often twofold. Marking is used to apply data matrix or QR codes during production to apply unique information to the product, so that further in the production process or during maintenance, it can quickly be found which components are involved. In addition, logos, but also rulers or other markings or structures can be applied to add value to the product. Simple examples are entire types of plates which can be applied directly to the product or to a separate piece of metal individually. The supplied software can retrieve the necessary information directly from Excel or text files and thus avoid the need to enter everything manually.
The larger fiber lasers are used for processing/cutting metal. Direct CAD/CAM links make it possible to read DXF files, to apply offset if necessary and to cut them evenly based on a library of settings.

Laser marking aluminum type plate fiber laser engraving machine
Barcodes, EAN codes, QR codes on metal

More information

Fiber laser engraving machines, a technology that can give metalworking the next step, also possible for your application. Please contact us to see what fiber lasers can do for you.