Laser ablation describes the layer-by-layer removal of material from component surfaces. Today the non-contact process is used, for example, to mark or engrave components or products made of different materials and to structure surfaces in order to improve them functionally or decoratively. More and more the laser is replacing mechanical processes.
Especially in industries such as medical technology or the watch and jewelry industry, precision ablation with laser technology is used in many ways. But laser ablation is also used in tool and machine construction or in the automotive industry.
In laser ablation, material is vaporized layer by layer. The ablated layer thicknesses are in the range of a few nm to a few µm. The process allows thicker materials to be machined. Due to the low heat input, it is also known as "cold" processing. The thermal stress on the component is minimal. The use of femtosecond lasers also prevents residues in the form of melt on the component surface. In addition, the ultrashort pulse laser enables the processing of special materials such as glass.
Fast and precise, material-friendly and residue-free
Suitable for special materials and larger material thicknesses
Suitable for complex component geometries
Tamper-proof marking and labeling
For laser ablation, we mainly use ultrashort pulse lasers. But of course fiber lasers are also available for our contract manufacturing and for our laser machines to realize different ablation processes:
Labeling and marking
Laser structuring typically means changing the properties of surfaces in a targeted manner and improving them depending on the specific application. The purpose can be quite different. We distinguish between functional and decorative optimization. For example, machining can be intended to modify the sliding or wetting properties of a surface in order to reduce the wear of tools or to increase static friction. On the other hand, medical surgical instruments are laser-structured to avoid reflections.
In contrast, the processing of products in the watch or jewelry industry is mainly about the decorative optimization of surfaces for fashion or aesthetic reasons.
Similar to structuring, laser marking also provides an optical or functional enhancement of surfaces.
Labeling or marking often helps to clearly identify components. Bar or data matrix codes, for example, are used to make products or components traceable.
But of course, products from the jewelry or watchmaking industry can also be given a decorative upgrade by adding lettering or graphics.
A special form of marking is "tempering". This process is characterized by the fact that no material is removed. Instead, a color change occurs as a result of a structural change, as in the case of so-called "black marking" or "white marking". The corrosion resistance is not negatively affected.
Laser engraving also removes material layer by layer. This means that characters, logos or images can be engraved into very hard materials such as glass or ceramics.
The main difference between deep engraving and marking is the depth of the structures applied. The resulting surfaces are smooth and the cutting edges are burr-free.
A special form of engraving is the so-called scribing. This involves the creation of predetermined breaking points by engraving deep structures into hard and brittle surfaces.