Marking is generally considered a “Surface mark”. Where there is no actual penetration or removal of material during the process.
Laser Annealing is a surface heat-tempering mark. The heat effect of the laser beam causes an oxidation process underneath the material surface, resulting in a color change on the metal surface. Most commonly done on Stainless Steel or Titanium, resulting in a crisp and clean rich black mark(Sometimes other colors). This mark is smooth to the touch, and extremely durable.
Carbon migration is another type of laser marking in which a metal or metal alloy is heated, causing said metal to chemically bond with its carbon molecules. This bonding brings the carbon properties to the surface of your material. When this occurs, it will often result in a dark laser marking that can even be black. This type of marking is a faster process than annealing because it provides a high amount of heat to a smaller area within a more rapid time period. Only metals containing carbon can utilize this type of laser marking.
Common metals for carbon migration:
- Stainless Steel
- Steel -Carbide
Foam laser marking is used when a plastic is darker and the desired end result is a lighter color (usually white, gold, or various tan shades). This change in color occurs by creating a molten burn on the surface that is both contained and controlled. When the surface is melted, it creates an atmosphere of foaming gas bubbles.
Engraving and etching generally refers to material being removed or penetrated during the process.
Engraving is where material is removed during the laser process. This results in a deeper mark where you can feel the edges. The depth will greatly depend on material and desired results.
Etching is a process very similar to engraving, but where the depth generally reaches no more than 0.0001″.