UV laser marking machines have seen significant advancements in recent years. If you’ve heard about the incredible personalized projects these machines can create, you might be considering investing in one. With the right UV laser engraver, you can permanently etch graphics onto a variety of materials including plastic, acrylic, glass, crystal, metal, wood, and paper. The STJ-3KC from Hymson Laser even allows you to etch 3D graphics onto the subsurface of crystals.
There’s a vast array of UV laser marking machines available in the market today, each boasting different features to cater to various needs and budgets. But before you dive in and make a purchase, there are some important factors to understand. This guide will help you make an informed decision on which laser engraver to buy.
What is a UV Laser Marking Machine?
A UV laser marking machine is a type of laser engraving system that uses a 355nm ultraviolet laser wavelength for fine etchings and engravings. Due to its high repetition rate, it’s especially used for etching plastics (ABS, PA, PE, PP, PS, PC, PLA, PVC, POM, PMMA), silicon, ceramic, glass, wood, metal, and papers. UV laser engravers can reach very high speeds, which are indispensable for short cycle times in industrial manufacturing environments. You can also use it to cut leathers. With high peak powers, it can be used for fine marking and structuring with drastically reduced risk of micro fracture on ceramics and glass.
How Does a UV Laser Marking Machine Work?
The UV laser marking machine operates by using a beam to imprint permanent marks on the surface of various materials. The marking effect is achieved by exposing the deep material through the evaporation of the surface material, or by “carving” traces through the chemical and physical changes of the surface material caused by light energy. Alternatively, it can burn off partial material through light energy to display the required etching patterns and text.
This machine is developed using a 355nm UV laser. Compared to infrared lasers, it adopts three-stage intracavity frequency doubling technology, resulting in a very small focus spot. This greatly reduces the mechanical deformation and processing of materials, and the heat influence is minimal.
UV laser marking is a type of cold etching. The process of UV laser etching is called “photoetching” effect. “Cold engraving” involves high-energy (ultraviolet) photons that can break chemical bonds in materials (especially organic materials) or surrounding media, causing the material to undergo non-thermal process destruction. This results in no heating or thermal deformation on the inner layer and nearby areas of the engraved surface.
What are the Applications of a UV Laser Marking Machine?
The UV laser marking machine, with its high performance and ultra-fine features, is suitable for high-precision marking of precision electronic components, plastics, leather, and woodworking projects. It’s particularly apt for ultra-fine marking the surface of packaging bottles for cosmetics, medicines, food, and other polymer materials. The results are fine, clear, and firm markings that are superior to ink printing and free from pollution. It can also be used for high-speed division of glass materials and complex pattern cutting of silicon wafers.
This machine can mark and dice flexible PCB boards, process micro-holes and blind holes in silicon wafers, and mark two-dimensional codes on LCD liquid crystal glass. It can also punch the surface of glassware, mark the surface of metal coatings, and mark plastic buttons, electronic components, gifts, communication equipment, building materials, and more.
The UV laser etching machine shows extremely high absorptivity whenapplied to resin and brass, and it also has an appropriate absorptivity when processing glass. Only the expensive excimer laser (wavelength 248nm) can get better overall absorption rate when processing these main materials. This material difference makes UV lasers the best choice for various PCB material applications in many industrial fields, from the production of the most basic circuit boards, circuit wiring, to the production of pocket-sized embedded chips and other advanced processes.
Materials Suitable for UV Laser Marking
UV laser engraving machine can provide an excellent beam quality for micro fine marking applications (electronics, microchips and circuit boards) and classical marking applications.
UV laser engravers from Hymson Laser are available in different power ranges, which meet customer’s different etching requirements.
Ultraviolet laser engravers can be used to mark, etch and engraver a wide range of materials:
- Almost all plastics can be engraved with Ultraviolet lasers, including ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), PA (Nylon), PC (Polycarbonate), PE (Polyethylene), PP (Polypropylene), PS (Polystyrene), PLA (Polylactic Acid), PMMA (Acrylic), POM (Polyoxymethylene & Acetal), and PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride).
- Metals can be engraved and marked with Ultraviolet lasers, but it does not have the same effect as a fiber laser. Fiber laser generators can etch deep and clear effects on metal surfaces, while UV laser generators have problems when etching coated metals or reflective metals like copper. Metal materials that can be engraved by Ultraviolet lasers include Titanium, Gold, Silver, Stainless Steel, Chrome, Platinum, Aluminium, and Brass.
- Wood materials such as Plywood, MDF, Fibreboard, Walnut, Ash, Oak, Birch, Mahogany, Cherry, Maple, Pine, Larch, Cedar, Spruce, and Fir can also be etched and marked with Ultraviolet lasers.
- In addition, it can also mark garments rich in synthetic fibers. Leather, glass, crystal, paperboard, and cardboard are of course no exception.
Technical Parameters of a UV Laser Marking Machine
- Brand: Hymson Laser
- Laser Type: Ultraviolet Laser
- Laser Power: 3W, 5W
- Laser Wavelength: 355 nm
- Applications: Plastic, Crystal, Silicon, Ceramic, Glass, Metal, Wood, Leather, Paper
- Price Range: $5,400.00 – $22,000.00
Features & Advantages of a UV Laser Marking Machine
UV laser marking is a cold engraving method. Its marking accuracy is high in visible light and infrared band lasers. Under the same conditions, the shorter the wavelength, the smaller the focused spot (the shorter the wavelength, the single photon The greater the energy will be). Visible light and infrared band lasers rely on thermal effects to mark on evaporated materials, but ultraviolet laser can directly break a chemical bond of the material, which is the separation of molecules from the object. The heat-affected area of processing is relatively small, and it can be used for very fine and special materials. Because this marking method has almost no thermal effect, it is also known as cold engraving.
When juxtaposed with conventional laser markers, the Ultraviolet (UV) laser marking machine from Hymson Laser stands out due to its extraordinarily small spot size. This feature results in a reduced heat-affected zone, thereby minimizing thermal deformation. Coupled with its lower power consumption and enhanced precision, it is an ideal choice for ultra-fine marking environments such as food and pharmaceutical packaging, glass segmentation, electronic components, and metal jewelry marking.
The UV laser marking system is versatile, capable of marking nearly all materials with an efficacy that surpasses other machines. While the initial investment may be substantial, the practical benefits it offers are significant.
Key Features of the Hymson Laser UV Marking System
- Superior Beam Quality: The system boasts a high-quality beam and an exceptionally small spot size, enabling ultra-fine marking.
- Fine Marking: The diameter of the laser spot is largely influenced by the light’s wavelength. The UV wavelength (355 nm) is a third of the basic wavelength (1064 nm), allowing for a reduced spot size and enabling marking within a confined space.
- High-Precision Marking Head: The galvo-type marking head ensures a fine marking effect and repeatable processing.
- Precision Spot: The system’s high-precision and meticulous spot guarantees flawless marking results.
- Non-Contact Process: The marking process is non-contact, and the marking effect is permanent.
- Wide Application Range: The UV laser marking machines have a broad range of applications.
- Minimal Heat-Affected Zone: The heat-affected area is very small, preventing thermal effects, material deformation, or burning, thereby avoiding damage to the processed material.
- High Efficiency: The marking speed is fast and the efficiency is high. It has high average power and high repetition frequency, so the marking speed is faster, which can effectively improve the production efficiency.
- Stable Performance: The entire machine exhibits stable performance, compact size, and low power consumption.
- Ideal for Thermally Responsive Materials: It is more suitable for processing materials with large thermal radiation response.
- Integration with Production Line: It can cooperate with the production line, automatic loading and unloading, automatic feeding and discharging.
- Versatility: It is suitable for marking on most metal and non-metal materials.
UV laser marking machines range from $5,400 to $20,000. Hobby laser engraver prices range between $5,400 – $7,800 with basic engraving capabilities. Professional UV laser engraving machines start at $12,000, that is much more technologically advanced.
The price rises with higher power, larger table size and higher marking speed. But there is much more to it than just the purchasing price, such as the fee of customs clearance, tax, and shipping costs. The final costs will depend on your specific needs and place of receipt.
Care & Maintenance
- Environment Requirements: Compared with other laser sources, its use environment requirements are stricter.• The working environment of the machine is cleaned frequently.
• The working environment temperature of the machine should be kept at 16-28°C and humidity 45-75%.
• It should not be placed next to equipment that vibrates heavily such as presses and other machine tools.
• The environmental requirement of the processing site is smoke-free.
- Material Limitations: Due to its low power, it is not recommended for customers to mark metal or products with hard materials and marking depth requirements.
- Cooling Requirements: If water cooling is used for cooling, it is required to use pure water, deionized water or distilled water. Tap water, mineral water and other liquids containing high metal ions or other minerals cannot be used.
- Installation Requirements: The equipment should be well grounded and avoid machine vibration as much as possible.
- Cleaning Guidelines: Do not use corrosive reagents to clean all parts of the machine.
- Handling Precautions: The conveyor belt connecting the cavity and the cabinet is fragile, please do not bend it or be squeezed by heavy objects.
- Operational Guidelines: Please do not switch the machine on and off frequently, and it can be turned on at least 3 minutes after it is turned off.
- Support Guidelines: For machines that use casters and foot cups at the same time, after the machine position is fixed, please use the foot cups to support the machine. This will not only stabilize the machine, but also avoid deformation and damage of the casters caused by long-term pressure.
- Heat Dissipation: To make the machine dissipate heat smoothly, at the same time, no external heat is allowed to blow directly to the machine.