Many people don’t realise that within a laser marking machine there are different ways to deliver the laser beam to the work piece and even fewer consider the massive difference that choosing the correct form of beam delivery can have on process times and output quality.
Contrary to popular conception it is not a good idea for a single format of system to be applied to all jobs even if technically it’s possible to do so
Choosing the right form of beam delivery can determine whether or not you will meet customer price, quality and delivery requirements or even whether or not you will win the job at all and the wrong choice can have serious implications relating to system reliability, maintenance and running costs.
In a laser engraving machine there are most commonly two types of laser beam delivery:
- Via a plotter type motion system that usually contains stepper or servomotors, linear bearing rails and belts. To this motion system are attached a series of 3 or 4 mirrors that deliver the beam via deflection to a focus carriage that usually contains a single layer plano-convex lens. The lens moves over the work area, which is usually large and rectangular in shape, to deliver the focused laser to the work piece; technically this is a flying optic laser.These machines are commonly called a laser engraver or a laser cutter and predominantly incorporate a CO2 laser at the 10.6µm wavelength.
- Via a sealed unit containing 2 mirrors that are attached to galvanometers; these are very accurate, high speed motors one of which turns through 0 degrees (X axis) and the other through 90 degrees (Y axis). The beam is focused through a fixed lens known as an F-Theta lens that at the 1µm wavelength is multi-layered and at 10.6µm is usually a single layer.The work area is constraint by the characteristics of the lens and is usually quite small and circular in shape; technically this is known as a beam deflection laser.These machines are commonly called a galvo laser, a marking laser or sometimes a laser marker and can be fitted with a very wide range of laser wavelengths such as 355nm, 532nm, 1064nm (1µm) and 10.6µm
At Lotus Laser Systems we manufacture at our UK facility all of the above mentioned system formats and our experts would be happy to advise you which configuration would suit your application best.