Laser Marking Systems
from Gravograph: Frequently Asked Questions
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What is the right table size for my laser marking system?
Table size is something to consider carefully when evaluating your options for a laser marking system. If your budget allows, it always better to go slightly larger in anticipation of future applications. Gravograph-New Hermes machines are built around standard sheet stock material sizes. This minimizes waste, if you are a consistent user of standard size material. Most plaques are designed to 6” increments, to which our machines are especially well-suited.
What is the largest part I can process on a laser marking system?
At first glance, it may seem this would be limited by the size of your table. However, there are actually two additional parameters. One is the height of the part in question and the other is the ability to ramp up to full power/speed.
Unlike many other manufacturers, Gravograph-New Hermes table size and part sizes are identical. Gravograph machines have almost the longest Z-axis stroke in the industry and thus one machine can process taller parts than most other manufacturers.
Note: Keep your future potential needs in mind. If you’ve ever intend to process a wine bottle, for instance, you will need about 8” of Z-axis stroke as the bottle must be tilted to do it effectively.
What materials can I process, and which ones cannot be processed
with a CO2 laser marking system?
The material range is quite broad, from organic materials like wood, leather, and stone, to glass and crystal. Many man-made materials like plastics and rubber can also be processed. There is also a wide variety of painted and coated metals that are CO2 friendly.
Bare metals are not processed easily and often have very poor results and there is potential to damage the laser optics. When processing bare metals very high-quality marking can be achieved by using the Cermark product or other oxidizing agents. As a hard rule, PVC-based plastic material and magnesium should not be processed due to hazards to the operator and the machine.
Why is the ventilation important on a laser marking system?
Several materials that are laser-processed emit fumes and odors, some of which are toxic. This is why we do not recommend processing PVC-based products under any circumstance. Rubber, acrylic, and many other plastics are non-toxic, but have offensive odors, that when burned, can adversely affect the workplace. Most of these are easily controlled via the proper ventilation system.
Besides the odor issue, some of the particulate generated by the lasing process can actually cause corrosion on bare metal surfaces within the enclosure and even some optical components, if not properly vented.
How do I pick the right exhaust system?
There are many options for exhaust systems, including simple devices like blowers up to more sophisticated, filtered systems. Basically, the issues to consider are floor space, decibel level, cost, and required modifications to the facility. In many cases, a blower will work, however they are very loud and often require that they be “plumbed” out of the building or into the existing HVAC system. Filtered systems are quieter and can be placed closer to the laser, but they also have a consumable cost applied. The filters do have to be replaced periodically. The Exhaust System Selection Guide details the options available to help you make the proper decision.
Is the laser engraving machine a safe machine to operate?
All Gravograph lasers have an interlock that keeps the laser from firing if the door is opened. Our systems have a redundant interlock tied into a solenoid-controlled safety shutter. This is an extra safety precaution that we include. In addition, the filter glass in the top door removes 100% of the potentially harmful radiation caused by the laser.
If you would like to learn more about Gravograph, please contact us.
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