Both laser engraving and etching are used by many businesses worldwide. It allows companies to showcase their creativity, innovative thinking, and outside-the-box thinking through their products and branding. Laser engraving and laser etching are used for putting long-lasting and even permanent brand logos, bar codes, product numbers, QR codes and more in materials like metals and plastics. However, there is still an ongoing long debate about which is better for businesses to use. To possibly end this debate, below are their key difference and similarities for you to know and decide which works better for your business.
The process of laser etching in aluminum and other materials is similar to laser engraving but uses less energy. The laser beam heats up the surface, causing it to expand and form micro-elevations highlighting the desired pattern. In contrast, the second type of etching uses marking ink to fuse with the molten metal, creating permanent markings. Both processes are relatively fast, although laser etching tends to be faster.
Laser etching is more versatile than laser engraving and works on various materials. It can etch metals, plastics, and other materials. It’s also more economical than engraving, and the carved marks produced by laser etching are more durable and resistant to wear and tear.
Although both methods can produce high-quality and detailed markings, laser engraving offers higher quality and resolution. High-powered CO2 lasers work well on plastics, while low-power fiber lasers are better suited for stainless steel engraving and other metals. The difference between two techniques lies in the frequency of the laser. The higher the laser frequency, the more energy it will penetrate the material.
Laser etching and laser engraving are complementary techniques. Both processes can produce beautiful designs and are durable against all conditions. Ultimately, though, the decision lies with the entrepreneur. You must decide which one is best for your business and what you’re trying to accomplish.