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Laser Marking on Automotive Components

The automotive industry benefits from the use of laser engraving technology to comply with traceability standards. Every vehicle - whether it's a car, bus, motorcycle, farm machinery, or construction equipment - needs to be marked with a vehicle identification number (VIN) once it leaves the manufacturing facility. The VIN is a 17-character serial number that is commonly marked on various components of the vehicle, such as the chassis and the engines. Moreover, automotive manufacturers regularly make their own marks on their parts, whether to serve their own tracking system or simply to provide branding.

Laser machines have been used for years by automotive manufacturers for their ability to produce tamper-proof and easily identifiable marks. It's also a fast procedure that will fit right into any manufacturing process without slowing it down - a 17-character VIN can be laser marked in approximately four seconds. Being a non-contact method, automotive parts do not need to be clamped down before marking, avoiding secondary damage.

Without the need to use fixtures or clamps, laser etching stainless steel also has unequalled flexibility in terms of marking newly designed and modified automotive parts.

Contact Needham Laser Tech today to receive guidance on how our laser marking solutions can deliver benefits to your automotive business. Call our team on 01948 660011 or fill out our contact form and we will contact you at a more convenient time.

The Demands of the Automotive Industry

The automotive industry needs large-scale, reliable marking. A long-trusted solution is laser marking - a process that utilises light beams to create permanent marks and designs on surfaces ranging from metal to plastic. Laser engraving stainless steel is an almost 100% automated process, producing consistent, reliable results. This streamlines the manufacturing process, reducing potentially expensive scrap. 

Integration of a laser solution into the existing manufacturing process is made particularly easy with out-of-the-box turnkey solutions. Modern laser etching equipment has been designed to be easy to learn and use.

Designs do not need to be made on any proprietary software, as most laser marking applications can import files created from the most common design software. Marking with dynamic data, such as data matrix codes, part numbers and batch numbers, is well within the standard capabilities of most laser applications.

The N-Lase Range

Meet our Industrial ID lasers

N-Lase Desktop

The N-Lase Desktop is our entry-level laser marking system for industrial identification applications, perfect for marking, etching, engraving and annealing all metals, coated metals, plastics and some organic materials.

The Desktop is the ideal solution for low to mid-volume throughput and is an affordable alternative to more traditional methods of marking, such as dot peen, electrochemical etching or hand marking. Despite being entry-level and affordable we haven’t sacrificed on quality or efficiency; our N-Lase Desktop comes with either our 20 Watt or 50 Watt MOPA fiber laser with a MTBF of 100,000 marking hours and a 3-year comprehensive warranty, as standard.

N-Lase Desktop Pro

The N-Lase Desktop Pro is the most popular laser in our N-Lase range. Designed for marking, etching, engraving and annealing almost all materials in mid to high-volume applications, the Desktop Pro is a full turnkey solution which includes an integrated All-in-One PC and an automatic door function to ensure maximum efficiency and simple operation.

The N-Lase Desktop Pro can be fitted with either our 20 Watt or 50 Watt MOPA fiber laser sources with a MTBF of 100,000 marking hours. Like all products within our N-Lase range the Desktop Pro comes with a 3-year comprehensive warranty, as standard.

N-Lase Benchtop

The N-Lase Benchtop is the ‘big cousin’ to the Desktop Pro. It has the same style and design but on a much larger scale, so maximum versatility for industries wishing to mark, etch and engrave big parts. As the name suggested, the Benchtop is designed to sit on a bench/worktop within existing manufacturing cells and processes.

Due to its larger footprint and modular design, the N-Lase Benchtop can offer a broad range of optional extras such as XY marking tables for increased throughput, large marking area lenses (up to 280mm x 280mm), big rotary attachments for circumference marking on large diameter parts and power sources from 20 watt up to 100 watt for maximum speed and depth.

With our 3-year comprehensive warranty, the N-Lase Benchtop is the ideal solution for the efficient and reliable etching of heavy-duty parts in industrial environments.

N-Lase Workstation

The N-Lase Workstation offers our biggest enclosure mounted onto a portable base to offer maximum flexibility. The Workstation can be located within an existing manufacturing process or operate as a standalone marking and traceability station. With an integrated PC and auto door function, the N-Lase Workstation is a truly turnkey solution; simply wheel into the desired location and start etching.

With such a large enclosure, the N-Lase Workstation can be fitted with a wide range of options to further increase efficiencies and offer maximum throughput. Options include XY marking tables to facilitate the loading of multiple parts, large marking area lenses (up to 280mm x 280mm), big rotary attachments for circumference marking on large diameter parts and power sources from 20 Watt up to 100 Watt for maximum speed and depth.

As with all our N-Lase range, maximum reliability and robustness is assured with our 3-year comprehensive warranty.

N-Lase Integrated

Designed for integration into production, manufacturing and assembly lines, our N-Lase Integrated models offer high reliability, speed and flexibility in a convenient form factor. A wide range of laser power outputs on our standard system allow marking on a diverse variety of substrates, whereas the Integrated Max is suitable for more powerful hungry applications and much larger laser modules. N-Lase Integrated systems are maintenance free and will provide you with years upon years of trouble-free operation

N-Lase Handheld

Laser without limits with the N-Lase Handheld. This model allows you to move the system to wherever (and whatever) needs to be marked. Ease and usability is at the forefront of the design, including a counterbalanced laser head to ensure safe movement and use. Whether it's a plaque on a wall or a plate on the floor, this model is ready for the challenge.

What Are The Benefits of Using Automotive Laser Marking?

Automotive laser etching is a well-developed technology with various turnkey solutions, making it easy to integrate into any production line. Our laser marking system commonly comes bundled with its own software package that has been designed to be user-friendly.

The system can work with dynamic data to make progressive marks with minimal user intervention. Being almost entirely automated, laser marking systems are not labour-intensive and will free up technical operators to concentrate on the more involved steps of the manufacturing process. The low level of user intervention also means that laser engraving technology is highly accurate and reliable. Since laser marking systems have very few moving parts, their maintenance needs are also lower compared to other similar technologies.

Automotive laser marking provides high precision and accuracy, high contrast, permanence, and durability, making it ideal for producing permanent, high-quality markings on automotive parts. It is also faster, more flexible, and more cost effective than traditional marking methods such as mechanical engraving or chemical etching.

Non-Contact, Fast Technology

Laser engraving for automotive parts is the only non-contact technology used to mark equipment parts and traceability codes. This reduces wear and tear on the parts of the laser marking equipment - reducing repair and replacement parts. The contactless technology also reduces the chance of damage during the process, which can often be seen in more traditional part marking and methods such as dot-preen engraving.

Laser marking technology is also incredibly fast. Even highly detailed designs, such as small barcodes or QR codes on printed circuit boards (PCBs), hardly take more than five seconds to finish.

Permanent and Cost-Effective

Laser engraving marks are precise and accurate, as well as legible and permanent. This is incredibly important in automotive parts that experience incredibly high temperatures and frictional forces - for example, individual components of the braking system or piston engine parts.

A brake rotor can heat up to a temperature of 900°F when brakes are engaged at high speed, making a part number that does not degrade with heat particularly important.

Compared to other methods of marking automotive parts, laser etching technology is much more cost-efficient. This is due to full automation and fewer moving parts, reducing the workforce required and part replacement costs. 

Contactless laser technology also reduces the likelihood of production defects, as well as any need for costly waste disposal.

Why Use Laser Marking Over Other Marking Methods?

All markers created using laser marking in automotive applications are permanent due to a process called annealing, which causes small pits on the surface of an object, essentially making them unalterable without damaging its underlying structure. It should be noted that other automotive sector industrial processes put markings on objects using paint or powder coatings but these are not permanent nor offer any guarantee against fading over time due to wear and tear exposure or even weather conditions.

One of the most notable advantages of laser marking is that it’s much faster than other methods - usually taking only seconds per item when compared with minutes or hours taken by some alternatives like screen printing or pad printing. This increased speed makes it ideal for mass-production manufacturing lines, shrinking costs and improving turnaround times dramatically while still maintaining the highest quality and control standards across every product produced.

As environmental consciousness becomes increasingly important in today’s society, many industries are seeking out ways of reducing waste products created during production processes. Thankfully laser marking proves yet again why it’s such a revolutionary technology for automotive manufacturers because it uses non-toxic materials while creating minimal amounts of waste - the best solution to ensuring sustainable practices at all stages of production from start to finish.

Why Use Needham Laser Tech Solutions for Your Automotive Needs?

The automotive industry is one of the most diverse, fast-paced fields in modern manufacturing. As technology continues to evolve, so too do the processes used to complete work within the automobile industry.

Laser marking has been a viable option in the automotive industry for a few years, offering various benefits such as permanent marks with precision accuracy, no physical contact with parts and materials, and very high-speed production rates. However, recent advancements in laser marking technology have reduced costs and increased output quality, all while reducing the parts needed during the process. The technological progression, pioneered by Needham Laser Tech, makes it ideal for applications such as producing serial numbers, batch numbers, logos, QR codes and graphics onto vehicle components.

When it comes to laser marking cars, there are two main parameters that determine how suitable this technology is for an application: material type and surface finish. The material type (typically metals or composites) can drastically affect how well a laser beam can penetrate the surface. Certain materials are more susceptible to laser energy than others, which can make them easier or harder to mark. Surface finishes also play an important role here because they can reflect or absorb laser energy depending on their composition.

Once these parameters have been determined and the appropriate equipment is chosen, an operator will feed information into software that runs the entire process automatically from start to finish. Markers are typically exported from a database containing all product data needed for each part such as its serial number or barcode information.

FAQs About Laser Marking on Automotive Components

What is automotive laser marking?

Automotive laser marking is a process of using lasers to mark or engrave various automotive components with logos, serial numbers, barcodes, and other identifying or decorative markings.

What kind of lasers are used for automotive laser marking?

Automotive laser marking is commonly performed using fiber, CO2, or UV lasers depending on the material and the desired marking result.

What kind of materials can be marked directly with automotive laser marking?

Automotive laser marking can be performed on a wide range of materials, including: 

  • Aluminium
  • Brass
  • Cast Iron
  • Copper
  • Gold
  • Metal
  • Plastics
  • Rubber
  • Stainless Steel
  • Sterling Silver
  • Wood

What types of markings can be made with automotive laser marking?

Automotive laser marking can be used to create a wide range of markings, including logos, serial numbers, barcodes, QR codes, part numbers, and other identifying or decorative laser markings.

Is automotive laser marking safe?

Yes, automotive laser marking is considered safe as long as appropriate safety measures are taken, such as wearing protective eyewear and following safe operating procedures.

Can automotive laser marking be done on curved or irregular surfaces?

Yes, automotive laser marking can be performed on curved or irregular surfaces using specialised laser systems designed for such applications.

What is the cost of automotive laser marking?

The cost of laser marking on automotive components can vary depending on the type of material being marked, the complexity of the design, and the volume of parts to be marked. However, it is generally considered a cost-effective and efficient marking method.

Contact us Today

If you operate in the automotive industry, you need to meet the expected standards of quality, safety and traceability. Find out how Needham Laser Tech can help you today by contacting our specialist team, either by phone on 01948 660 011 or by filling out our contact form.

60+ years in industry

Heritage & market-leading knowledge

The Needham Group and its subsidiaries have been a part of the ever-developing coding and marking industry since 1962; identifying industry needs whilst simultaneously importing and developing exciting, practical and innovative products to suit.


Customer service at our core

Every day we share our passion and excitement for British manufacturing and innovation in laser technologies with each of our partners; from supplier and supply chain right through to end-user.

Short lead times

Delivery in weeks, not months

We design, develop and manufacture our lasers at our HQ in Shropshire; allowing for lean manufacturing, better efficiencies and speedy response times in our manufacturing, ultimately getting your products to you in weeks rather than months.

Made in Britain & Safety Regulations

We are proud to wear the Made in Britain badge, where all of our lasers are manufactured at our HQ in Shropshire. Combining over 60 years of company heritage with exquisite design and Great British engineering, we take great pride in our heritage and our commitment to producing quality products that represent the very best of British craftsmanship. Our loyal customers can be assured that when they choose us, they are investing in a product made with the utmost care and attention to detail.

The UK has the world's most rigorous regulatory requirements for laser safety.
We are proud to align our UK design and manufacturing with said regulations.
We are also certified members of AILU. -

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