Laser etching has been used to create customised process control boards or PCBs.
Laser etching technology allows custom PCBs to be manufactured rapidly and with pinpoint accuracy. In terms of speed, accuracy, and cost, laser etching trumps all other methods of PCB manufacturing.
Laser engraving electrical components
Aside from executing PCB designs, a PCB laser etching machine can also be used to mark various electrical components with critical information such as barcodes, part numbers, 2D and UID codes, QR codes, serial numbers, batch numbers, logos, and business information. These marks allow manufacturers to improve traceability, identify specific electrical components during warranty claims, enforce trademark protection and more.
Laser etching, or laser marking, refers to the use of lasers to engrave an object. In this process, a highly focused laser is directed onto a specific point or pattern in the object of interest, thereby using the energy from the laser to create very accurate and controlled markings on the object. Lasers can typically focus on a very small area – about a fraction of the millimetre – while keeping the surrounding area unaffected. The markings are the result of the laser’s energy vaporising the material or causing the material to fracture and flake off the surface.
Laser marking is a technology that scales up well in response to increasing demand, while still maintaining efficiency, quality, and safety. It is a quick and fully automated process that can fit right into a production line. Additionally, being a non-contact method of etching or marking, it reduces the wear and tear that the original material goes through during the marking process.
The laser system is also capable of etching highly detailed designs – both accurately and consistently. Dynamic data such as serial numbers and part numbers can be integrated into the process without the need to change parts or for regular user intervention. Most laser etching equipment also comes with software that has been developed to be user-friendly and easy to learn.
Marking varied electrical materials
Laser etching is used to mark semiconductors, circuit breaker parts, metal and plastic housings, and other surface-mount devices or SMDs. These electrical components are practically everywhere – from your oft-used smartphone to the circuit breaker in your basement, the electronics in your car, and even to the satellites orbiting in outer space. Laser etching can be used to mark most industrial materials such as marble, ceramic, granite, and several metals. Metal etching is commonly done by applying a thin layer of paint to the metal surface first, which the laser vaporises during the etching process.