Titanium and titanium alloys are heavily valued for being durable, lightweight, and resistant to corrosion. They are heavily used in industries and applications that put a premium on a high strength-to-weight ratio such as in the production of aircraft. The military and commercial aerospace industries have become the number one users of titanium alloys: large quantities of titanium are used in the production of commercial planes such as the AirBusA380 and Boeing 787, as well as the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters used by the military.

Titanium and traceability

In an industry where consistency in quality is critical to human safety, a system for traceability and quality control is vital. Laser engraving titanium is an extremely effective technology for marking of metal parts for traceability purposes. Aside from being an accurate method that can create permanent and legible marks, the annealing ensures no structural damage to the titanium material due to the formation of micro-cracks. Laser cutting titanium has also been practised for aerospace parts as it reduces thermal distortion along cut sections by reducing the heat affected zones.

The use of titanium within the medical industry

In the healthcare industry, titanium has become a standard material for surgical and dental implants due to its chemically inert and good biocompatibility characteristics. On top of being lightweight and durable, the metal is resistant to corrosive effects of the acidic or ion-rich environment inside the human body. Titanium implants are long-lasting and can last for 20 years or longer without needing to be replaced. They are also cheaper compared to other implant materials such as zirconia.

Etching titanium medical implants creates marks that can withstand constant mechanical stress and corrosive conditions. Aside from the marks being permanent, the process is also inherently sterile. The annealing method creates marks by a colour change in the surface of the metal surface without etching the material – a particularly appropriate technique for medical implants that need to remain smooth and should have no microscopic pockets for bacterial growth.

The consumer markets

In the consumer market, titanium has started to gain popularity as a material for the manufacture of high-end sports gear and jewelry. It has been used for sports gear that benefits from a high strength-to-weight ratio such as bicycle frames, football helmets, and golf clubs. In the jewelry industry, the appeal of this metal lies in the practicality of using an extremely durable material and its significantly lower price relative to precious metals such as gold and silver. Being a biocompatible material, titanium jewelry also has fewer chances of causing allergies for their wearers.

The increasing demand for customised and personalised jewelry has prompted jewelry makers to embrace laser engraving, etching, marking and cutting. By laser engraving titanium jewelry, marks and inscriptions can be made on the outside and inside surfaces of a ring. The accuracy and resolution of laser engraving have even made it possible to add inscriptions on the narrow edge of a ring. Compared to more traditional methods of jewelry inscription, the laser process is faster, produces more consistent results, and puts less mechanical stress on the jewelry item.

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