What Are the Differences between Laser Marking, Laser Engraving and Laser Etching?

Thanks to industrial and government regulations regarding clearly legible product and part identification, the processes of laser marking, laser etching and laser engraving are increasing in popularity.

All three of these laser services provide a permanent marking solution, fulfilling regulations and adding distinction to your products and parts.

But what sets them apart?

While the three techniques may seem similar, there are actually quite a few differences between them.

The differences between laser marking, laser engraving, and laser etching largely have to do with what each process does to the marking surface, including how deep the laser goes and how it changes the overall appearance.

Laser marking discolours the surface of the material, while laser etching and engraving actually removes a portion of the surface area as it marks. The major difference between laser etching and engraving is the depth to which the laser penetrates the surface.

The Main Differences between Marking, Etching and Engraving

Although these terms are often used interchangeably, there are differences between laser marking, laser etching and laser engraving. Each type of process has its own applications and attributes that make it ideal for different jobs.

The Laser Marking Process

Laser marking is what happens when the beam interacts with the surface of a material, slightly altering its properties or appearance.

Laser marking differs from laser engraving and laser etching in a number of ways:

The Laser Engraving Process

Laser engraving is a process where the laser beam physically removes the surface of the material to expose a cavity that reveals an image at eye level.

Although engraving is a subsection of laser marking, it still differs in many ways:

Another important comparison to make is how laser engraving compares to traditional engraving:

The Laser Etching Process

Laser etching, which is a subset of laser engraving, occurs when the heat from the beam causes the surface of the material to melt.

The differences between laser etching, marking and engraving include:

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