Let’s give this topic one more quick look.
The major direct part marking (DPM) methods (laser, ink jet, dot peen, chemical etching) have a variety of pros and cons, but how do they stack up against each other head to head (no pun intended!)? Take a look at the table below for a comparison of what I think are the key factors to consider:
- What the technology is best suited for
- Mark quality
- Mark permanence
- Process consumables
- Capital cost
- Running costs
As you can see above, on balance, laser marking is the most versatile of the DPM methods, with benefits including superior permanent mark quality on metals and plastics; highly flexible marks that can incorporate text, graphics, logos and data codes; and a wide range of markable materials. It has the highest capital cost, but lowest running costs. In addition, laser marking is a high speed process that is easily integrated into a new or existing manufacturing line. Safety is enhanced because laser marking is a non-contact process with good standoff distance, and the lack of chemicals makes it environmentally preferable.