What Materials Can Be Marked with a UV Laser Machine?

There are many types of lasers on the market, such as fiber lasers, CO2, and green lasers. But, a UV laser marking machine is a great choice for an innovative, versatile, and less damaging approach. Unlike fiber or CO2 lasers, UV lasers do not rely on heat pressure to mark materials. Instead, they use absorption levels. Because of the particularly high absorption rate, UV laser marking machines can work on a variety of materials, ranging from plastic to metal.
The high absorption rate is generated from the conversion of a 1064 nm laser into a 355 nm laser through two crystals. The 355 nm then marks by a photolytic degradation process to break the bonds directly.

Light absorption rate for metal

A UV laser marker breaks the bonds directly instead of ruining the base material like many other laser markers. This process is known as “cold marking” because of the minimal heat stress. Cold marking is effective for high contrast and damage-free marking. In this article, we’ll discuss materials that UV lasers can mark and different UV lasers depending on use.

Standard Wavelength (Thermal Processing)

MD-U (Non-thermal Processing)

Because of the high absorption rate of UV lasers, there are plenty of materials that can be marked by a UV laser. UV’s high absorption also allows it to work on mixed materials. Here is a non-exhaustive list of laser-compatible materials that these lasers can handle:

Plastics Metals Other materials
  • Polyimide
  • Polypropylene (PP)
  • Polycarbonate
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
  • Natural polyamide (PA)
  • Polybutylene terephthalate (PBT)
  • Urea formaldehyde white
  • Acrylonitrile butadiene (ABS)
  • Silicon
  • HDPE
  • Liquid-crystal polymer (LPC)
  • Nickel
  • Copper
  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Aluminum
  • Stainless steel
  • Black alumite
Other materials

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of products that a UV laser could mark in different industries:

Automotive Electronics Medical Food/Cosmetics/etc
  • Cation-painted parts
  • Multicolor automotive relays
  • ECU PCBs
  • In-vehicle plastic parts
  • Switch covers
  • Terminals
  • Fuse holders
  • Windows
  • Earbuds
  • Terminal block
  • Wafers
  • Crystal oscillators
  • Transparent case
  • LED lights
  • Lead frames
  • IC packages
  • Magnifying glass
  • Mask
  • Electric toothbrushes
  • Tablets
  • Medical tubing
  • Medicine bottles
  • Steel instruments
  • Protective eyewear
  • Cosmetic bottles
  • Detergent caps
  • Toothpaste tubes
  • Desiccant
  • Mint cases
  • Cartons
  • Food packaging film
  • Bottle caps

The Best UV Laser Marking Machine for Any Material

3 Axis UV Laser Marker

For materials like metals, plastics, and glass, the 3-Axis UV Laser Marker MD-U Series is a great option for versatility. The MD-U Series generates detailed, damage-free, and high-contrast marking on a range of shapes, materials, and sizes. Additionally, the MD-U Series creates neat plastic cuts without heat effects, burrs, and yellow tinting.

Unlike a conventional laser cylindrical target, the MD-U Series has a 3-Axis control that creates distortion-free marking. The 3-Axis control uses a uniform line width across a marking area of 300 mm x 300 mm. Because of this, all characters will have the same shape and thickness from edge to edge. Additionally, the 3-Axis system has software that de-focuses each target to eliminate mismarking and distortion.

The MD-U 3-Axis also understands a variety of targets, including 3D stepped, inclines, cylindrical, and cone targets. Even if a target does not fit into those shape categories perfectly, you can upload the profile of the target into MD-U’s Marking Builder 3. The MD-U will understand the profile and mark it appropriately without distortion. This is beneficial for objects like tablets, tubes, earbuds, and other odd-shaped parts.

The MD-U can create many markings such as:

  • Logo filling
  • 2D code pattern creation
  • Fonts
  • Barcodes
  • GS1 Databar

Final Thoughts

No matter what industry you are in, a UV laser marking machine can improve work time, decrease product damage, and produce higher quality marks or cuts. Using a UV laser significantly cuts down costs because of its ability to work on a wide range of materials, shapes, and products.

KEYENCE is a leading supplier of laser marker technologies worldwide with a 3-Axis System, built-in viewfinders, and the ability to mark products of various shapes and sizes.

Ready to incorporate UV lasers into your projects? If you still have questions, Ask KEYENCE, and our knowledgeable team will get back to you quickly. We support our customers from the selection process to operations with on-site operating instructions, along with industry-leading after-sales support.