Screen Printing Vs Laser Marking – Hot Secret Unveiled
As a Product manufacturer, when considering markings on a surface with text, images, or patterns (like a barcode) two options come to mind,—Screen printing and laser marking. Though both methods seem to serve similar possess. Each method, however, has its own advantages over the other, depending on the application.
This page will discuss some of the distinctions between the two methods of print and invariably help you decide which process is right for you
What are Laser Marking, Screen Printing, and how do they work?
Laser marking is a contact-free coloring process use in creating indelible marks on surfaces. As the terms “laser” stands for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation,” in a nutshell tells how laser marks are created by heating the surface layer of a material resulting in oxidation of the heated material.
Screen printing on the reverse side is a bit more distinctive from the working of laser marking. Screen printing uses ink to mark the surface of a material. The mesh screen stencils are soaked with ink and applied to the surface using a squeegee. The printed material is then passed through a specialized dryer to set the ink.
What are the Advantages of Laser marking?
- High accuracy marking: The precision of laser marking is useful for tiny objects and in tight spaces.
- More Environmentally Friendly: No paints or solvents are necessary with this method.
- Automated Production speed: Setup is quick with the laser marking machine, there is no cleanup, and marking is faster, so production time is reduced
- Ability to Mark in 3D: Since laser marking is contact-free marking, you can mark on round and other three-dimensional objects.
- Higher resolution and contrast: laser can create high-contrast marks on almost any surface type since it uses a wide variety of beams with even wavelength
- Can Be Automated/Autoclaved: This is necessary for items such as medical or dental instruments that must be sterilized regularly.
- More Durable: Laser markings are carved onto the surface of a material and would not rub off after repeated use.
- Reduced possibility of External Contamination: Since the patterns are marked directly onto the surface of the material, you do not have to worry about contamination from outside sources such as pigments.
- Greater Control over etching depth: lasers can be finely controlled to create highly detailed and accurate marks like barcodes.
Disadvantages of laser marking
- Limited variety of colors and patterns: Because the laser only removes a layer of the material been marked, this limit the print color to that of material been marked
- Highly variable equipment cost: The price of a laser engraving machine with low-end units can be available at $300 and some high-end units available at over $40,000. This huge difference in equipment cost is reflected by the significant difference in equipment quality, functionality, and performance.
- Limited variety of material options: Unlike screen printing that works on any material, laser marking can be done on metals like – Aluminum, Stainless steel, Titanium, and Steel while for non-metal – Wood, Glass, Plastic, and a limited variety of clothing materials
What are the Advantages of Screen printing?
- Lower initial equipment cost: Unlike laser machine, screen printing equipment’s are variable inexpensive
- Marking colors: Screen printing is available in a wide variety of colors
- Greater material options: screen printing is viable on wider options of material
- Screen printing equipment requires little training to operate
Disadvantages of Screen printing
- Lesser Durability: compared to laser marking, the ink used in screen printings are less durable
- Less Precision in marking: though screen printing can be layered for a variety of colors and patterns, it is less precise.
- Versatility: Screen printing can only be applied to flat surface materials
- Production speed and quantity: screen printing requires extensive preparation and cleanup before production.
If cost was something to consider, screen printing isn’t a bad move. With very wide popularity, screen printing is applicable on a wider range of materials when compared to laser markers.
But when durability and precision in markings take the frontline, laser marking is a better option. Laser markers are better applied on products with hard surfaces. Visit LasitLaser to find the right laser marking equipment for your next project.