The exciting field of laser engraving has been seriously heating up in recent past, and if you’re considering a laser engraving business, now is a great time to get in on the action. At the beginning of this current decade, laser engraving machines were very expensive and had only a few industrial uses, but both of those factors have changed considerably.
Laser engraving machines have not only dropped in price lately, but have risen in quality. Furthermore, the number of industries using laser engraving has significantly risen, and laser engraving is being used in things like identification security (ID cards, bank cards, sensitive documents), electronic circuitry, business logos, and more.
Over the next few years, the laser engraving industry as a whole is estimated to be worth $3 billion USD by 2024. At a current market value of $2.1 billion USD, this gives the laser engraving industry a 6.0% CAGR. Some of the biggest industries driving this growth are laser marking for packaging, where a majority of packaging companies need to display data such as serial numbers, expiration dates, and other fine print on packages.
Having said all that, let’s take a look at how and why the laser engraving industry shows such a positive outlook in 2020 and beyond. After reading this article, you can explore some quality laser engraving machines on this website.
Highly accurate engraving
Current laser engraving is already incredibly accurate, and expected to continuously improve as the industry focuses on fiber laser technology. Fiber laser technology utilizes flexible fibre lights with high output power, and is suitable for engraving in a number of industries including healthcare, military tech, semiconductors, and other industries that require the most accurate laser engravings possible.
Laser engraving is fast
There exists no other technology that can rival laser engraving in terms of speed. Laser engraving can burn into nearly any material pretty much instantly, and can recreate complex designs in five seconds or less. This not only significantly improves the speed of manufacturing processes, but reduces the turnover of products as well.
Geometry is not an issue
One of the biggest advantages of laser engraving is that it can be used on nearly any materials such as wood, paper, metals, glass, anything really – but it’s also incredibly versatile when it comes to the geometric shapes of the objects being engraved.
What this means is that laser engraving machines can work with round objects, such as bowling balls for example, and not only flat surfaces.
No risk of contact damage
Prior to laser engraving technology, the alternative to ink printing was the dot peen process, which uses a carbide or diamond stylus to repeatedly strike the medium surface and create the engravings. Of course, this is absolutely not safe for fragile items.
Laser engraving uses no contact whatsoever, and thus is perfectly suitable for materials that would otherwise be damaged by contact engraving.
How to choose a laser engraving machine
It’s currently possible to start a laser engraving business for around $8,000 USD, give or take. The majority of this investment is for your first laser engraver, and we have some helpful tips on choosing the correct machine for the job.
Consider the power: It’s recommended to get a laser engraver with a maximum power output of at least 25 watts, as the laser should be powerful enough for engraving on the most common materials. Of course, engraving materials will be a bit slower at this ‘minimum’ range, so you should consider around 50 watts as a starting point if you plan to engrave metal materials.
Bigger is better: Laser engraving machines come in a variety of build platform sizes, the most common dimensions being 12” x 16”, 12” x 18”, and 12” x 24”. The first two sizes should be perfectly adequate for the majority of applications and are fine for smaller operations, such as a home-based or storefront business. However, 12” x 24” opens up a lot of options for you in terms of flexibility and versatility, enabling you to work with larger engraving stocks and entire material sheets.
Quality of brand and service: Take the time to do diligent research on the brand you are considering, because not only do you want to make sure that their laser engravers are built to stand the test of time, but the company should also provide excellent technical support and maintenance service. This is absolutely crucial when you’re just starting out, as you may run into technical issues that you won’t be able to solve yourself.