The tool and mold making industry offers various possibilities for the efficient use of laser processes. Laser deposit welding has established itself as a high quality and efficient repair method forming, punching or die casting tools. The laser selectively hardens tools and components at particular stressed areas. For durable markings it offers marking and engraving functions.

There are numerous process advantages of laser engraving over more traditional methods of engraving. One major advantage is that the cutting tool is a non-contact, highly focused beam of light producing a mark, which results in less wear and tear on tooling.

The fact that the laser process is non-contact reduces the risk of mold damage and deformation, and since the laser beam does not wear, it produces a highly accurate, repeatable engraving. This level of tool care and repeatability is more problematic for traditional methods such as stamping and mechanical engraving, where scissor-like pins are utilized to cut or scratch images into metal.

Other advantages include:

+ Beam angle to engrave hard to reach areas and convex / concave geometry with more precision.

+ Marking speed up to 1500mm/sec - a 30% improvement in process time over EDM and pantograph engraving.

+ Environmentally safe as the laser produces no chemical or toxic bi-products process such as with acid etching.

1. Molding

1.1. Mold Engraving - Sidewalls & Contours

Requiring only a straight line of sight, our laser systems possess the ability to engrave virtually any complex mold surface where other traditional methods fail. With 5-axis control for part positioning, ensure no undercuts in the line of draw, even for a mold's vertical sides, all the while maintaining draft angle for graphic integrity and part release.

1.2. Mold Engraving - 3D Engraving

A mold insert for the sliding handle of a designer zip as an example of high-precision 3D laser engraving. In general, it is either very time-consuming or simply impossible to create the structure mechanically, for example by milling, because of the small size and high resolution of the structural elements.

1.3. Flexible marking dies

Marking requirements for identification purposes in the automotive industry demand flexible solutions for mold and die production. In addition to permanent marks in the mold, it is also possible to manufacture date dies, acronym dies and signet dies with frequently changing content quickly and cost-effectively with the laser.

2. Laser Deposit Welding

2.1. Laser Deposit Welding

Laser repair or processing of molds can be done on site and requires only minimal pre and post-processing, and achieves material qualities matching new condition. The laser welds a hand-guided filler wire onto the workpiece with spot-accuracy and high strength. Surface applications with wire diameters of 0.1 mm to 0.8 mm can be realized. A very local heat-affected zone, rapid heating and cooling, exact control of the beam power energy via pulse shaping – all these factors provide a minimum thermal load on the workpiece. For crack-sensitive material the mold does not need to be pre-heated.

The tilt-adjustable processing optics allows to process even vertical surfaces, narrow geometries or complex areas without rotating or tilting the mold. In many cases, easy past-processing of the weld seam with e. g. a drawing die is sufficient. Experience has shown that a laser deposit welding system pays off short-term, even when only used occasionally. This applies for the manufacturer (who saves complex, expensive and time-consuming transports of damaged molds as well as repair costs caused by external subcontractors).

2.2. Welding at Complicated Areas

The tilt-adjustable swivelling optics tilts the laser beam in two levels in various angles and thus achieves vertical surfaces, undercuts, deep grooves etc. without rotating or tilting the workpiece.

2.3. Surface Deposit Welding

Area-FillTM is an automated misalignment that allows any surface deposit welding in a 3-dimensional space.

2.4. SynchroWeld

Permanent distances between the welding spots even within a set curve due to welding spots sequences that are adapted to the process speed of the axes.

Advantages of Laser Welding:

  • Low Heat Input
  • No Need to Pre-Heat Workpiece
  • Ability to Repair Small Features
  • Easier Access to Tight Areas
  • Material Matching
  • Low Thermal Material Influences
  • Consistent Build-Up

3. Laser Marking & Engraving

3.1. Permanency

Marks will not be degraded due to the environmental factors (such as contact, acid or alkaline gas, high or low temperature, etc.) 

3.2. High engraving precision engraving

The articles engraved by laser marker are in fine and elegant patterns and the width of the smallest line can reach to few microns, with clear, lasting and elegant marking. Laser marking can satisfy the demand of printing plenty of data on very small plastic object, for instance, two-dimensional code with more precise requirements and higher definition. By comparing with impressing or spraying marking way, it has strong market competitiveness. 

3.3. Code Marking/ Sidewalls & Contours

In some applications, the marking needs to be visible to the human eye, and in other instances, the marking needs to only be seen under a microscope. These markings are for security reasons and are a leading trend in the fraud protection market.

When a color change needs to occur for marking purposes, normally the material becomes raised or the material deforms which is not always the most desirable outcome. In certain materials, we can minimize these negative effects by producing the mark sub-surface. Sub-surface marking creates the mark without changing the surface texture of the material and in turn creating a mark that can stand up to chemicals and passivation processes.

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