PDA

View Full Version : CerMark vs- AlumaMark



Tim Bateson
07-16-2010, 12:00 AM
Im meeting a potential client on Monday for an industrial machine labeling job. I was going to use CerMark labels; however after looking at AlumaMark, Im not so sure. AlumaMark looks easy & quicker too. I know CerMark is extremely durable; so does anyone have any experience with the durability of AlumaMark in an industrial setting?

Mike Null
07-16-2010, 4:37 AM
Tim

What is the material you were going to Cermark?

Alumamark will be more expensive and probably thinner. Alumamark is not a UV stable finish.

Tim Bateson
07-16-2010, 8:54 AM
Stainless Steel.

Steve Chalmers
07-16-2010, 9:10 AM
Tim,

I do a lot of Alumamark every month, and while it's relatively painless to use once you get everything dialed in, I wouldn't recommend it for this application.

Steve

Tim Bateson
07-16-2010, 11:18 AM
I do a lot of Alumamark every month, and while it's relatively painless to use once you get everything dialed in, I wouldn't recommend it for this application.

Why? Is it not durable? Is it effected by machine heat or chemicals?

Mark Winlund
07-16-2010, 12:07 PM
I have used both. Aluma Mark is a photo chemical process, similar to the old "metalphoto" process. The metalphoto process, while complicated chemically and required expensive equipment (copy camera, negatives, developing trays and sealing baths) worked well and was quite durable. The same people that sold metalphoto also make alumamark. The alumamark is quite sensitive as to power levels, and is difficult to keep a constant mark appearance. That being said, I have had no problems with durability. It is expensive. Try it. Once you have your power levels dialed in, it is easy to use.

Don't forget standard anodised aluminum.... very low in cost, lasers well, and is very durable.

Mark

Mike Null
07-16-2010, 12:20 PM
Where possible I have switched customers to stainless steel. It is permanent, tough, and looks good.

I buy from McMaster Carr.

Ross Moshinsky
07-16-2010, 1:35 PM
I'd vote against Cermark unless they absolutely request it. I don't like fussing with spraying it. It's extra time that I don't think is necessary to spend.

Frankly, I would use brass coated steel unless they gave me a reason not to. Otherwise I'd go with anodized aluminum.

Steve Chalmers
07-16-2010, 1:45 PM
Tim,

Once you have the settings dialed in, AlumaMark would be easy to use. The silver is far more sensitive to power and speed settings. . .the gold is pretty forgiving.

The reason I said I would not recommend it in an industrial application is that it has very low abrasive resistance and really doesn't like chemicals. Tat coupled with the fact that it is VERY thin, my personal opinion is that an industrial application would not be the best environment to show case the durability of laser work.

Steve

Tim Bateson
07-16-2010, 3:46 PM
Anodized aluminum is great to work with, but is it really durable for this type of application? I need machined ID as well as barcodes. My concern with anodized aluminum is scratching and chemical effects.

I'm out of stainless steel tags, so I'm going to dig up something else to CerMark as a sample. Yesterday I ordered some AlumaMark samples from LaserBits. I'm going to laser the AlumaMark this tonight and try to beat it up a bit. Monday I'll take what I have to the customer & get a better idea of their environment.

Gary Hair
07-16-2010, 6:26 PM
Tim,
I would vote wholeheartedly for Cermark. I have a client that manufactures a small stainless piece that gets tumbled for 6 hours after I Cermark them - the Cermark doesn't show any signs of wear yet the burs on the metal are gone and the rest of the piece is nice and shiny-clean. I guarantee that you won't get that kind of durability out of any other method mentioned so far. Cermark is very cheap when used properly.

Gary

Viktor Voroncov
07-17-2010, 2:16 AM
I vote for Cermark, as for last 10 years I sell both products to customers and have a lot of feedbacks.
Advice about Alumamark - engrave it, clean it and ALWAYS cover with usual clear laquer spray available from any car shop. This laquer add UV protection.

Tim Bateson
07-17-2010, 1:32 PM
Experimenting with the AlumaMark: I'm having problems with barcodes not lasering properly. The thin lines are too light - not black. If I increase power the thicker lines become blurred - blend together. I've tried various Speed/Power/DPI settings - Once I get the thicker lines to look good the thin lines are too light - When I get the thin lines looking good (close to good), the thicker lines blend together!
I've double & triple checked my focus and insured my lens and mirrors are clean.
I started with the recommended settings of: 30/10/600 - Thicker lines blend
I'm close at: 30/17/600 - but thin lines are too light - grayish-white.
Tried 50/21/400 close to the 30/17/600 results - but not as defined (400 vs 600).

Bill Cunningham
07-18-2010, 9:22 PM
The silver is very fussy. I find I get a much better mark if I Back off the focus about 1/8" Use 600 dpi for text, and 150 dpi for photos. Any higher, and I find the photos muddy up.. (do not use photograv, just the basic clipart halftone is fine)
Gold is much easier, 35-40 watts = 30/30/600

Tim Bateson
07-18-2010, 10:01 PM
The silver is very fussy. I find I get a much better mark if I Back off the focus about 1/8" Use 600 dpi for text, and 150 dpi for photos. Any higher, and I find the photos muddy up.. (do not use photograv, just the basic clipart halftone is fine)

Thanks Bill, that's just what I had done. I'm not overly impressed yet, but it's decent. I'm not sure it's the right product for bar codes, but may be good for other applications.

Bill Cunningham
07-20-2010, 8:56 PM
Thanks Bill, that's just what I had done. I'm not overly impressed yet, but it's decent. I'm not sure it's the right product for bar codes, but may be good for other applications.

I have done several thousand 128 barcode plates for a large company with plants in both Canada and the U.S. I use outdoor rated engraving plastic, yellow/black, and white/black, and they mount them on the machines with silicone adh. The machines have to be washed down daily with high pressure water, and the outdoor rated plastic seems to be standing up quite well.. If they are not subjected to mechanical abrasion of any kind, you might not even need metal.

Josiah Gallo
07-21-2010, 3:20 PM
What about Lazer Blak from JDS? Looks like alumamark (pretty close anyway, haven't tested side by side) but it is SOO much easier to laser. Seems fairly durable. It probably uses same process as alumamark.

Tim Bateson
07-21-2010, 3:38 PM
What about Lazer Blak from JDS? Looks like alumamark (pretty close anyway, haven't tested side by side) but it is SOO much easier to laser...

I have not yet looked at that product.


I have done several thousand 128 barcode plates for a large company with plants in both Canada and the U.S. I use outdoor rated engraving plastic, yellow/black, and white/black, and they mount them on the machines with silicone adh. The machines have to be washed down daily with high pressure water, and the outdoor rated plastic seems to be standing up quite well.. If they are not subjected to mechanical abrasion of any kind, you might not even need metal.

Bill - Will that plastic hold up to industrial chemicals? Does that UV production provide additional protection besides from the sun?

Bill Cunningham
07-22-2010, 8:23 PM
Plastic signs seem to hold up to most usual cleaners. although solvents, including alcohol may give it a problem. A lot of hospitals use plastic signage and it withstands what ever they use to clean them.. I have no idea what the company I do them for washes them with, besides pressure water, but I did give them several samples in the beginning for testing over a couple of months. They have since ordered quite a few of them up to 4x5" w/text and barcode so they must be working out OK.

Terry Swift
11-09-2010, 3:52 PM
Bill / Tim,

I've got one sample piece of Alumamark to do text only. Is out of focusing - raising or lowering the bed?

Bill Cunningham
11-09-2010, 10:08 PM
I usually lower the bed 1/8", but I don't think it would make a difference.. with the shape of the beam, Out of focus is out of focus.. If you have a tiny piece of scrap, run a test on it. Not all machines will blacken it the same.. A setting for silver could be off 1 or 2% in either speed or power, and the mark will change drastically. You pretty well have to dial that in custom for each machine, and even that, will change as the machine ages.. Silver alumamark could just be the biggest headache you get all week.. :D

Dennis Solomon
11-10-2010, 11:50 AM
I make a lot of tags with the alumamark and have found the settings on my laserpro 40 watt is 100 speed 25 power and 760 dpi and I run it twice to get the best clarity. Try thoses and see!

Bill Cunningham
11-11-2010, 10:11 PM
Mine for text seems to work best at 30/30/600 on Silver and 1/8" out of focus..

Terry Swift
11-18-2010, 12:56 AM
I had gotten a few small samples of AlumaMark with the adhesive backing and it finally come into play for doing a plaque plate for a Flag Box. Intially it was to be text only; but I had some open areas - so I looked for some cool graphics to throw in there. Put the Naval Seal and a clipart of an Eagle head in front of the Flag. The text lasering extremely well and then the Naval Seal went on good too. I had issues with the Eagle & Flag due to clipart quality; but was able to boost the quality up and it come out very well. Nothing out of the ordinary in lasering other than following some of the posted power / speed #'s.

Client was blown away, even on a 4" x 6" silver AlumaMark plate. Will use it over Cermark any day. I hate lots of chemicals in my environment after 20 years working around fighter aircraft and those chemicals on a daily basis. No prep work other than cutting, design, laser - DONE.

Chris Mahoney
11-18-2010, 10:08 AM
For better bar code engraving quality on metals you may want to look at Epilog's Fibermark machine. The Cermark can be inconsistent with really thin lines or small text. Also, if you haven't been doing this already, try rotating the bar code 90 degrees so the laser only does 1 or 2 passes per line. That may help with line quality. You could color map the lines and set different powers to the lines for the best quality mark.