Laser Drilling

Laser drilling is a process that uses a laser beam to create precise holes in a variety of materials across industries. It is way faster, more efficient, and more accurate than traditional methods like needles.

Drilling is known as being done with needles or punch tools. However, needles and punch tools can be inefficient and tedious. Additionally, they can produce inaccurate results from the needle or drill getting caught in the material. Inaccuracy with labeling is harmful as it causes products to become defective from contamination.

Laser drilling uses an extremely small laser that is impossible to get caught in the material. It only hits the target point without any aftershock to the rest of the material. It’s optimal for all drilling needs—from sensitive materials like film to strong materials like metal.

Basic Principles of Drilling Using Laser Markers

Drilling a hole in a lens

Contrary to the name, laser drilling does not need a specific laser drilling machine. Laser drilling can be achieved by using a laser marking machine. Laser markers work at high speed and specialize in all processing needs, including drilling. Using a laser marker for drilling eliminates all physical tools, extra consumable items, and time for adjustment.

Laser drilling uses laser light to melt/evaporate a single point on a target. It's vital to choose the right laser wavelength and output power best suited for the target material in order to achieve high-accuracy processing.

Laser Drilling Machines

KEYENCE’s laser marking machines are automated, consistent, and precise for laser drilling. The laser markers have a patented 3-Axis control for the creation of uniform lines for up to a 300mmx300mm surface.

They can be programmed to drill into a variety of shapes and sizes. Including 2D and 3D shapes like steps, cylinders, inclined surfaces, and circular cones. If a product does not fit that scope, the laser markers can use 3D CAD data to find a target on a complex profile.

Laser markers are fully automated to review errors that would otherwise slow down production time. They contain autofocus, automatic adjustment depending on size or material, an inspection of their own lens, and the ability to diagnose marking errors to ensure accuracy and uniformity.

3-Axis CO2 Laser Marker ML-Z Series

The 3-Axis CO2 Laser Marker ML-Z Series uses a CO2 laser to laser drill. CO2 lasers work by generating heat to process CO2 in a tube and creating plasma. Then, directing the beam toward a material to absorb the light. The beam drills into the material through this process.

The CO2 laser has a short wavelength and a thin beamed model, allowing it for a smaller spot diameter. This makes it ideal for precise drilling with a high level of power.

3-Axis Hybrid Laser Marker MD-X Series

The 3-Axis Hybrid Laser Marker MD-X Series is a combination of a fiber laser and a YVO4 laser. It combines the two strengths of each laser. Fiber lasers are designed for long service life and high output. YVO4 lasers are designed for high quality and depth of focus. Together, these lasers create the MD-X with high peak power and a short pulse laser.

The high peak power and short pulse laser result in minimal heat damage while still having a powerful laser. Laser drilling may need precise yet deep drills, which MD-X can do with its deep depth of focus. Because it has autofocus and built-in lighting, it can ensure to drill even the smallest and most precise hole.