For which applications are Vytek laser systems best suited?

Lasers are used for a wide variety of applications including cutting, engraving, and marking.

  • Vytek systems are ideal for cutting plastics, wood, textiles, and light gauge metals.
  • Images can be engraved on glass, acrylic, granite, marble, and wood. Metals, plastics, and silicon can be marked with labels, logos, or text.
  • Steel, aluminum, copper, brass, and titanium react especially well.

What types of lasers do you offer?

Fiber, YAG, Green, CO2, and UV lasers are available.

Can I learn to use a laser?

Training is inculded Free with every system we sell. Software and machine training is available 24/7 in our online learning portal.

I need customized equipment built, can Vytek work with me to reach my goals?

Yes. Vytek’s dedicated engineering group has over 100 years of combined experience. Using a fully integrated 3D design linking directly to the manufacturing department, prototype to production is measured in hours not days.

Why should I purchase a Vytek laser system?

Simply put; quality.
Designed in the U.S.A
Manufactured in the U.S.A
Supported in the U.S.A


What is raster engraving?

Raster engraving is applying bitmap or digital images directly onto a contrasting surface with a laser.

An example would be using a vintage photograph of a WWII soldier, which was scanned and processed in image editing software on a computer. The granite stone was placed on the laser’s bed and the prepared file was lased onto the stone.

What materials can be engraved?

Marble, granite, wood, acrylic, glass, anodized aluminum, and leather are good choices.


What is laser cutting?

Laser cutting is a process by which the light energy from a laser beam strikes a workpiece and applies an intense heat, which then separates the material into desired shapes. Cutting is almost always a vectored process (as opposed to a raster process). It is defined by the cut width, cut depth, and direction of the cut.

Laser cutting requires a unique combination of technical skills; however, it opens a highly specialized and profitable market niche that can expand your business.

Which materials are best suited for laser cutting?

Vytek lasers are best suited for metal, plastic, acrylic, and wood cutting.


What is laser marking?

Laser marking is a method for labeling various kinds of objects using a laser. The principle of laser marking is that a laser beam modifies the optical appearance of a surface that it hits. This can occur through a variety of mechanisms:

  • Ablation of material (laser engraving); sometimes removing some colored surface layer
  • Melting a metal, thus modifying the surface structure
  • Slight burning (carbonization) e.g. of paper, cardboard, wood, or polymers
  • Transformation (e.g. bleaching) of pigments (industrial laser additives) in a plastic material
  • Expansion of a polymer, if e.g. some additive is evaporated
  • Generation of surface structures such as small bubbles

What applications can laser marking be used for?

  • Adding part numbers, “use by” dates and the like on food packages, bottles, etc.
  • Adding traceable information for quality control
  • Marking printed circuit boards (PCBs), electronic components, and cables
    printing logos, barcodes, and other information on products

Compared with other marking technologies such as ink jet printing and mechanical marking, laser marking has a number of advantages, such as very high processing speeds, low operation cost (no use of consumables), constant high quality and durability of the results, avoiding contaminations, the ability to write very small features, and very high flexibility in automation.

Plastic materials, wood, cardboard, paper, leather and acrylic are often marked with relatively low-power CO2 lasers. For metallic surfaces, these lasers are less suitable due to the small absorption at their long wavelengths (around 10 μm); laser wavelengths e.g. in the 1-μm region, as can be obtained e.g. with Nd:YAG lasers or with fiber lasers, are more appropriate. Typical laser powers used for marking are of the order of 10 to 100 W. Shorter wavelengths such as 532 nm, such as obtained by frequency doubling of YAG or Fiber lasers, can be advantageous, for marking of metals like gold, which has too low absorption in the 1-μm spectral region, short laser wavelengths are essential.

At Vytek, we generally make a distinction between etching and marking, where etching is considered to “engrave” the surface so that it can be felt to the touch, while “marking” provides no surface change to the touch.

What types of materials can be marked with a laser?

The answer depends on the wavelength of the laser used. Fiber lasers can be used to mark metals with a nice black mark. Pretreating the surface of the material is not necessary, saving time and cost of additional chemicals.

You can also create a deep mark into the metal, or create a frosted look, which is a lighter mark. A CO2 laser can be used to mark wood, acrylic, glass, and stone.

Can you tell me more about marking metal?

Metal marking can be accomplished with either a CO2 or fiber laser system. If using a CO2 laser you must first pretreat the metal with either Thermark or Cermark before marking and then wash it off after. Care must be taken when pretreating the metal to apply the Thermark or Cermark in an even, thin coating. Then when marking the material you must use enough power to adhere the material to the metal, but not too much that the material is burned away. After marking the metal part must be washed and dried.

Fiber laser systems do not require the metal to be pretreated to produce a black mark. The metal is heated with the laser and the carbon from the metal is brought to the surface producing a black mark. Fiber lasers can also engrave the metal, and you can combine engraving and producing a black mark by changing the laser’s settings.


Galvo or Gantry?

When deciding on what the right technology for your application, consider the differences between Galvo and Gantry systems. Vytek defines our laser technology into two areas: Gantry and Galvanometer (Galvo) systems.

Gantry systems are best described as XY plotter systems because they move the laser above the material to be cut or engraved. These systems are best utilized in wide format applications (24″ or 600mm or above), when cutting thicker material substrates (1/64″ thick and where tight tolerance cutting is needed or when large area engraving is required). Vytek Gantry systems are made in sizes from as little as 24″ x 36″ all the way up to 6′ x 10′ and are an excellent choice for cutting and large engraving applications.

Galvanometer (Galvo) systems are based on moving mirror technology similar to what is used to create laser light shows. The mirrors make small adjustments in mirror angles to move the stationary laser beam in different directions within a specific cutting or marking area.
Vytek’s advanced Galvo systems use a range of laser types including sealed CO2 and Fiber laser technologies so you can choose not only the best positioning method but the correct laser light for the job. The advantages of the Galvo system are speed, and Galvos can be up to 10 times faster than a Gantry based system. There are limits on the work area; it usually cannot exceed 24″ x 24″.
Talk to a Vytek representative to learn more about Gantry and Galvo technologies and what is best for your company.

What is Vector or Raster?

A vectored image is defined by a 2 dimensional outline that consists of either straight lines, arcs, angles or circles. It is called a vectored graphic because it is comprised of paths (or vectors) and points that connect the different paths. A laser path or pattern for a vectored graphic has a pre-programmed start point and follows a pre-programmed point-to-point path to a defined end point.

A raster image is defined by closely spaced rows of dots that form an image. A raster image has been scanned from side to side in lines from top to bottom (or bottom to top). The primary sources of images made up from Raster graphics are photographic images from a camera, scanner, emails, or copied from the internet.

Rastered graphics are resolution dependent so they can not scale up to an arbitrary resolution without the possibility of losing image quality. Raster images can be anything that you can see with your eye but are generally photographs or photo-realistic images. These can be used for etching or engraving with a laser.

In some cases, it is possible to convert raster images to vector images with a process called raster to vector conversion. With this method, many raster based images can be converted to vector format and allow a vector/laser path to be applied to it so that a laser system can cut the material as opposed to engrave it.

What is the difference between Raster and Vector programs?

Raster image editors like Adobe Photoshop revolve around editing and manipulating the pixels (dots) within an image. When an image is rendered or created in a raster-based image editor, it is comprised of millions of pixels. At its core, a raster image editor works by manipulating each individual pixel. Common raster programs are Corel Photo Paint, Adobe Photoshop, and others.

What is the difference between Air or Water Cooled Laser Chillers?

When lasers over a certain power level are utilized in etching, engraving, or cutting solutions, heat must be dissipated to keep them from overheating. Water cooling has many advantages over air cooling in efficiency. Technically, water provides superior cooling capacity because it has a thermal conductivity of 0.6062 W/ (m*K) whereas the thermal conductivity of air is only 0.0262. This means heat can be drawn away from laser source more efficiently with water than with air. Water also has a much higher specific heat capacity than air (1.0 J/ (kg*K) versus 0.24), which allows a water cooling system to absorb a lot more energy before heating up.

What if I need high speed large format laser cutting?

Our L-Star system can accommodate large format cutting with work areas ranging from 48″ x 96″ to 60″ x 120″. Your decision on machine platform will be based on the wattage needed for your application. The L-Star is available in wattages from 35 to 1000 Watts.

What if I need high speed large format raster?

The L-Star series laser system has the ability to raster at 175 inches per second. Which will make quick work of your imaging and cutting needs. The L-Star is available with lasers ranging from 35 watts to 1000 watts. Work areas are available in sizes from 48″ x 36″ to 74″ x 122″ and can be equipped with either a tile tray, roller track, or cutting deck.

What is the laser wattage needed for raster engraving?

How much laser wattage you need to engrave depends on the material and how much you will need to produce. Raster engraving stone does not require a lot of power, a 35 watt laser is fine for this purpose.

If your primary business is engraving glass you will need to purchase a 100/120 watt, water cooled laser. Lower wattage laser system will fracture the glass, causing sharding. A higher powered laser system will reflow the glass. Your etching will be even and have no sharp edges. Glass is a sensitive material to engrave and the laser must be water cooled. You will see banding with an air cooled laser.

Wood can be engraved with 35 watts, but 65 will provide greater throughput. If you want to do 3D engraving 65 is the minimum amount of wattage you should consider, a 100 watt laser system will provide faster and better results.

What software do I need?

The software you will need depends on what you want to do with your laser system.

The Photo & Image Engraving Software package should be purchased if you are looking to…:

  • Engrave photographic images onto substrates
  • Engrave text and/or line art. The only exception is if you are purchasing Laserworx software you do not need to purchase the Photo & Image Engraving Software package

Laserworx should be purchased if you are looking to…:

  • Cut substrates. The only exception is if you are purchasing I-Laser Vision software you do not need Laserworx
  • Engrave text and/or line art and want to cut

I-Laser Vision system should be purchased if you are looking to…:

  • Cut out substrates that are printed and need to line up the vector cut lines with the graphic images. I-Laser Vision will also provide full non-linear distortion correction

Can I place a Vytek laser system on a network?

Vytek laser systems have an ethernet port and a user definable IP address. This means that you can either do a direct connection with your computer system and laser, or you can place it on a network. Just let us know how you will be connecting to your laser and when we ship your laser we will include the correct cable.

Vytek laser systems call up the job from a user defined folder which can be located on a computer or on a network which allows multiple users to create files and a different person to run the laser system. You do not need a dedicated computer to run the laser system.

Do I need fume extraction?

In all cases lasers use light energy to effect a change on a material being processed. In most cases this change is caused by the rapid heating and cooling of the materials being laser processed. Laser can produce heat energy in energy densities measured in the megawatts/centimeter squared (MW/cm2) in a relatively small heat affected zone (HAZ). At these extreme but highly predictable and controlled temperatures materials being processed by the laser may melt, burn, bubble, outgas, vaporize, smoke or fumes.

A distinction must be made of the by-products of laser processing found in fumes or smoke. Typically there are larger than micron sized particles of the base material that get caught up in the super heated air vortex and these fall close to the cut area as they cool. Typically called debris, this by-product can be controlled but not always eliminated from the process.

Fume extraction is mainly focused on creating enough vacuum directly around the heat affected area of the material being laser processed to remove those gases caused when the material breaks down into a vapor, remove any smell or strong odor caused by this out gassing and capture those micron sized particles that can be taken up by fume extraction system.

There are several methods used to create proper fume extraction. These might include but are not limited to tip extraction, extraction hoods, downdraft vacuum (open flat bed) and full enclosure evacuation and in some cases even room evacuation. Each technique greatly affects the amount of air volume required to meet the minimum 0.5 m/s as set out by the British COSHH (LEV guidance notes) and the United States EPA Clean Air Act (CAA) and the U.S. Code (USC) for emissions.

Once the fume is captured it can be processed through a variety of HEPA filters (to remove particle contaminants) and charcoal filters (to remove smells and odors).

In all cases the experts at Vytek laser can help you make the selection of proper fume extraction systems needed for your particular application.


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