Laser processing is more ubiquitous than most people surmise, and numerous items for everyday use are likely the products of laser machining technology. But before anything else, what exactly is laser processing, and what does it entail?
As you probably remember from school, lasers generate powerful beams of coherent light via stimulated emission of photons. The optical properties of lasers are utilized in laser technology, where a gain medium and a resonator determine the laser device’s wavelength, power, and output type.
The most prominent examples of laser processing techniques are laser cutting, which employs thermal separation process for materials like metal, wood, glass, or plastic; and laser marking, in which the laser serves to alter or remove a shallow surface layer of the material in order to impress a particular mark or code.
That said, what are some products of laser processing that you yourself might have on hand? Learn about how some of the common everyday products are efficiently crafted and rendered unique through laser processing technology.
Your food and beverage containers
Lately there’s been an upswell in consumables that are distributed in clever packaging—such as those that possess markings right on the jars or the bottles themselves, and nothing else. Think of cosmopolitan-looking wine bottles or jars that are designed to highlight the bright shapes and colors of the food or beverage inside them. Laser engraving is used to impress the letters, symbols, and product logos of some of the trendiest brands we know today. This style of packaging is responsible for the success of many sophisticated and exclusive food and beverage brands.
Your designer clothes and accessories
Fashion items such as garments and shoes from high-end brands like Alexander McQueen, or more low-key entry-level luxury brands like Burberry, are typically given their signature impressions via laser marking. Many of your favorite leather bags are also stamped on the inside through the process of laser engraving.
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The parts making up many of the modern chairs, tables, and couches that furnish your house or your office are likely cut with laser cutting technology. Laser cutting is also behind many of the successful machining of bespoke fabric, cushioning, metal, and composite parts in your furnishings.
Your vintage art deco
The same laser processing efforts made for furniture are likely honed to produce exquisite and rustic-looking decorations. Some examples are wooden ornaments, carved wooden tiles, wood block prints, or wooden sculptures. Artists can work with almost any material, and cleanly impress their signature techniques on it. If any of these dot your home, office, or neighborhood café, you can reflect on the level of craftsmanship it took to make them.
There’s a booming market for specialty kitchenware such as cheese boards, cork coasters, and ceramic plates that are made with laser processing technologies. These items are probably cut and embellished with laser devices. They make the dining experience at home or in restaurants all the better, creating a premium and artisanal feel for diners to relish.
Your guitar, violin, or piano
Are you a casual music fan, or a budding musician? Instruments like guitars, violins, and pianos comprise many individual parts that are carefully cut and shaped before they are assembled. As many as a hundred parts can be required of a quality musical instrument, and to this end, big instrument companies have used laser cutting to their advantage. Look also for the laser engravings that brand your guitar’s neck or your piano’s action frame.
Laser processing technologies are thus responsible not only for the mass-manufacturing of identical products, but also for branding them with distinctive identities. Hope this gives you some fresh perspective about these everyday items you can’t live without!