Marking Process: After you have identified a material to use based upon the requirements, you need to consider the marking process. Of course, your customer doesn’t care how the material is imaged (with a laser, a printer, etc.), only that the end result is durable. Luckily, many materials that can be imaged with a CO2 laser are durable; however, some require longer dwell times or multiple finishing steps before and after lasering. If you have a lot of parts to mark, you may think twice before picking a material that requires multiple steps.
Costs: Part of the reason industrial clients are not as concerned with price as with quality is that industrial products cannot fail. The cost of failure in terms of safety hazards, equipment failure, and regulatory fines far outweighs the cost of the part; so industrial customers are usually willing to pay for the assurance that a part will not fail. Although the cost of the product is less important than in traditional awards applications, when you consider the cost of raw materials and labor processing, you may start to see your returns diminish with high-cost laser-markable products.
Consistency of Product: Products made by known manufacturers often have more consistent quality standards than generic products. Black anodized aluminum, for example, has highly variable durability based upon inconsistent anodizing methods. Branded products often have more reliable production track records than generic ones.
-Sam Wainer and Andy Marvin, Horizons ISG