Laser engraving has continued to be popular over the years since the idea first surfaced in the early 1990s, providing great potential for profit. Many people who are just starting out in the engraving or award business first asked about laser engraving because they had heard of its popularity. Meanwhile, laser equipment manufacturers are continually improving the technology, and new applications are being offered while more and more materials than even can be etched profitably for the expanding marketplace.
Increased interest can also be attributed to the fact that laser engraving systems are becoming more and more versatile. This fuels the demand for new applications across many industries, and as more people become aware of the capabilities of laser engraving systems, even more interest is being created.
Another factor influencing growth is an improving economy. Prices for entry-level laser etching machines continually are getting lower and high-quality 25-30 watt machines can now be purchased in a package for considerably less than £10,000.
Today’s laser etching machines operate faster, are more user-friendly and are generally less expensive. Large expensive “chillers” are no longer needed to keep the laser cool, and power consumption is much less than even five years ago. The latest laser tube technology makes systems last much longer and have the capability to offer higher power levels than ever before. Lasers are also much safer to use today. Numerous enhancements including alarms and software warn the operator if the substrate is too thick for the laser to etch safely.
New business startups can be home-based without major overhead costs and the ease of operation is generally quick and easy. Many existing businesses are also beginning to offer laser engraving services. For instance, embroidery shops are finding that they can expand their business easily by offering plaques and awards, and jewellers are beginning to offer engraving in-house to increase their sales and margins.
Once a laser engraving business becomes established, a large portion of the business will depend on selling to repeat buyers. Positive word-of-mouth advertising will lead to additional customers in a continually escalating spiral that leads to increased profits and continued success.
Another factor that differentiates a successful laser etching business is being able to think “outside the box” to help customers with their specific requests. It’s highly important to be able to successfully handle a wide variety of customer requests, and laser engraving offers business owners a large opportunity to put their “creative juices” to work. Today’s engravers also need to stay current on newer materials and designs in order to stay competitive.
Today laser technology continues to improve. More and more laserable materials are becoming available, and owners and operators are becoming more experienced in using their laser machines. Being able to diversify into new markets will attract additional customers and applications, likely leading to continued success.
As laser engraving continues to be popular, most users are finding that the business offers a unique and exciting opportunity. With improved technology and new applications, the future of laser engraving seems to be assured in the 21st Century.