Laser-marking is the process of marking or labelling plastic parts with a laser beam. In this regard, different processes can be distinguished, such as engraving, removing, staining, annealing and foaming. Depending on the material and the quality requirement, each of these procedures has its own advantages and disadvantages. Uneven finishes and shapes can be marked with labels, logos, serial numbers, and other important information.
Many of our engineering compounds can be developed for laser marking. Laser marks last indefinitely and are made with a Nd:YAG- or CO2 laser. Markings read with a camera need sharp features in the code markings (e.g. bar codes) and therefor require a dispersed laser additive in the compound matrix.
A disadvantage of conventional coloured laser marks is that they may fade when exposed to UV light. Incorporating UV stabilizers or applying an external UV resistant coating to the compound will slow any fading.
Laser-marking our Cawiton® materials is achieved by staining or foaming:
Staining: In the staining method, the heat effect generated by the laser beam causes a chemical reaction in the material. Depending on the material composition, this will result in different colour shades. For example, if a light plastic material is discoloured during laser etching, soot particles may be produced that will result in a dark marking.
Foaming: During foaming, the laser beam melts a material. During this process, gas bubbles are produced in the material, which reflect the light diffusively. The marking will thus turn out lighter than the areas that have not been etched. This type of laser-marking is used mainly for dark plastics.
Typical applications are keycaps, knobs, switches, automotive interior, safety equipment, medical packaging like tubes or tray and other sample holders where each sample needs their independent marking numerical, dotted- or bar code.
If you have a laser-marking problem to be solved, do not hesitate to contact our engineers.