Laser markings on plastic

Do we need to put a mark on plastics? all the same

Plastic materials are highly diverse in their chemical compositions. In reality, polycarbonate, polyamide, polyester, PE PET ABS, and many more are all considered plastics. Their eclectic pieces result in different outcomes for the various processes, such as Laser marking plastic. The selection of a laser in terms of the wavelength required is determined by the type of plastic being used.

PET, for instance, requires a specific short wavelength of 9.3 millimeters, which you can obtain with CO2 lasers. Lasers with different wavelengths could cause excessive heat to the plastic, creating burns and micro-holes. The marking of lasers on this quasi-transparent plastic produces white lines that appear to be floating over the top of the material. From PET bottles and thin film, using the correct parameters to make laser marks on plastics gives clear and sharp results.

Laser versus inkjet

The various sources of laser light and the broad technological advancements in modern laser technology today allow us to apply laser markings on any plastic. Marking with lasers is superior to other methods for putting codes, logos, and designs on parts. When compared to inkjet printing, laser marking doesn’t have the issues of adhesion of ink or dark contrast or even finish complexity. The reason is that the laser can remove or alter an area of the material or alter its color and create contrast.

Laser markers for plastic

The most widely used lasers used to mark plastic include popular lasers like the well-known UV laser, and it’s the FlyPeak green laser made by LASIT, and the more traditional green light laser with fiber optic sources. In most cases, it is recommended to use a MOPA laser (variable pulse). Due to the capability to control the timing of pulses, the laser is highly efficient even in the most challenging tasks.

Laser technicians conduct experiments to identify which laser can provide the desired results for certain plastics. Based on the results of the initial tests, they will be able to locate the most influential parameters for the particular job. The initial parameters they choose to use typically are those as follows:

  • High Speed (900-1200mm/sec)
  • Low Frequency (10-20kHz)
  • Power with low average (30-60 percent)

Most of the time, imposing an image can backfire and reduce the contrast. It’s the reason it’s recommended to begin with a single repetition and increase it gradually from there.

Below, we’ve identified 3 of the most commonly used plastics used in the laser marking process, describing their properties and the most suitable conditions for marking them.

The FlyPeak Green Light Laser

Controlling the amount of heat absorbed is an essential factor in achieving high-quality mark-making with lasers in plastic.

The Frequency of the Laser FlyPeak never exceeds 10 ns across the entire spectrum (at 20 kHz, which is 3.5 N). This lets us cool the marking compared to conventional nanosecond lasers like fiber lasers, which enhances the efficiency of the marking process and result.

FlyPeak laser marker FlyPeak utilizes the DPSS (diode solid state pumped) system that offers high peak power and a less intense pulse than other solid-state lasers available on the market and keeps the power average unchanged. There isn’t any better-performing laser on the market today.

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