Laser-Sensitive Additives for Optimized Marking Results on Plastics

While selecting basic plastic material for a special industrial application, manufacturers need to consider whether the material is appropriate for marking – in order not to obtain unpleasant results at the end of the production process.

The component as a whole and also the applied marks may need to meet demanding requirements regarding heat or abrasion resistance. Color contrast and resolution, above all, must guarantee the best readability. Many plastics or masterbatch suppliers provide formulations designed for laser marking to enable best marking results. As the laser has an impact on the molecular structure of laser-sensitive additives and/or color pigments, the resulting color change creates plastic-embedded, long lasting marks. Compared to conventional plastics, these materials can be marked more precisely, faster and with consistent quality.

Long-term readability ensures the traceability of various products, e.g. of electronic components, medical instruments, automotive parts, type plates or other identification-determining marks. The pictures show laser-optimized plastic coupons, made by PolyOne Corporation (now Avient) – Color and Additives North America, and marked with a FOBA laser system. Different kinds of plastics like Nylon, Olefinic, Polycarbonate, Styrenic as well as PET/PMMA (often for the packaging industry) or TPU (thermoplastic Polyurethane – often for handles) have been employed.