Individualized codes with flexible contents like QR-codes on beverage cans can be applied on the outside of the can as well as inside the opener. They serve as marketing tools which help to increase customer engagement with the brand. By scanning the code with a mobile device, the end-user can access the brand’s website, join a contest, benefit from special promotion s etc.
Complex structures of a substrate – such as on castings in the automotive sector – may complicate the readability of the applied codes due to shadows in varying lighting conditions and therefore poor contrasts.
Ceramic is a material that needs to be highly resistant against wear or temperature changes, especially in industrial applications. When hardness increases, the substrate becomes more sensitive against mechanical impact, which might lead to damages and a loss in quality. For that reason it is essential to avoid micro cracks during the marking process.
For marking food with logos, quality labels, identification numbers or best-before dates, CO2-laser marking is the most appropriate method. Just a little laser energy must be applied to the skin of fruits and vegetables, nutshells or bakery products, so that the product’s quality is barely affected. Laser marking can result in reduced consumption of plastic packages or adhesive labels.
For sample marking on ball bearings, we applied marks with two different procedures for demonstration purposes: laser engraving on the outside, laser annealing on the inside circle. Both markings are robust and durable. For heavily used metal substrates like some bearings, the preferred marking method is often laser engraving, because the marking remains readable even in highly abrasive use.
Musical instruments often get marked with company logos, serial numbers or other information. Different marking systems are utilized, depending on the material.
Expensive materials like titanium, and especially the products made from it, require markings of an appropriate high quality. In order to demonstrate the marking capabilities of a pulsed fiber laser on titanium, we have marked the material with 80 fields of different colors on plates of 5 x 5 cm (1.97 in²) for our sample case. By specifically adapting the laser parameters, it is possible to obtain multiple shades and intensities of colors.
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.
The “high class” version of the conventional French fry fork and reusable as well: our stainless steel laser cut and laser marked application sample has been introduced right for the start of the 2017 barbecue season, and has been highly appreciated by our trade show visitors so far.
UV-laser marking systems with a wavelength of 355 nm use relatively little energy (ca. 2 watt). As a result, only a low heat level is created and the surrounding material is barely affected – which thus contributes to high marking contrasts. UV-lasers are therefore well suited for the marking of sensitive surfaces, e.g. translucent plastics, materials with chemical additives, glass, ceramics etc.