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Laser Marking & Engraving for ABS Plastic & Polycarbonate(PC)

Apr 28, 2021

Laser marking machine is widely used for marking polycarbonate and ABS material,which can be used for marking & engraving number, trademark or codes etc text and pattern on the polycarbonate or ABS material.

 

What is Polycarbonate & ABS Plastic

 

What is ABS Plastic

 

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) is an opaque thermoplastic and amorphous polymer, that is widely used in the plastic industry, the thermoplastic is made out of three monomer units:

 

Acrylonitrile: A synthetic monomer produced from ammonia and propylene.

 

Butadiene: A monomer that results as a bi-product along with ethylene when produced from steam crackers.

 

Styrene: A monomer produced by dehydrogenation of ethylbenzene.

 

What is Polycarbonate

 

Polycarbonate (PC) plastics are a naturally transparent amorphous thermoplastic. Although they are made commercially available in a variety of colors (perhaps translucent and perhaps not), the raw material allows for the internal transmission of light nearly in the same capacity as glass.  

 

Polycarbonate plastics are engineering plastics in that they are typically used for more capable, robust materials such as in impact resistant “glass-like”surfaces[1].

 

laser marking Polycarbonate

 

PC & ABS Plastic Laser Marking Applications

 

Like other metal or plastic material,PC & ABS plastics are widely used for many applications. laser marking PC & ABS plastics can increase you production efficiency and capabilities.Here are some common laser engraving or marking PC & ABS plastics applications:

 

  • Electronic components
  • Printed circuit boards (PCB)
  • Tools and handles of tools
  • Identification tags for animals
  • Packaging
  • Housings made of plastic
  • Electric plugs
  • Automotive parts
  • Keyboards
  • Buttons and switches with day & night design

 

Laser Marking Machine for PC & ABS material

 

Compared with other marking materials, the method of making a clear and noticeable marks on polycarbonate or ABS materials is different. In some laser,laser beams cannot be absorbed immediately by polycarbonate or ABS materials with transparent or light-colored surfaces, but they will be absorbed by the upper part of the material hence causes foam bulge, up to 0.2-0.3 mm.

 

Assuming that the work-piece is continuous to absorb heat,while the heat will be controlled by the average output power of the laser, speed or pulse duration. Increasing the power and reducing the marking speed will increase the heat.So,It will cause the foam to expand further and become clumps to crack.How to correctly choose a laser system?

 

Although there are common three types of laser used for marking PC & ABS material,each has its own advantages and disadvantages:

 

Fiber laser

 

For the marking ordinary polymers & ABS material, a common fiber laser with 20W can fit your requirement.However,You may only get a rough marking results that not suitable for fine marking.A MOPA laser is better than common fiber laser since its pulse duration adjustable and high flexibility.But which is also not the best solution for fine marking on polymers & ABS material.

 

UV laser

 

In terms of the quality of marking,UV laser marker is the ideal choice for marking polymers & ABS material.

 

Ultraviolet laser marking belongs to "cold marking",there will be no burns the surface of material.UV laser marker posses high beam quality and small focusing spot,The 355 nm short wavelength directly produces a photochemical reaction with the polycarbonate & ABS without heating hence that no damage to the material.

 

It is very suitable for fine marking,In this method, it is possible to do a precision marking track width as small as nanometer on a small component.

 

Nowadays,UV laser marking machine for fine marking polycarbonate & ABS material has played an irreplaceable role.

laser marking ABS plastic

 

Differences Between PC & ABS Plastic Laser Marking and Engraving

 

Although sometime laser marking is also called laser engraving,but there are differences between us. They have their own different applications:

 

PC & ABS Plastic Laser Marking

 

Laser marking  plastics is a kind of no-contact processing mehod,which uses the high energy laser beam to meet with the surface of the PC & ABS plastic material to leave a permanent mark.

 

There are common types of non-contact laser marking options including: foaming, carbonization and color change.laser marking is a good way for marking barcodes,codes, logos, and other information on the surface of PC & ABS plastics.

 

What is the color of laser marking on polycarbonate(PC) & ABS plastic

 

In general,the marking is white on the black material,the gray black on the other colors plastic.

 

PC & ABS Plastic Laser engraving

 

Laser engraving PC & ABS plastic uses a laser beam to removes the surface of the material to expose a noticeable cavity.

 

If you need a more deeper marks ,you can be repeated it several times.

 

There are common three types of PC & ABS plastic engraving method available: etching, deep laser engraving and laser ablation.

 

Summary

 

In general,Laser cutting of polycarbonate is best done with a 10.6 um CO2 laser since its good price and many application. The laser marking for polycarbonate is best done with a 355nm UV laser. The UV laser can produce a noticeable black marks with fine details.