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Plastic Laser Engraver:Laser Engraving Marking Plastics Solution

Apr 27, 2021

Plastic is an important packaging material. The marks on plastic products are commonly generated by these processing methods,such as printing, sticking labels,embossing, engraving and punching, etc.While utilize laser marking & engraving machine to produce marks on the surface of plastic material with high speed and permanent.

 

The plastic laser marking machine can mark codes, labels, characters, lines, numbers and even colors on the plastic material without other processing.

 

Therefore,with a laser machine system, you can mark or engrave many types of plastics, such as ABS, polycarbonate, polyamide, resulting in more efficiently and high-quality finish.

 

laser marking PVC

Types of Marking Plastic

 

Here are some common plastics that suitable for laser engraving & marking:

 

  • Polyamide (PA)
  • Polycarbonate (PC)
  • Polypropylene (PP)
  • Polyoxymethylene (POM)
  • Polyimide PI
  • Polystyrene PS
  • Polyethylene (PE)
  • Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene copolymer (ABS)
  • Polymethylmetacrylate PMMA
  • Polyester (PES)
  • Polyethylene terephthalate PET
  • Polyarylsulfone (PSU, PPSU)
  • Poly ether ketone (PEEK)
  • Silicone

 

The Advantages of Laser Marking for Plastic

 

In recent years, the application of laser marking for plastics and layer materials is very popular. The main reason are below advantages of laser marking:

 

  • Permanent and durable high-resolution mark
  • High flexibility
  • No-contact marking, no work-piece wear
  • Protection of environment, no paint, ink, acid, solvent or label;
  • High production efficiency, especially for small batch production;
  • Enable to mark recesses and hard-to-reach parts of the work-piece
  • Easy to integrate with automatic production line;
  • Low operating cost

 

How Does it Work

 

Laser marking plastics uses laser beam with high-energy to carbonize the surface of the plastic or generate gas due to decompose certain components on the surface of material to foam the plastic to leave a mark with a large color contrast.

 

What Type of Laser is Suitable for Marking Plastic

 

laser marking plastic

Some plastics are easy to mark since they are easy to absorb laser, while some plastics are unable to absorb laser resulting in cannot be marked. Therefore, Although under the same laser strength, different plastics will get different resolution marks. For example, For high-density polyethylene and polycarbonate,you can get an ideal marks without adding any additives by UV lasers; While using CO2 laser engraving machines,the result will not be clear unless adding special additives. In addition, plastic degradation, cracks, and cavities on the surface of material etc., will also reduce the quality of marks. So How to choose plastic laser marking machine correctly?

 

There are common tree types of laser system option:

 

  • Fiber laser marking machines
  • CO2 laser marking machines
  • UV laser marking machines etc.

 

In general,For marking plastics,the first option is CO2 laser marking machine since its cheap price and many plastic material applications.The fiber laser marking machine can also mark most plastic material. UV laser marking more better result,but relatively more expensive.

 

Whether to use a CO2 laser,fiber laser or UV laser deepens on your requirement.Some factors will affect which type of laser used:

 

  • The components of the marking material
  • Marking area
  • Thickness of the marking material

 

The best way is to send the sample to test,if you need,We are ready to help you.

 

Laser Marking Plastic Material Method

 

Removing

laser removing

 

Removing method is commonly used for multi-layer plastics, such as laminates. During the marking or engraving operation, the laser beam to evaporate the top layers of these material resulting in contrasting colors .

 

Carbonizing

laser carbonizing

 

Another is carbonizing technique,Through laser beam heating on the surface of material (minimum 100° C),then releases the oxygen, hydrogen or a combination of both gases. It will appear a darkened area with higher carbon concentration.

 

Carbonizing can be used on polymers or bio-polymers such as leather and wood, but will be unclear mark for some darker materials.Its marking method is to utilize laser marking machine in a lower energy and slightly longer marking times condition to finish the job.

 

Color change

laser color change

 

The principle of color changing technology is through an electrical process of reordering the macromolecules of marking materials without  physical change.However,It may cause a partial foaming.

 

Most color changes may bring a dark appearance. However,may be dark or bright for all polymers.Its marking method is to utilize laser marking machine in a maximum pulse rate and a low energy per pulse condition to finish the job.

 

Foaming

lase foma

 

Foaming generates a clear label on the surface of materials due to thermal effect . During the very fast cooling processes, bubbles are encapsulated in the material resulting in a clear mark.

 

Foaming is commonly used for some metals as well as polymers, depending on whether the material is lighter or darker in color.Its marking method is to utilize the laser marking machine in a lower output power and longer pulses condition to do the job.

 

How to make high-quality marks on plastic

 

Above mention,some laser marking machine may cannot mark or be not clear mark on some plastic material,such as:resin, ABS, PP\PE and other materials. So how to solve this issue to make high quality marks?

 

Method:

 

1, In terms of thermal influence, UV laser marking machine is the best choice.

2,Add laser additive

 

Principle:

 

The laser additive mainly absorbs laser energy and converts into heat energy, produces a chemical reaction caused by heating, carbonization, evaporation and the additive's own discoloration to the plastic, thereby marking a clear pattern on the surface of plastic.

 

Suitable for marking material: PP PC PE ABS TPU PA PA6 PBT POM TPE TPV TPR PET and other plastics as well as coatings (inks, paints, unsaturated resins) and other materials, black, white, gold, gray, and color marking available.

 

Summary

 

Plastic laser marking is a kind of high speed, flexible,durable and high-quality processing methods. While different type of plastic require different laser marking machines.You should always test a material sample prior to processing a full batch.The best way is to send samples for testing.We are happy to help you!