Which Laser Marking Machine Should You Use with Your Substrate?

  • By Domino North America
  • August 14, 2017
  • General
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Product coding and marking has never been the most glamorous art form. There, we said it. But, like product packaging, it is about as essential as essential gets and your business will falter without proper product coding. In the case of Food, Beverage and Pharmaceuticals, our essential products can be a matter of public safety. Even if you aren't in one of those industries, proper product tracing can keep your business on the right side of the ledger. 

For manufacturing companies who use CO2 Laser coders to print alphanumeric or 2D codes onto their products, you will know that while lasers are highly efficient, there are several factors that you need to consider in order to code your products successfully. To help you better understand these factors, Domino is pleased to offer a sequel to their Laser Basics video series, this time focused on Wavelength, titled, CO2 Laser Basics: Wavelength to Substrate Matching”.

This video goes in depth about the overall importance of understanding the relationship between the wavelength of a laser and your substrates. Essentially, if your Beverage company has two different lines - one with glass bottles and the other with aluminum cans, they both can use lasers, but they must each use drastically different laser technology, each configured to the specific needs of the substrate.

It gets even more granular from there. Take the glass bottles alone. If there were green bottles and brown bottles, those those lasers might have to be configured differently due to the different wavelengths needed to mark the different colors of glass.

There is a true science to configuring each and every laser marking machine to the specific needs of the customer and the substrate that they're coding.

The Power of Concentration  

This video walks the viewer through various factors that may impact code quality - even in laser codes, much of which is dependent on key factors such as the characteristics of the material being marked. In the first series video Domino focused on the Power of Concentration, and while it remains absolutely critical, it’s equally important to understand the role the wavelength plays in achieving good marking performance.

According to Jon Hall, Domino Amjet's Senior Product Marketing Manager for Laser at Domino North America, “The wavelength of the laser must be well aligned with the absorptive characteristics of the material being marked.”

Too Hot to Handle

In other words, in order to get a proper code for the substrate, we have to elevate the material to the proper temperature to create the required contrast in the substrate. Each substrate has a quote-unquote “hot spot” which results in the perfect code that is highly legible to the consumer, but that can only be achieved at that point where high absorption meets a specific wavelength.

Do you have confidence your laser solution is delivering the best code for your substrate(s)?

Domino Laser Academy - Way Cooler than it Sounds

While the video itself offers some technical details about lasers and coding, both Hall and Dr. Stefan Stadler, Team Lead at the Laser Academy for Domino, also offer basic analogies for the novice manufacturer just familiarizing themselves with laser printing.

For example, the video takes four very different types of substrates and compares them – PET, Cardboard, Polythylene and Polypropylene – and highlighting that each have their own hot and cold spots. The material used by manufacturers is critical in helping Domino to assess where that hot spot resides and helping us align with the specific laser coding needs of the customer and matching them up with the perfect laser marking machine.

Never one size fits all

At Domino Amjet, we know that your operations are as different as our laser markers are from PALM technologies. Even within the same relative industries can be extremely different from line to line. That's why we go above and beyond with our product testing to assure a rigorous sample process of our Laser technology on your packaging

This brings a more scientific and technological approach to our product coding and marking. Partnering with experts in laser coding and what it means for YOUR substrates needs to be a critical part of your application. Domino takes the guess work out of the equation and delivers the perfect laser marking solution for your application.

We make it our business to know yours. Because supplying the technology is no longer enough…you deserve to have the experience and support and training that will maximize your investment, resulting in long-term consistent, reliable and accurate codes. This support is the Domino Difference. We invite you to find out more.

“The wavelength of the laser must be well aligned with the absorptive characteristics of the material being marked.” -Jon Hall, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Laser at Domino North America
Jon Hall, Domino Amjet's Senior Product Marketing Manager for Laser

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What makes the "Perfect" Product Code and what coder should you use?

Lasers apply “energy” and any contrast created is dependent on the material absorption and reaction to the laser energy. The understanding of how materials absorb & react to laser energy is called Material Science.

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