Unique to the packaging industry, Matthews releases the first fibre laser into Australia. Customers can visit stand 224 during Auspack 2007 to for a demonstration of fibre lasers marking various food and beverage films and plastics.
They can also mark metal materials. A bonus point is that fibre lasers are maintenance free.
- Will not perforate printed snackfood films
- Low cost of ownership (extended extraction filter life)
- 100,000 hour average working lifetime
- High beam quality/energy density
- Can mark material where no special laser field exists
- IP65 protection option
Matthews Intelligent Identification has released the new test in fibre laser technology in Australia: a new configuration of the e-SolarMark.
Fibre lasers use fibre optics, sometimes called by the similar name optical fibres. They are long, thin strands of pure glass that are used to transmit light signals. While not unique, fibre laser technology is certainly new to the packaging industry.
Fibre lasers have several benefits over CO2 laser technology. The key factor is that it is maintenance free, with a life expectancy over three times that of the standard CO2 laser tube technology.
A major feature of fibre laser branding is that when used on flexible films such as biscuit or confectionary film, such as used in snackfood packaging, the fibre laser will not perforate the material; nor, in many cases, will it require a special marking field to be prepared.
Often the original field created for a small character inkjet code will be sufficient.
Packaging film reacts differently to the fibre laser, which operates on a different wavelength to CO2 technology.
This consequently extends the filter life on the extraction system, thus giving a reduced cost of ownership.
Matthews’ e-SolarMark fibre laser only requires 240V power, and is IP65 rated without the need for factory air.
Other benefits of the technology include:
- Small marking-unit size, giving flexibility and ease of installation
- On-the-fly and stationary marking enabled
- Touch-screen user interface and also offering remote data communication and
- High beam stability
Typically, beam power stability in CO2 is plus or minus 10-15%, and the power will vary over periods of time. Due to its beam stability and wavelength, in printed-film applications, fibre laser will not perforate the film.
This gives it ideal usage in food and beverage processing, where the clear, sharp, indelible mark of laser is required, but there may be no specifically suited field.
Take a snack food packaging line, where the film has no special laser field prepared. A text height of 2mm at a marking speed of 110m/min, a fibre laser will successfully mark without injuring or perforating the material.
In a similar situation, CO2 laser technology would melt the plastic foil and the alphanumerics would not be even or readable.
The fibre laser is available in IP52 or IP65 for dusty or wet environments.
For ease of use, a touch-screen is standard, with networking capabilities also standard. Multiple marking fields are available, based on the application’s requirements.