The challenge of the hottest laser digital etching

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Laser digital etching - a challenge to traditional die cutting

laser digital etching refers to the process of etching materials with a laser beam (the vaporization of the material irradiated by the laser) instead of traditional die cutting based on digital information

typical laser digital etching processing system includes: carbon dioxide laser and scanning head, power unit, cooler, power controller, software, smoke chamber, etc. if it is not combined with printing machinery or processing production line, there is also the operation system of processing roll: for processing with high registration accuracy requirements, it may also need to be equipped with electronic display and comparison system. The total investment is estimated to be between 180000 and 300000 US dollars

in the old system, the laser is fixed, while the processing worktable of the material moves in the X and Y directions, so the speed is limited and it is difficult to be popular. The new system uses a scanning current meter to control the laser beam and rotating mirror, so that the laser beam can scan in all directions, and the processing speed is greatly improved, which can reach the range of 80 to 600 inches per second. For the drum to drum laser processing system, it can also be processed intermittently, that is, the laser beam repeats the processing intermittently according to the programmed pattern information (like the continuous drying machine). The etching depth of the processed material can be flexibly adjusted (or completely penetrated, or slightly touched, for indentation or Film Uncovering) as long as the etching speed or laser parameters are adjusted

obviously, the advantages of this new type of laser digital etching are easy to understand

1. Flexibility: no mold is needed for any shape. As long as a program is programmed, the laser beam can engrave the shape and depth to be "die cut" according to the program, and it can be changed in operation without "tools", which opens the door to the personalization or small batch quantification of packaging or trademarks

2. Good accuracy: the tolerance shall not exceed 3 ‰ mm. It can also compensate the error between printing and post-processing, because the laser can be compensated and adjusted, while in traditional die cutting, it is difficult to change after the mold is fixed

3. High production efficiency: because there is no need to make molds, you only need to compile a good program, and the task is done at any time, which saves time and trouble. If there is any change in the last minute before processing, it can be adjusted without affecting production. No matter the simple or complex processing shape, its processing cost is the same, and the time spent is basically the same. Its processing speed can basically match the speed of digital printing, which can form continuous production

4. Economic benefits: there is no need to prepare molds, it doesn't matter whether the processing task is large or small, and the business source will be expanded. In the traditional die-cutting process, there are not only various molds (such as flat pressing, wheel pressing, punching, perforating, indentation, etc.), but also complex supporting tools, which can be omitted now

5. Aesthetic effect: laser etching is pressure-free, so there is no trace on the processed material; The pressure-sensitive trademark is not only free from indentation, but also easy to peel off

technically speaking, although it has the above advantages, its popularization and application is still in the initial class. Several manufacturing companies have launched relevant equipment, such as lasersharp, lightning bolt, softdie, acutear, acubreath, etc., all of which are registered trademarks of patents. However, when users introduce such equipment, they are often reluctant to publicly let the outside world know that filtering should be carried out, and even sign a confidentiality agreement with suppliers to maintain their leading position in technology

these devices that have been launched also have certain characteristics. For example, softdie system is aimed at the trademark market, so multi-channel laser beam scanning is used to improve the etching speed to 600 IPS, which can match the speed of the trademark printing machine, and offline processing is certainly no problem. Acutear and acubreathe systems have been launched for the flexible packaging market since the beginning of 2000. They can indent or micropore multilayer composite film packaging without damaging the sealing performance of the packaging. Experts also pointed out that it is almost impossible to make some plastics brittle by making pores in flexible packaging. It is impossible to make them breathable in rotary molding. Because it can avoid the situation that the valley value is close to or zero to some extent, it is impossible to etch a 3500 square foot space so small and bright, and there are often residues to block the pores, but laser etching is not a problem

of course, the emergence of new technologies cannot be perfect at once, and some situations need to be further studied and improved. For example, there are various kinds of packaging materials with different thickness, and the performance will also vary. When laser etching, how to master the etching retention time or laser energy properly to make the etching edge smooth and smooth, and the depth satisfactory, there is also a process from never familiar to skilled. In addition, there are certain limitations, such as: metal materials are not suitable; There are certain shortcomings, such as: laser cut microstrip slope, some materials may change color, some plastics may slightly show burrs, etc

but in general, some experts predict that within 10 years, the traditional die-cutting process may disappear in some large packaging processing enterprises: in the vast packaging processing market, laser etching processing technology will be increasingly welcomed and promoted. This is another leap in the application of laser technology to "die cutting"

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