Laser Marking Cures Insulin Pen Production Ills
In their words
“Coherent built a laser marking engine that would deliver the required performance and reliability, meet cost targets, and interface with the rest of the marking system.”
— Teddy Schultz, Sales Director, Masentia A/S
Marking the dosage scale on the rotating dose selector of an insulin pen presents several challenges. First, mark accuracy must be high in order to ensure that users administer the correct dosage. And, the mark itself must be sufficiently legible, so that the consumer has no difficulty reading it. But, the economics of insulin pen production dictate that the marking system be exceptionally cost-effective and the cost-per-part extremely low. This translates into the ability to mark with high throughput, and to run with minimal operating costs – in particular, any consumables.
Laser marking is the only viable option that meets all the quality, throughput and cost goals for this application. Ink marking becomes prohibitively expensive at very high production volumes due to the cost of consumables (ink). Plus, the contact nature of ink printing creates uptime and reliability issues. In this particular instance, molding the scales directly into the parts also wasn’t possible because the manufacturer produces a number of part variants for their own customers, and each of these would then require a separate (expensive) tool. But, despite the inherent advantages of laser technology for this application, actually implementing a solution that met all the end user’s requirements required close cooperation between laser system supplier Coherent, production equipment supplier Masentia A/S (Odense, Denmark), and machine builder SVM Automatik A/S (Silkeborg, Denmark).
For this application, the process speed requirement was addressed by incorporating multiple (four or six) Coherent Powerline E40 laser markers within a single system. The Powerline E 40 includes a 40 W (at 1064 nm) diode-pumped, solid-state laser, two-axis galvanometer scanner, scan optics, control/interface electronics, and Visual Laser Marker (VLM) control software. Each marker is separately controlled which allows simultaneous marking around the entire circumference of the part, in a single operation, without any part rotation or movement. Coherent supplied the laser markers, and Masentia installed and configured them within the overall system. Then, SVM Automatik packaged the tool and designed and built the robotics and specific hardware and software necessary to integrate it with the customer’s other production equipment. This close cooperation was key to delivering a marking system that met end user’s performance, reliability, cost targets, and could work in their existing manufacturing environment.