Polymer Processing

Laser-Based Polymer Welding, Marking, and Cutting

Polymer Processing – The Right Laser for Every Task

Lasers are employed in a tremendous range of plastics processing tasks, and Coherent, with the widest product portfolio of any laser manufacturer, can offer the right technology for best outcomes for virtually any application.

This includes CO2 lasers for cutting, slitting, and perforating, diode lasers for welding, and diode-pumped solid-state lasers and fiber lasers for marking. Plus, Coherent offers solutions from laser sources, to sub-systems, to fully integrated, turnkey machines. This is all backed up by extensive applications knowledge and support, ensuring that you get the right laser at the required level of integration, and the process know-how necessary to deliver maximum productivity.

Laser Marking

Laser marking of polymers can be performed by two distinct methods. In the first, called carbonization, the laser heats the material until a chemical change occurs, typically causing it to darken. Thus, carbonization is usually used to produce a dark mark on a light colored or clear polymer. In the second, called foaming or frothing, the incident laser light heats the material until gas bubbles are formed, physically altering the surface, and producing a raised mark.

automotive laser cutting Electrical Insulation

Lasers can mark virtually any type of insulation, and can produce either dark or light markings as required, depending upon the color of the insulation. Furthermore, laser marking is a high-speed, flexible process which can be configured to simultaneously mark both sides of a wire, and also mark on-the-fly.

For this application we recommend the laser markers: PowerLine Pico, PowerLine F, PowerLine E, PowerLine C

automotive laser cuttingPhotochemical processes

Lasers with output in the green (532 nm) and ultraviolet (355 nm) can be used for bleaching and photo reduction processes. UV-induced photo reduction is often called „cold marking“, as there is no noticeable heating of the material.

For this application we recommend the laser markers: PowerLine Pico, PowerLine F, PowerLine E, PowerLine C

automotive laser cutting Day & Night Marking

Day & night laser marking of plastic parts is widely used in the automotive industry and consumer electronics. Due to its great flexibility and the low production cost, laser day & night marking has almost completely replaced two-component injection molding.

For this application we recommend the laser markers: PowerLine F

automotive laser cutting Ear-tag Marking

Laser marking offers a superior alternative for creating marks, including bar codes, text and images, on thermoplastic urethane (TPU) livestock ear tags. The Coherent ear tag solution is even compatible with the latest TPU formulations, particularly those which do not contain antimony trioxide (ATO); while ATO is the additive most commonly used to facilitate laser marking of TPU, it is also a suspected carcinogen. The Coherent ear-tag system produces high contrast marks at competitive speeds on both traditional and alternative, ATO-free formulations, thus offering a more sustainable alternative for ear-tag production.

For this application we recommend the laser markers: PowerLine F

Laser Transmission Welding

Laser transmission welding is a widely employed technique which produces particle-free, high throughput welds that are completely contained within the part. The basic principal of transmission welding is relatively simple. The material of the top part is transmissive at the laser wavelength, while the bottom part strongly absorbs the laser light. This allows the laser light to pass through the top material and be absorbed at the interface between the two parts, melting them and producing an interior weld. The pigments used in the bottom part absorb laser energy in the IR range, making diode lasers are the ideal choice for this application. With different wavelengths ranging from 808 to 1470 nm, they are compatible with a variety of common pigments. The specific embodiment of diode laser welding depends upon the exact geometry of the parts.

automotive laser cutting Automotive components

Transmission welding produces joints within the part, resulting in minimal heat input and perfect surfaces. This makes it ideal for producing airtight welds in sensitive components – such as sensors. Another common application are car keys.

For this application we recommend: ExactWeld 230 P

automotive laser cuttingHousings for electronics

In the quasi-simultaneous welding method, even complex welding contours can be accommodated with the use of a galvanometer scanner head. The use of closed loop welding temperature controls delivers a high degree of process safety and control.

For this application we recommend: ExactWeld 230 P

Laser Cutting

Compared to common separation methods, such as flame or hot knife cutting, laser technology offers enhanced flexibility and quality. Lasers, in combination with galvanometer scanner heads, are used for high speed, precision cutting of PMMA, PET and many other plastics. Due to the particular characteristics of the way the laser melts the material, the cut edge appears smooth and clean, and is free of micro cracks. And, non-contact laser cutting never suffers from tool wear, making the process consistent, and eliminating downtime for tool replacement. .

automotive laser cutting Automotive parts

Smooth, clean edge cutting of plastic-injection molded parts can be performed without color changeor deposition of debris.

For this application we recommend: Coherent CO2 DC Series

automotive laser cutting Cutting of PC boards

Rapid and precise cutting of fiber optic reinforced synthetic resin plates can be performed witha CO2 laser.

For this application we recommend: PowerLine C, PowerLine AVIA NX