Lasers are used in many industries to do many tasks. Rofin-Sinar UK has been at the forefront of laser technology for the last 20 years and is a leading manufacturer of sealed carbon dioxide (CO2) laser sources in the range 0 to 1000 W. Its portfolio is capable of a range of applications, from cutting, drilling and perforating to marking, engraving, scribing and welding. The lasers can be used on a wide array of materials be they textiles, plastic, polymer, acrylic, rubber, FR4, glass, wood, ceramics or metal.
Visitors to the Rofin-Sinar UK China Booth 2H22 at Laser South China between 10-12 October 2018, can learn about the capabilities of all products and find out which laser source is best suited to their industry and process.
Packaging – fresher for longer
Consumers are buying increasing amounts of pre-packed foods including meat, fruit and vegetables. Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) technology ensures that these products remain fresh for as long as possible by regulating the levels of oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen and other gases inside the pack. Packaging must be tailored according to the product type, and the mechanism of decay and respiration rate of a particular product.
SR-series lasers can be used to perforate holes at regular intervals across the packaging film in accordance with the respiration rate of the produce inside. The IP66-rated hard sealed CO2 laser is integrated in the packaging machinery, where hole size can be monitored continuously and adjusted on the fly, so the film can be perforated accurately and reliably. In this way, the colour, taste and nutrient content in food is preserved. Mould growth is inhibited and the shelf life is increased in a controlled and predictable manner.
Labelling – quick and environmentally friendly
Food labelling legislation is becoming more stringent and there is pressure on the industry to mark lot numbers, batch codes and “best before” dates on products. This information must be frequently updated as they are applied to each item.
Lasers are now a popular choice for food packaging companies for a number of reasons that include the versatility of the material they can mark and the longevity of the inscription compared to the alternative inkjet printing method. They have also been proven to be an environmentally sustainable option. Firstly, there is no ink that may contain harmful chemicals. Secondly, because there is no ink, there are no cartridges to be carefully disposed of. This has the added benefit that there are no consumption costs, after the initial investment. Rofin-Sinar UK has a number of lasers suited to labelling, depending on the parameters required.
One option is the MULTISCAN VS, the fastest CO2 laser marker on the market. It can mark stationary or moving products 'on the fly' at speeds of up to 1,200 characters per second using flexible software; this enables intelligent data to be placed anywhere within the specified scan area. There is also an option to generate and download high quality complex graphics and to produce two-dimensional or traditional bar codes. The laser marker provides perfect line tracking and its compact size and reliability allow easy siting and ‘fit and forget’ low maintenance.
Textile industry – a sustainable solution
Lasers are becoming a popular option within the textile industry for putting patterns onto fabric. A prime example is denim suppliers incorporating lasers to finish jeans with the fading, tearing and patterning special effects that are popular on denim today. Rofin-Sinar UK counts the world’s major suppliers to the denim jean industry amongst its customers.
The OEM series from Rofin-Sinar UK is a popular choice for this application. This sealed CO2 laser comes in three wavelengths; 10.6µm, 10.25µm and 9.3µm respectively and can be easily integrated into existing production lines. It has a high quality, round symmetrical beam for high processing speeds and a short optical pulse with high peak power. This improves the edge quality and minimises the heat affected zone.
The technology is based on the well-proven Slab principle, with no need for gas recirculation equipment such as vacuum pumps or pressure control systems. As gas exchange is unnecessary before 20,000 operational hours, the running, maintenance and service costs are minimal resulting in this laser having a long lifetime and trouble-free operation.
By incorporating lasers into the finishing stage of the jean making process, manufacturers reduce the use of harsh chemicals and water needed in the traditional finishing process. Furthermore, a pair of jeans can be finished every 90 seconds, instead of 20 minutes, a significant advantage for an industry faced with increased competition and a fast fashion cycle.