The plastics industry was an early adopter of lasers, using them to mark, etch, or engrave plastics of all kinds. CMS Laser develops cutting edge custom systems matched specifically to your application. Manufacturers around the world bring their requirements to our Applications Lab to let our engineers bring over 250 combined years of experience developing ideal solutions to difficult applications.
Laser Plastic Welding
Control Micro System’s laser plastic welding systems bring modern laser technology together with engineered parts handling. Our reliable custom systems bring economy, speed, accuracy, and repeatable welds to your plastics production requirements.
No other plastic welding technique can match the performance of laser welding. The industry’s continued search for stronger, cleaner, and faster has resulted in the application of several techniques that increase the viability and durability of plastic welds. CMS Laser’s industry-leading plastic welding systems have been shown to outperform any traditional plastic welding system, and improve your bottom line in the process.
Welding of thermoplastic materials and low melting point plastics is a basic process using lasers. They provide extraordinarily accurate control and repeatability, and performing welds smaller than 100 microns is common. Heat is applied precisely and does not affect sounding material or components. In addition, Control Micro Systems has laser plastic welders that can join opaque-to-opaque and transparent-to-transparent plastics.
The weld may be achieved either through a chemical, applied to the plastics, that absorbs a range of laser light allowing the beam to heat the desired area (these chemicals do not interact or interfere with the plastics in any way), or with a 2 micron laser that eliminates the need for the chemical application and allows for extremely tight welds.
Laser plastic welding offers:
Elimination of heat related material stress
High weld speeds
Hermetically sealed welds
Virtually maintenance free operation
High weld quality and reproducibility
No damage to other components
Several different plastics, under proper conditions and configurations, can be laser welded. CMS Laser plastic welders are in production lines around the world (see our Client List). Used in the automotive, medical device, packaging, consumer and other industries, they consistently outperform competing welding techniques and competing laser welding systems. Since we are not required to use a particular type or brand of laser, our Applications Lab tests every appropriate laser and optical configuration with your samples to identify the very best solution.
Our origin was in system controls over 30 years ago and that expertise is unequaled in the laser systems industry. We write every systems control on our machines. The design criteria for controls is to interface easily with your operators and have a stable and reliable platform.
Laser Plastics Marking
The best known solution for printing, etching, and engraving plastics is with a laser marking system. With no heads, bits, inks, or dyes to touch the part, a laser outperforms on speed, contrast, cost per part, and mark quality. There are a variety of lasers available for effective marking, depending on the type of mark (printing, etching, or engraving), the plastic, and the necessary processing speed. They include CO2, YAG, and Vanadate lasers.
For printing, the basic principle is to have the laser beam strike the plastic in an assigned pattern and that pattern absorbs the light energy, converting it to thermal. The subsequent heating causes the plastic to react in a way that causes a color change. This change can be controlled by the laser choice, additives to the plastic source material, and the material itself. There are limitless possibilities exist through the combination of these variables, and our Applications Lab engineers will find the correct solution for you.
The result of any combination falls into one of three categories: foaming, charring, and chemical reaction. Foaming occurs as the thermal energy rises and the heated plastic begins to form bubbles in the material. The foamed area has a different density than surrounding material and will reflect light differently. This causes a lighter or darker area, despite there being no change in the material composition.
Charring is the result of the laser beam heating the plastic to the point of thermal degradation. While non-destructive to the part, the charring shows as dark or black markings on light materials.
Finally, coloring additives can be added to the plastic that allows for a specific color reaction when heated. As the laser beam marks a particular spot, the thermal energy heats that area and the result is a predetermined color reaction.
All these processes run without an element ever touching the part. The laser does all the work and, combined with a beam-directing galvanometer, speeds in excess of 100 characters/second can be achieved. It’s easy to see how the massive speed, reliability, and accuracy advantages of laser plastic marking make lasers the state of the art solution for marking.