Competing with ink jet markers

San Jose, CA—It is quite evident that, as noted at various trade shows, lasers are making strong inroads into the coding market now dominated by ink jet technology. The introduction of compact, reliable, reasonably priced, flexibly programmed, low consumption laser systems has caught the attention of the world's packaging industries. At ILS we have noted this trend by advising readers, through editorial, of the ways in which laser coding is now benefiting users charged with producing a low-cost, permanent, legible and readable mark on a variety of packaging materials (see the February issue of ILS, page 5, for a perfect example).

The success of laser coding is not just the new lasers. A coding system has several components, of which the scanning mirrors are key. At this year's Photonics West we saw SCANcube, from Scanlab (Pucheim, Germany), an ultra-compact, 7mm aperture scan head that delivers excellent dynamics in a package only three inches cubed in size. This unit's reported solid performance is made possible by a new, miniaturized servo amplifier and industry-proven galvanometer scanners. Sealed against water and dust, this device's robust and exceptionally compact housing (see photo) facilitates straightforward integration into production environments.

The three-inch cubed packaging for the 7mm aperture SCANcube scan head is sealed against water and dust.
Click here to enlarge image

The SCANcube7's high writing speed combined with new smaller lasers gives the systems designer a laser solution for coding applications in the packaging industry or for other applications such as marking of electronic components that had previously been served by other marking technologies. What's more, the SCAN- cube's small size makes it an ideal alternative to ink jet marking where demanding requirements of high marking speed and difficult-to-access locations make it difficult for traditional scan heads to compete. And this unit is not much larger than the print head of an ink jet coder.

Coding/marking system integrators and end-users charged with improving their operations may want to access Scanlab's Website,, to learn more about this compact scanning head. —DAB

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