Leognan, France - Currently, on an annual basis in France, more than 350,000 wooden barrels are laser marked using a system developed by ES Technology. Typically the laser marked information includes one or more client logos, characteristics of the wood (such as heating, source), the logo from the cooperage, date of manufacture, and number set.
The marked surface area can cover up to 600 x 600 mm one way, where the laser marker runs in 2 axes. For certain applications the surface area needed is 200 x 600 mm one way using a longitudinal laser. The pine bar or the barrelhead can be marked in the same cycle with automatic laser adjustment.
The company’s E-Solarmark system incorporates a 40W CO2 laser with galvanometric deviation. To create an excellent correlation between the marking size and the laser spot diameter, the system was designed with one flat field lens (200 x 200 mm), which avoids all marking defects and ensures small detail precision. Marking speed is directly connected to size, mark complexity, and laser power. Average marking time is 30 seconds per barrel.
Zone marking protection facilitates barrel installation. Using a centering laser the operator can position the barrel then close the protective cover. While dust from the process can stop laser and electronic operation, using a water cooling system doubles the lifetime of the source and enables the laser to run continuously. Maintenance is required once annually at a cost of less than 1000 euros.
The application software was specifically developed in partnership with the company’s clients for cooperage applications. The laser system operates in a network environment. The information to be marked, such as the logo in the photo, is created from the laser computer itself. The manual mode is employed to start up a new marking file, while the automatic mode is used for production.
To complete the marking process, the operator uses one barcode in the printer from the production file. By reading this barcode, the system automatically recalls the marking file and adjusts the entire machine.