ES Precision (Kingston Bagpuize, England) uses laser marking to etch sticky labels in all shapes with several characteristics that make them ideal for asset tracking, warranty claim security, and production tracking. The label material will already be familiar to many motorists, as car manufacturers use such material for tire pressure and fuel type labels.
ES Precision uses laser marking to etch sticky labels in all shapes with several characteristics that make them ideal for asset tracking, warranty claim security, and production tracking.
The company uses a low-power (20 W) carbon-dioxide (CO2) laser with galvo, built into a custom reel-to-reel automatic label feeder. The CO2 lasers can be programmed with an appropriate combination of power and speed to either remove the top coating to create the mark contrast or to kiss-cut the label in any shape, leaving the backing paper intact. If required, they can also separate a per-car batch of vehicle identification number (VIN) labels to be used at a third parameter set to cut the label feed into lengths with a shearing cut through all layers, including the backing paper.
The combination of ES Precision's industrial lasers and the tesa tape material delivers the following unique characteristics:
- Labels can be any shape or size and, since the laser that marks the label also cuts out the label shape, there is no kiss-cutting blade to be manufactured. Truly digital manufacturing like this means that small quantities of unusually shaped labels are economically feasible. Further, labels can be shaped to whatever space is available on a product. An example might be an in-process tracking barcode label on a tightly packed printed circuit board (PCB).
- Tamper evidence. Once stuck and left to cure for several hours, the labels cannot be transferred. Any attempt to do so will result in the label being destroyed. This characteristic is necessary to avoid warranty fraud, whereby a new label is transferred to a faulty old part to make an illegal claim. Small labels saying "warranty void if damaged" are invaluable to ensure that if electronic products are tampered with or packages opened, then warranty is void.
- Temperature resistance. With an ability to withstand temperatures up to 270°C and down to -40°C, the laser-marked labels are resilient and can also replace riveted metal rating plates in many cases. Tiny tracking barcodes on PCBs will withstand wave- or IR-reflow soldering production methods.
- Outdoor weathering. Already proven to last the lifetime of modern cars, the above temperature range compatibility combined with UV-, chemical-, and humidity-aging resistance makes the laser labels suitable for demanding tracking, advisory, or traceability purposes.
- Highest resolution and contrast data. The laser is capable of etching highly resolved graphics and codes so that extremely small labels can carry large quantities of data--for example, DNA testing test tubes can each carry a unique identification number encrypted into a tiny ID Matrix code.
ES Precision is an authorized convertor of tesa tape and can deliver batches of labels to customer specifications. Black or silver base materials are standard, other colors on request.
The company also uses solid-state lasers (end-pumped vanadate) to process this material. This laser choice can achieve the first two of the three processes described above and it has the advantage of better resolution, so it would be the laser of choice in the rare case when the CO2 had a spot size that was too large. An example of this would be etching tiny ID Matrix codes for tracking test tubes in DNA sequencing.
For more information, please visit www.esprecision.co.uk.