Can you use a laser printing machine to print on plastic?

The whole thing about using laser printing to print on plastic is not that simple. In the case of metals, it’s pretty straightforward. The surface properties of plastic make it not so easy to accept ink the same way. This is why there’s a bit of uncertainly when working with plastic. 

How well can a laser printing machine print on plastic?

Laser printing is a dependable printing technology that has been used across a wide spectrum of industries for decades. Industries including aerospace, medical, and automotive manufacturing all use laser printing machines. The laser printing machine is used to engrave serial numbers, barcodes, unique ID codes, logos, and branding marks. 

Other marking techniques like dot peen don’t suit very well when it comes to plastic. Adhesive labels can also be used to serve the same purpose but it costs high and negatively impacts the environment and the permanence, visibility, and speed isn’t great too. This is why laser marking could be a viable solution. 

What size of the laser printing machine works best?

No particular-sized printer will be able to do all kinds of printing jobs. The kind of laser printing machine you need totally depends on the kind of application; i.e., the size and shape of the target object. The compatibility of the printer also depends on the type of plastic you’re going to use. Discuss with your vendor all about your processes, goals, and the kind of business you do. This way, you’ll be able to come up with the most compatible device for your business.

Why printing on plastics is complicated?

All laser printing machines are specifically designed with the assistance of the latest technology to make them compatible with the production material. To construct one, the nature of the raw materials needed to make the plastic is studied thoroughly. Polycarbonate, polyethylene, polystyrene, polyester, silicone, and butadiene – each one behaves differently. So, each of them needs a specific laser type, power setting, pulse duration. 

Apart from that, material from one resin manufacturer has a chance of varying in very shrewd ways from another manufacturer. That’s why several printer manufacturers procure a sample of the plastic product from their clients once in a while to introspect the material type and make tiny changes to their printing technology. Therefore, maintaining the quality of printing is a tedious task and this is why using a laser printing machine on plastic is pretty complicated. 

Does the marking effect vary among different printers?

The laser printers control the light wavelength, output wattage to produce changes in color or texture when printing. The effects include vaporization, foaming, chemical alteration, charring, melting, and engraving. 

What types of laser printing machines should be used to mark plastics?

Each kind of material has its own compatible laser class. Therefore, a marker built around an industry-tested technology works best. Here are some common compatible laser printing machines actively used today to print on plastics:

1. CO2 Laser Printing Machine

These are quite reliable, cost-effective, and offer high-quality performance which can be used for plastic as well as several other materials. CO2 marking is a low-risk printing machine when you’re replacing other printing technologies like dot peen or inkjet. 

2. Green Laser Printing Machine 

Green laser marking machine for exceptionally thin or heat-sensitive materials. Green lasers operate at a low wavelength of 532nm due to which, the absorption rate is greater than a CO2 laser printer. As they produce less heat, green laser marking machines don’t burn the printing object much.

3. UV Laser Printing Machine 

UV Laser Printing Machines are very compatible with heat-sensitive materials like silicone, polycarbonate, and polyethylene. It uses an approximate wavelength of 355 nm to create prominent ultra-fine marks with high contrast. UV laser technology is favored by medical device manufacturing brands and automotive companies. 

4. Fiber Laser Printing Machine 

Fiber laser printers top the list when it comes to minimal surface disruption and obtaining high contrast. 

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