Printing date and production codes onto your food packaging is becoming more important all the time – with regularity requirements and the need for increased levels of traceability.
How can you ensure that the codes you print onto your products are crisply and accurately printed every time while keeping costs low and packaging line OEE up? Using modern laser coders from ID Technology is a way to achieve these goals – our line up of Macsa CO2 laser coders includes the compact, low-cost iCon 2, the mid-range, well proven K-Series and the fast and tough SPA Series.
For many types of packaging materials, CO2 lasers can produce a high contrast mark that can consist of both text and barcodes. Lasers are available with various power outputs (usually 10 Watt or 30 Watt for most packaging applications – although more powerful lasers are available) and scan head speeds to allow the laser to be matched to the application.
Laser coders can be used on semi-automatic packaging lines or on high speed can or bottle lines where output speeds need to exceed 1,100 items per minute.
Because the laser system used light to mark the code onto the product, no consumables, such as ink or labels) is needed. This keeps the cost per print low and also eliminates the need to stop production periodically to replenish supplies.
The laser will operate happily for long periods of time with no human intervention needed once it is set up.
While some people claim laser systems need no routine maintenance, this is not true. The enemy of all laser coding systems is dirt and dust. All laser systems generate heat, from the laser source, the scan head, and the electronics. It is important that the system is kept cool and air is used on most laser coders to keep the temperature under control. Fans are used to move air through the system and it is important that the air filters on the laser are kept clean. Allowing a laser coder to overhead because of lack of air flow will cause it to go into a fault mode, or even cause damage to the laser source or the electronics. It is important that the filters are maintained to ensure reliable operation.
In addition, if dust or dirt is allowed to build up on the lens or the mirrors, it can be fused to the glass by the light beam. This can build up, causing decreasing print quality and eventually the lens or mirrors would need to be replaced.
Our Macsa SPA system uses a revolutionary “Reverse Air Flow” concept that keeps cooling air away for the laser source, electronics, and scan head – all within an IP54 rated enclosure (IP65 is an option for very harsh environments). It even helps keep the lens clean.
It’s important to remember, however, that even with the cooling technology built into the SPA laser, routine filter cleaning still needs to take place.
Which Laser to Use?
With various models, power outputs, scan head speeds, and lenses to choose from, deciding which laser is best for a particular application can seem to be a difficult task. Fortunately, at ID Technology, we have sales and technical support across North America, along with Product Mangement and Business Development support. We can help you every step of the way – from an idea to production. To get started, contact us today at 888-438-3242 Option#3. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be sure to get you in touch with someone right in your area!