Types of Plastic
Microsurface Plastic Materials
Kolon Colorless Polyimide (CPI™)
All materials have unique characteristics that dictate how the laser beam interacts and consequently modifies the material. This is true whether one uses the laser system as a "laser cutter", "laser engraver", or "laser marker". The most common processes for plastics are the following:
Laser Cutting of Plastics
The energy of a CO2 laser beam is easily absorbed by most plastics, causing the material directly in the path of the laser beam to rapidly heat up and vaporize. If the laser power is sufficiently high, the laser beam will cut completely through the material. Most plastics vaporize quickly when cut with a laser, resulting in smooth and straight edges with minimal heat affected zone.
Laser Engraving of Plastics
The power of the CO2 laser beam can be limited so that it removes (engraves) material to a specified depth. The laser engraving process can be used to create intricate patterns and designs into the plastic surface.
Laser Marking of Plastics
Certain plastics change color or hue when exposed to a fiber laser beam. When the surface appearance changes, without any material being removed, the process is termed laser marking. Laser marking can be used to convey information such a serial number or the manufacturer’s logo.
The laser cutting, engraving, and marking processes described above can be combined without having to move or re-fixture the plastic material.