A look a innovative new marking solution

Nicola Brittain

How one laser marking system helps deliver speed and efficiency to the process industry.

The process industry has a particularly high demand for fast and accurate laser marking of its conveyor belt products – these might be food products, or parts for the automotive, battery technology, or engineering industry for example.

A new product from Panasonic – the LP-RH CO2 laser marking system – has been specifically designed for industries with a high demand for speed and functionality. The system is available with a 10W, 20W and 30W output.

The system uses an proprietary ultra-fast galvanometer scanner to mark moving objects on-the-fly with a conveyor speed of 240m/min.

With some models fitted with a small laser beam diameter, the product can be particularly suitable for marking small components with extremely fine markings. A shorter wavelength of 9.3μm means the laser is suitable for marking transparent plastics such as PET or PC (widely used in the food industry). The CO2 laser also makes it possible to mark organic materials such as paper and wood.

The product’s two-dimensional code raster setting reduces marking times by about 40% compared with the LP-400 series that it replaces. The raster marking setting optimises a two-dimensional barcode engraving sequence to realise faster and higher-quality marking.

The LP/RH workflow

The laser start-up time in the new model has also been significantly reduced on the previous model. It is now 15 seconds from 90 – this will lead to increased work efficiency and avoid unwanted production interruptions, according to the company.

A newly integrated motor also aims to make the engraving faster and more precise than the previous series. The marking field of this series is up to 160x160 mm, and a new scanning method for data matrix codes reduces cycle times by up to 40% without any loss in quality.

Head rotating mechanism [standard models Horizontal type])

The head is structured to allow flexible angle setting at a range of 350 degrees. The head angle can be rotated according to the marking surface angle to facilitate the installation along the line. This minimises the installation spaces and eliminates the need for complex jig design. Simple jigs can be employed even when marking in the upward direction or at an oblique angle.

Improved focus for precise alignment

The product also enables a fine adjustment of the focusing setting  - the working distance can be easily adjusted from -/+ 3 mm without moving the laser head. This aims to guarantees precise alignment and more efficient work processes.

The updated PC software Laser Marker Navi smart presents a user-friendly interface that simplifies maintenance history management. The Navi smart software also informs an operator immediately when maintenance is required leading to a reduction in downtime.

How does laser marking work?

Laser marking is the process of marking parts or workpieces using laser technology. A laser beam hits the material, and its energy creates a reaction to leave a permanent mark – this might be a product code, identifying number, a logo or something else. The speed, power, and focus of the high-energy laser beam on the part will lead to different results but it will tend to heat the surface of the target causing it to change colour - alternatively it might engrave, anneal, or ablate the target. The type of laser marking chosen will depend on the part size, material and geometry as well as the available marking time and the production process generally.

The markings created by a laser help with part branding or traceability.

The global CO2 laser market was valued at US$3.43 billion in 2023, according to Straits reseawrch It is expected to reach US$6.14 billion by 2032, growing at a CAGR of 6.43% over the forecast period (2024-32). Demand for precision cutting, engraving, and marking applications are driving market growth by increasing demand across industries that include healthcare, electronics, and automotive.