23 Nov 2021

Hitting the mark with laser marking of polyamide parts

Parts and component makers are increasingly relying on laser marking to identify plastic parts with a reference number, barcode or QR code. DOMO works closely with customers in the automotive and electrical & electronics industries, among others, to design the most suitable polyamide grades for laser marking. This development support, and the underlying investment, is just one example of DOMO’s full service offering to enable customer innovation. 

 

Automotive tiers and electrical & electronics (E&E) parts and component makers are increasingly recognising the advantages of laser marking technology for polyamide applications. In the E&E market, for example, roughly half of all DOMO’s Technyl® customers are employing laser marking, because it is a quick and easy means to label the product with a barcode or QR code while on the production line, among other uses. Demand is also picking up rapidly in the automotive industry, particularly in the electromobility sector. 

Laser marking provides an efficient means to print information in a durable and permanent manner on a part or component made from plastic or other materials. It is used for numerous functions, including traceability, certification, branding, as well as providing information for assembly or for recycling. In the latter case, it can be a valuable guide for sorting types of materials for post-consumer reprocessing. 

Laser marking is often overlooked as one of many requirements for product development, and this can cost time and money later. This is why DOMO has been investing great effort and resources into laser marking technologies and competencies for more than 10 years now, to support customers and to showcase all the benefits this brings. 

 

Laser marking machines

Invest for success 

“We’ve built our expertise and competencies in this area by investing the necessary resources to provide overall solutions in terms of performance,” says Xavier​ Couillens, New Business Development Manager C&E, DOMO. “This includes the latest equipment, as well as developing materials suitable for providing the best laser contrast for the customer. And, because we’re focused on innovation, we’re continuously investing in new laser levers to provide cutting edge solutions.” 

There are currently three main laser technologies in use for this type of laser marking – UV laser (355nm wavelength), YAG infrared laser (1064nm wavelength), and green/picogreen laser (532nm wavelength). While the E&E market tends to use UV and green lasers, the automotive sector prefers the more economical YAG laser technology. DOMO has invested in all three types of lasers to best serve its customers. 

Thanks to this investment, rather going through several rounds of sending samples to the customer for testing and refinement, DOMO’s Technyl team can provide a product that is tailor-made to the customer’s specifications, the first time. This allows the customer to design and develop their product significantly faster, and really sets DOMO apart in the market. 

It is critical to determine what laser technology the customer is using and under what conditions in order to establish the most suitable polyamide grade, as well to optimize the targeted contrast. It is also important to choose the right shade of colour for optimal laser marking contrast, because the additives used in laser marking will impact the colour and the pigment used will affect the laser marking contrast.  

 

Customer-centric design 

“What we offer customers is the ability to provide laser marking in-house using whichever technology they employ,” says Xavier​. “In our customer application centre, because we have the three main types of lasers on the market, we can use the same technology employed by the customer to custom design the product. In this way, we are better able to adjust the formulation and get the right answer from the start,” he adds. 

“It is important to understand that it is not just the laser technology that determines the best outcome, but the product also needs to be designed to be laser markable,” says Cecile​ Corriol, R&D Project Manager, DOMO. “The materials we are able to laser mark include PA6, PA66, high temperature polyamides and our range of recycled polyamides.” 

What is more, whereas in the past, only shades from white to black were in demand for laser marking, DOMO can now also formulate bright colours like orange, as well, which is important for the growing electromobility segment. Bright colours are more challenging, because of the additives for the laser, which the formulation needs to take into account in the final colour achieved.  

“With Technyl ORANGE, for example, all of the properties for the orange grade combine in a product offering that enables laser marking, thermal stability and processability,” says Cecile. “In terms of thermal stability, we have seen no other polyamide grades on the market that can withstand what ours can in terms of temperature or aging, while ensuring colour consistency for the life of the product.” 

Making a sustainable mark 

“We work hard to anticipate market demands when it comes to laser marking,” continues Cecile. “We can demonstrate that our product is robust and is a safe bet, backed up by service the customer can count on. We are also continuously working to improve the technology and the formulation to provide the best and most sustainable solution for our customers,” she adds. 

“We have an open laboratory and open competencies concept to support customers, and we are constantly scouting for the latest laser technologies and additives to support any new issues that customers may have,” says Xavier. “We also offer exceptional responsiveness. If there is ever a problem, we react quickly, applying our expertise to solve the challenge. So, that means time gained in development, problem solving and support.” 

This is just a part of the full service offering at DOMO, as well as the dedicated technical team with the knowledge and experience to support customers’ rapid and successful laser-marked innovation. Find out more about how DOMO and Technyl can help you find the best polyamide grade suitable, as well to optimize the targeted contrast for your laser marking needs, with this webinar: https://knowledge.ulprospector.com/12443/pe-webinar-laser-markable-solutions-domo/