Marking or labeling of metal or plastic parts with galvo laser systems has become a standard operation in industrial production processes by now. While the YAG or fiber lasers used for this purpose and the marking applications are very well known, the use of galvo laser systems with CO2 laser sources is less conspicuous. CO2 lasers are often thought of as flatbed lasers, but CO2 galvo systems are making more and more inroads into industrial production areas.
As a matter of principle, CO2 lasers are suitable for engraving and cutting organic materials. This includes, for example, wood, paper / cardboard, textiles, foams and various plastics, including acrylic and films. But even anodized aluminum and other coatings can be processed at high quality or ablated in a defined manner, respectively, with a CO2 laser. For laser processing of these materials, flatbed lasers are frequently used, since the workpieces require a larger working area. However, the disadvantage of flatbed systems compared to galvo laser systems is the much lower processing speed. This can be particularly noticeable when large numbers of very fine geometries are to be engraved. In addition, galvo lasers offer significantly greater focus tolerance, meaning that minor irregularities in the material do not influence the processing result. Thus, if the laser processing fields are smaller and the numbers of parts higher, galvo lasers offer clear advantages for organic materials as well. The fields of application are diverse, ranging from the serial marking of wooden parts for euro pallets through marking with deep engraving of plastic housing parts to the cutting of films and injection-molded parts.
Laser processing not only results in advantages over conventional production methods, but even opens up completely new production possibilities. Examples to be mentioned include cutting of PMMA or other plastics. The laser cut creates a clean and polished cut edge that does not require any finishing. This can significantly shorten production times, e.g. when cutting the gate marks of injection-molded parts, or during the finishing of unclean edges caused by the injection mold. However, for the production of seals made of silicone, special papers, and other materials, galvo lasers are likewise being used increasingly, as they offer maximum flexibility with high throughput.
Taking the cutting and perforating of films as an example, the laser allows very delicate geometries, which are possible neither with mechanical cutting plotters nor with cutting dies. All the disadvantages of cutting dies such as costs, delivery times, adaptation, and storage can be eliminated along the way. The laser offers complete flexibility even in the prototyping of individual parts, as well as later in serial production. Electrical insulation foils, as used in electronic components and electrical drives, are a typical example. Even for kiss-cut applications where adhesive films need to be cut without cutting into the carrier material, lasers are excellently suited.
The possible applications being so widely different, the laser systems have to be selected and designed with appropriate diligence. The advantage of Trotec’s galvo laser systems consists in the diverse available variants. Whether as a stand-alone workstation, as an automated version with input and output via a wide variety of transport systems, or as completely individual integration into planned or existing systems – the right system type can be selected for virtually any application. Moreover, Trotec offers not only the proven SpeedMarker series with 2-axle galvo laser, but also the 3-axle GS galvo laser systems, which offer advantages in certain applications due to larger working areas with concomitantly small spot sizes.