additives | Laser marking and welding

Above: PolyOne’s OnCap laser marking additive concentrates support high speed marking of wire and cable products

“The choice of additive depends on the polymer

composition, substrate colour, desired marking contrast colour and end-use certification requirements. Some additives contain mixtures of antimony-doped tin oxide and antimony trioxide that can impart a greyish tint to the natural (uncoloured) substrate opacity. Other additives can contain aluminium particles, mixed metal oxides and proprietary compounds. Colour adjustments are made using pigments and dyes to achieve the required final appearance,” Sabreen says.

Focused on output Gary Fielding, Global Marketing Director for PolyOne Color & Additives, also says that customers want laser marking systems that provide a clear, legible, long- lasting mark, and that do so even at the highest of line speeds. “Increase the output rate of quality product – it is what every manufacturer hopes to achieve and we collaborate with our customers to support that goal. Our latest developments in OnCap laser marking additive technology are just the most recent result of these efforts,” he says. “Wire and cable manufacturers often are legally

required to ensure the marking of their products remains legible even after 10-20 years of underground burial. The international nature of this industry, and the need to meet local regulations regarding marking and identification of cable, makes it critical that a manufac- turer can trust his laser marking additives and equip- ment,” Fielding says. “The same level of trust is needed in other industries in which laser marking is used, including transportation and medical devices. In automotive, the projected growth in development and marketing of electrically- powered vehicles could lead to increased demand for high-temperature cables, which will need to be laser marked with additive technology able to withstand the heat generated. And it is no surprise that manufactur-

68 COMPOUNDING WORLD | February 2017

ers of aerospace parts place great demands on the durability and legibility of the laser marking required in their industry,” he says. PolyOne has developed new formulations of its OnCap laser-sensitive additive solutions to enable manufacturers with rapid laser marking equipment to capture the full benefit of their new high production lines. The company says that recent developments in laser marking equipment allow manufacturers to run wire and cable production lines at rates up to 400 meters/minute. Too often, however, it says the laser- sensitive pigments and colours incorporated into the polymers selected for these applications struggle to keep pace with the higher machine speeds, leading to poor legibility and contrast. PolyOne claims its OnCap laser-sensitive additives

ensure excellent marking contrast even at extremely high extrusion line speeds. “For manufacturers, this development means they can increase production rates while also maintaining the excellent quality of their laser marking. It is truly a win-win for our customers,” says Christoph Palm, Vice President and General Manager, Color and Additives EMEA & India for the company. PolyOne’s Fielding says the company continues to

look at future developments in the laser marking sector, where it believes it is a leader in formulating additive technologies. “With that in mind, we will contin- ue to talk with customers and the suppliers of their laser marking equipment to stay abreast of any technology developments,” he says. “In our experience, the use of a Smartbatch concentrate incorporating the laser marking additive plus other required colourants and additives provides unprecedented marking contrast at high output rates. Each solution is uniquely config- ured to a customer’s application. The keys to successful laser marking projects are collaboration and expertise.”

Driven by Industry 4.0 The emergence and adoption of Industry 4.0 is also likely to see a growth in demand for laser marking tech- nologies, according to Dr Hendrik Wermter, Head of Business Development at Chemische Fabrik Buden- heim. “The integration of digital technologies into everyday life includes the customisation of products and parts with complete retraceability,” he says. “Precise laser technology – laser marking and welding – plays a key role in the manufacture of electronic components and a wide range of plastic products. The drivers for high speed laser marking applications include the statutory labelling and traceability of products. Laser welding creates strong and precise welding seams at a customised level. These advancements in laser technology have been instrumental in the need of laser

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