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How Lasers Improve Marking Quality and Reduce Costs: Part 2

May, 2020

Inkjet systems and pad printers are inexpensive marking systems at first glance. However, their consumable costs and associated labor hours quickly add up. Laser marking machines have built-in cost savings throughout their entire service life. Here are 5 ways laser markers save on costs:

  1. Reduce costs by eliminating consumable items such as ink and ink ribbons
  2. Reduce costs by eliminating the use of labels
  3. Eliminate costs related to the use of indelible ink
  4. Reduce labor-hours spent on equipment changeovers and other maintenance tasks
  5. Lower inventory control costs

1 Eliminate consumables

Do you know how much ink and ink ribbons cost?
As production volumes increase, ink ribbon costs add up to a surprising amount of money. This is an area in which laser markers can provide significant cost reductions.

Ink ribon

Laser marking examples

Marking on food packaging

Marking on packets

2 Eliminate labels

Reduce costs and the environmental impact of your products by directly marking items that are currently marked with labels. The labels used everyday in production can increase costs by a surprising amount. More and more firms are implementing laser marking to reduce costs and to limit waste and recycling issues related to labels.

Laser marking examples

Marking on a PCB

Marking on discharge bulbs

3 Eliminate indelible ink

Other consumable items related to the use of inks also contribute to production costs. For example, indelible ultraviolet (UV) inks require the use of lamps to aid in the curing process. A laser marker does not require any additional consumable items and the mark created by the lasers will not rub off or fade.

Example of UV-curable ink used on PCBs

Laser marking examples

Marking on a PCB

4 Reduce labor-hours spent on equipment changeovers and other maintenance tasks

Reduce labor-hours related to maintenance tasks such as inspection and replacement of consumables. The costs associated with everyday maintenance tasks add up when considered on a monthly or yearly basis. With a laser marker, product changeovers are done at the press of a button and there are no consumable items to replenish. Employing this method of marking can reduce personnel costs and drastically improve efficiency.

Changeovers via barcode

Barcodes on work orders are scanned to initiate product changeovers.

Using the BL-N70

Changeovers via Z-axis control

Unlike applications that require jigs and mounting tables, height adjustments for a product changeover are handled by the laser marker itself.

Conventional models require jigs or height adjustment mechanisms.

ML-Z9500 series
The focal point is variable within a 42 mm 1.65" range.

5 Lower inventory control costs

In some cases, product labeling needs to be changed because combinations of different products are packaged in the same type of cartons using the same type of label. Marking such products after they have been packaged enables inventories to be standardized and reduced.

EXAMPLE APPLICATIONS: Gift sets, lipstick containers, label/ID tags.

  1. ID Cards:
    In the past, a firm purchased ID tags and then outsourced the marking. Delivery took about seven days, making it difficult to respond to sudden changes.
  2. Content can be entered as desired:
    All tasks from partial marking to overall layout creation can be adjusted via the software. English, Chinese, and other languages can be entered directly for use on a wide range of product lines.
  3. Laser label marking:
    Labels created with laser markers can be customized to the desired content and size. The laser can also be used to cut the labels to size, allowing for material savings as well.

Laser marking advantages don't stop there. Different wavelengths and laser types work better for different materials and can have striking results. Check out Keyence's full laser lineup to learn more.