Laser Marking in the Food / Pharmaceutical Industry

This section introduces and explains how laser markers can be used during in the food and pharmaceutical manufacturing process.

Direct Part Marking in the Food / Pharmaceutical Industry

Label regulations are tightening for the food and pharmaceutical industries. There's a growing need to mark expiration dates, place of origin and ingredients along with standard distribution codes. Due to the increased need to serialize packaged items before shipping, many manufacturers are looking for multi-purpose marking solutions (like laser markers).

PET bottles (neck portion)

Cartons

Ampules

Heat sealing

Medical instruments

PTP sheets

Label peeling

Non-woven cloth cutting

Film cutting

Gate cutting

Chemical bottles (HDPE)

Food packaging film (PE)

Marking on Drink Bottles

Marking LOT Numbers on PET Bottles

It's standard practice to use inkjet printers to mark PET bottles, but they incur high consumable costs and suffer from frequent maintenance downtime. As a result, laser markers are becoming popular replacements. Lasers can produce white-colored markings on the surface of PET bottles without puncturing the plastic, making them perfect for in house serial management.

Label Marking

Label marking is commonly accomplished with rotating stamps installed on a label machine. However, after years of use the stamp plates wear down and it may become difficult to adjust the stamping press... resulting in blurred and incomplete marking. Laser markers can use encoder signals from the rotation of the labeling machine to mark labels almost immediately after they're affixed. Laser markers provide consistent marks due to the non-contact nature of their functionality. They are also easy to manage because they are maintenance-free devices.

Marking on Cartons

Code Marking on Cartons for Pharmaceutical Products (GS1 DataBar)

Cartons are frequently marked with expiration dates, LOT numbers and GS1 DataBars or other codes. There are some cases in which cartons require variable text or codes based on law revisions (even after they've already been marked). Laser markers accomplish these marking requirements by simply removing paint off the carton.

Marking on Capsules

A manufacturer's or capsule's name can be engraved on a variety of capsules by a laser marker. Heated stamps are used to mark molded capsules, but laser markers are becoming a popular replacement because they can perform non-contact engraving on a wider variety of capsules. Laser markers also solve the problem of stamping pressure and die management.

2D Code Marking on Medical Instruments

Surgical instruments use 2D codes to manage their history of use, and different lasers can be used to achieve different marking results. For example, a high-powered 50W laser is ideal for engraving, while a lower power laser can safely anneal a part without damaging its surface. Regardless of the desired outcome, laser markers allow for high-speeds and clear inscriptions which won't fade away.

Film Cutting

Die-cutting Film

Laser markers can be used to die-cut film. In the past, it was necessary to create a new die whenever a new product was introduced. Now, laser markers can accommodate for product changes through simple program adjustments. There's no need to buy new equipment for a product change. Also, since laser markers don't utilize blades, there's no need to adjust or replace blade tips.

Perforating Rice Bags

Laser markers can create air holes on bags without using a blade. For example, lasers can be used to let air escape from the inside of rice bags to prevent the bags from bursting when stacked. Needles can also be used to perforate bags, but there's a risk that the needle will break off and get stuck in the bag. There's also a risk of creating larger holes due to wear on the needle tip, which could result in foreign objects entering the bag. Furthermore, bags can be easily ripped from areas in which large holes are accidentally created. With laser markers, there's no need to worry about accidentally introducing foreign matter or ripping bags since holes are created via heat.