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Food / Pharmaceutical Industry

This section introduces applications by industry that are useful in the development of new manufacturing processes.

Direct Part Marking in the Food / Pharmaceutical Industry

In recent years there has been a tendency to strengthen label-related regulations on a yearly basis. Behind this, are tighter restrictions on how expiration dates, place of origin, and ingredients should be written in addition to the standardization of distribution codes.
Due to an increasing need for serialization through unique marking on packaged items directly before shipping, there has been an increase in marking with lasers.
This guide will introduce and explain examples of laser markers for the food and pharmaceutical industry.

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Case1.Marking on drink bottles

1.2D Code Quality Control

Marking LOT numbers on PET bottles

In the past, it was standard practice to mark PET bottles using an ink-jet printer but due to issues with running costs and maintenance, laser markers are being adopted at an increasing rate. Because laser markers produce white-colored markings on the surface of PET bottles, they are perfect for inhouse management through serial number marking.

Marking on Labeling

3-Axis YVO<sub>4</sub> Laser Marker MD-V9900A Series

Laser markers can replace label machine stamps for marking on bottle labels.
Conventionally, it was standard practice to perform marking with rotating stamps installed on a label machine.
However, after years of use, the stamp plates wear down or it may become more difficult to adjust the stamping press, resulting in the occurrence of blurred and incomplete marking.
By capturing signals with an encoder from the rotation of the labeling machine and connecting to a laser marker, it is possible to perform marking with a laser at nearly the same exact time that the labels are 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.

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Case2.Marking on cartons

1.2D Code Quality Control

Code marking on cartons for pharmaceutical products (GS1 DataBar)

In addition to marking expiration dates and LOT numbers on cartons, it is commonplace to mark GS1 DataBars and other codes. Until now, even with product types that had been permanently marked, such as EAN codes, there were cases in which it was necessary to mark variable text or codes for each serial to law revisions, and in these cases, it is possible to mark variable data using a method in which paint is peeled off with a laser.

Marking on capsules

3-Axis YVO<sub>4</sub> Laser Marker MD-V9900A Series

The manufacturer’s name or capsule name can be engraved on a variety of capsules with a laser marker. It was commonplace to press a heated stamp after molding to perform marking, but laser markers have been gaining attention due to their ability to perform non-contact engraving on a large variety of capsules. Compared to contact-engraving, a laser marker has eliminates the need to adjust stamping pressure, making it unnecessary to manage dies to produces stable marking.

2D code marking on medical instruments

3-Axis YVO<sub>4</sub> Laser Marker MD-V9900A Series

Medical instruments for surgery have seen a rapid increase in the use of 2D codes to manage history of use. In order to mark clear, readable 2D codes onto these tools, a high-power laser is necessary. The high-output 50 W MD-F Series allows for highspeed and clear laser inscription, which not only contributes to increased reliability on medical sites but also significantly improves the working efficiency of marking.

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Case3.Film cutting

1.2D Code Quality Control

Die-cutting film

A laser marker can be used to die-cut film. In the past, it was necessary to create a new die for each product. Using a laser marker to perform cutting, eliminates the need to prepare dies for each product. Just by changing the design in our dedicated software, it is possible to support various shapes and sizes. Also, since this is non-contact cutting that does not utilize blades, there is no need to adjust or replace blade tips, which makes it possible to support cutting for products that span multiple product types or models with a single unit.

Perforating rice bags

3-Axis YVO<sub>4</sub> Laser Marker MD-V9900A Series

Air holes can be processed without the use of a blade. One application is letting air escape from the inside of rice bags to prevent bursting when they are stacked. Conventionally, a needle would be used to perforate the bags.
However, with this method, there is a risk that the needle will break off and remain inside the bag or larger holes may be created due to wear on the needle tip, resulting in the entry of foreign objects into the bag. Furthermore, with this method, the bag can easily be ripped from areas in which holes have been opened. With a laser marker, there is no need to worry about the mixing of foreign matter and because the area around a processed hole is welded with heat, it is also possible to resolve the issue of ripping.

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