Laser Marking Technology Reduces Waste

The technology for laser marking has been noticed by top manufacturers because it’s able to produce very intricate designs and virtually seamless edges for just about any product. But that’s not its only benefit for manufacturers. It also can provide a much more environmentally stable strategy in contrast to many current manufacturing schemes. Quite a few manufacturers have adopted laser marking machines due to this perceived green angle, and their numbers are only going to increase as the technology becomes ever more user friendly and financially reasonable. 

The end of ink?

Solvent type inks were the standard in the past for making labels. They were fast drying and were less liable to peel or fade on a wide variety of materials. The biggest problem with solvent type inks was that the pigment and the solvent used in the makeup of the final product do not break down in nature — they can stain and pollute the landscape for centuries after they have been put in a landfill or find their way into the ocean. That’s because for the most part solvent type inks come from fossil fuels like petroleum, which have an afterlife just as long, if not longer, than the ubiquitous plastic bag. Plus the large-scale industrial manufacture of these solvent inks leads to inevitable and sustained power usage — which contributes to greenhouse gasses in most parts of the world.

But engraving with laser technology is a whole different ball game; the marking goes right on the product itself. Obviously, this eliminates the need for ink markers — and all the attendant fossil fuel complications and drawbacks. Right now medical supplies and food products are heavily investing in laser engraving as the best and safest way to mark delicate, valuable, and perishable items. 

The last of the labels?

Every manufacturer, warehouse person, and shipping company is familiar with the hassles involved with adhesive labels. No matter what kind of adhesive is used, there is always the chance, under the right conditions, that the label will come off before delivery has been completed. Not only that, but sometimes labels themselves prove to be less than reliable mediums on which to mark information — certain types of labels, when they are exposed to too much moisture or heat, will actually combine with the ink and begin to blur. This, of course, makes the vital information on the label itself unintelligible. Add to this the tendency of undertrained workers to slap on too many labels, in the mistaken belief that this will insure delivery, and the waste and inefficiency can become enormous.

There is none of that with marks applied directly to the item with a laser. Neither heat nor moisture can erase the information. And it only needs to go on once, which saves both time and money.

The non-contact technology of laser engraving promises to lower return rates in every field, from big ticket item delivery to delicate medical instruments to the latest trending toy. Every business knows that rising return rates are the silent killer of profitability. A great product can’t be delivered without a proper marking; it has to go back to the maker, at a complete loss. 

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.