Laser marking system
Primera Technology Inc., one of the world's leading manufacturers of specialized digital printing equipment, pre-announced its new Catalyst Laser Marking System.
Catalyst allows fast and easy production of highly durable, synthetic labels for a wide range of rough-service applications. Labels produced with lasers, including Catalyst, are typically used to replace metal plates or far less durable labels produced by resin thermal transfer printers on polyester substrates.
Typical applications requiring such high-durability labels include the US Department of Defense's IUID program, UDI labels for medical devices and healthcare equipment, automobile VIN and under-hood part number, warning and instruction labels, aerospace and solar panel labels, serial tags for outdoor power equipment, vehicle, and marine spare parts, building tools and materials, and much more.
Text, graphics, and linear or 2D/3D bar codes are laser-imaged onto Color Laser Film ("CLF"), which was developed and is manufactured specifically for extreme indoor and outdoor applications. CLF labels are extraordinarily robust and do not require extra lamination to withstand extended exposure to UV light, chemicals, liquids, and temperatures of up to 300°C.
Instead of ink, Catalyst uses a bundle of 2, 4, or 8 fiber-coupled laser diodes along with matched, high-precision lenses (patents pending) to image onto CLF. Bundled fiber lasers have never before been used in a roll-fed, desktop laser label imager, making Catalyst unique in its class. After imaging the CLF material, Catalyst's built-in Digital Die-Cutting system cuts the labels to any shape, eliminating the need for pre-die-cut labels. Unlike all other laser-based marking systems, it uses a knife blade instead of the laser beam to cut out the labels. This eliminates the need for a smoke and fume extraction system, saving even more money on the initial equipment costs and the on-going costs and bother of periodic filter changes, cleaning, and other maintenance.
Compared to Yag and CO2 lasers, Catalyst's imaging method has several significant advantages for producing highly durable labels, including lower cost.
Simple mechanics. Instead of a more traditional but far more complex and expensive computer-controlled galvanometer with beam steering mirrors, Catalyst was designed more like a standard industrial label printer such as Primera's LX910 Color Label Printer. This approach results in a far less complicated machine with no special maintenance or on-going calibration required.
Ease of operation. Catalyst installs on a PC as a standard Windows printer. Any popular Windows-based label creation software can be used to send image files. No special operator training or certification is required.
A printer driver for Windows 10+ is available online for download. Also available for download is easy-to-use label design and printing software from Seagull Scientific called BarTender 2021 for Windows. Wired USB and Ethernet connectivity is standard. Wireless Ethernet is available with the use of an Universal Ethernet to WiFi adapter.
Three different models are available:
- Catalyst V2: the entry-level model with two laser diodes
- Catalyst V4: four laser diodes for twice the speed of V2
- Catalyst V8: eight laser diodes for twice the speed of V4
Catalyst will begin shipping in Q2 2021. It is available for purchase factory-direct at https://www.primera.com/ and from Primera's Authorized Resellers and Distributors worldwide. Sample laser-imaged CLF labels are available now.