Lasers perfect perforation process

Cutting-edge laser systems from MLT are installed worldwide mainly in the packaging and converting industry for food, beverage, pharmaceutical, tobacco products

Achieving laser excellence is the aim of Micro Laser Technology (MLT), building a reputation in the industry as a qualified and competent manufacturer of tailormade laser material processing systems for operations including perforation (micro and macro), scribing/scoring (defined material weakening), embossing and marking.

MLT laser systems are installed worldwide, mainly in the packaging and converting industry (food, beverage and pharmaceutical products), tobacco and paper converting industry.

“Through our mission: Laser Excellence we actively gather and improve our invaluable in-depth knowledge and experience in order to design and manufacture cutting-edge laser processing systems,” explains Frank R. Wagner, director sales & marketing.

Depending on material specification and perforation pattern, either optical multiplexing or scanner technology will be implemented for micro- or macro laser applications including MAP (modified atmosphere packaging).

Micro- perforated films offer the possibility to tailor the OTR (oxygen transfer rate) to suit the produce being packaged. This allows customised permeability of the controlled gas exchange of CO2 and O2 for flexible bags or lidding films to enhance the product´s shelf life

The aim of macro laser perforation is to create an ideal ventilation for vegetable packaging, fast exhausting during the filling process of bags or to regulate the flow behaviour of high viscidly liquids in nearly all established packaging materials.

Laser scribing/scoring systems enable the selected weakening of mono or multilayer film during the converting process (offline) and on packaging machines (online). To create an easy opening feature materials can be processed in machine direction (MD), cross direction (CD) or in all variations of free-form contour scoring.

Selected weakening of materials can be adjusted with a high level of precision ensuring the barrier properties are not damaged during the scoring process. Laser scoring/scribing can be implemented to create paperboard container fold-lines. The selected weakening of materials can be adjusted with a high level of precision ensuring the barrier properties are not damaged during the scribing process.

Typical examples of applications for easy opening solutions include instant products (coffee, soups and pet food) for which manufacturers increasingly prefer the opening of their packaging without tool or tear strip. More complex opening functions for convenience food applications such as the defined/timed opening of microwave packaging during heating are still to be further established in the market.

Furthermore, laser marking systems are incorporated as solutions for product safety and anti-plagiarism. Materials with smooth surfaces can be marked either during the ‘on-the-fly’ or the ‘interrupted-cycle’ process which enables the superimposing of labels, security marks, barcodes and number combinations. A classic example is the safety-code marking of cigarette packets.

“Our engineers receive enquiries from diverse markets other than packaging and food producing industries,” continues Wagner. “The increasing demand for quality and product safety can sometimes only be solved with laser technology.”

For example, due to micro laser perforation the converting of thin or plywood with smaller bending radii is possible as the material gets more flexible. Until now an expensive manual post-process was required to repair the cracks and fracture from the folding process.

Applications include the laser material processing (controlled weakening process) of for example airbag films, drinks packaging paperboard or tray packaging for consumer goods; labelling, embossing and safety coding of anti-counterfeit film for holographic labels or high quality cosmetics.

“An integral part of our work is constant development and customisation of our systems according to our customer’s needs,” concludes Wagner. “The field of application in laser processing is increasing constantly.”

Micro Laser Technology GmbH

T: +49 (0) 89 90 11 96 726