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New marking additive for low-powered C[O.sub.2] lasers.

A new additive allows marking of plastics--especially the "challenging" polyolefins--with low-powered CO2 lasers. Sherwood Technology of Widnes, Cheshire, U.K., developed DataLase Masterbatch for direct addition in extrusion or injection molding. The company plans to sell the product in North America through distributors. The inorganic pigment is said to be non-toxic and an extremely efficient energy absorber at the infrared wavelengths emitted by CO2 lasers. The pigment absorbs laser energy and converts it to heat, which produces a color change from white to black. A stable and high-contrast image is said to result. Until now, it's been difficult for low-powered CO2 lasers to mark plastics, particularly PE and PP, forcing processors to opt for higher-powered CO2 lasers and YAG lasers.

Other laser-marking additives tend to require higher activation energy and cause charring of the surrounding plastic, according to Sherwood. The new masterbatch is said to withstand processing temperatures up to around 482 F and requires as little as 1% addition level to produce legible text. Tel: +44 151-423-9360 *
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Title Annotation:Keeping Up With Additives
Publication:Plastics Technology
Date:Dec 1, 2004
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