Most of the sports/leisure shoe manufacturers, are providing custom generation within their product range and Thinklaser are helping some of them support their customer base, by the laser marking of leather. Although the photograph clearly indicates a celebrity product branding, Adidas are also offering laser marking for company and personal branding.
The CO2 wavelength, is the most suitable for laser marking natural organic materials such as leather. The 150 watt CO2 delivers the laser energy to the shoe surface where the leather is vaporised resulting in the branded image to the surface, which is permanent and distinctive.
The long focal setting on the delivery optics, means we can provide this engraving onto quite a large curved surface as can be seen. This ensures that the engraved mark is consistent across all the footwear which a slightly different due to the nature of the materials and production methods.
The darkness is achieved due to good contrast levels between the white skin and the burning of the leather. One major issue is the quality of the leather. I am informed that the quality of the leather is directly related to the amount of oils used in the tanning process. The poorer the quality, the higher the level of oil content.
This directly relates to the potential for flare up during the marking process, as flare up is when the oil catches fire. Normally this would only be for a very short time period but the flame will damage the mark edge and stain the materials. This staining is not very easy to remove, so great care has to be taken when setting up and running these materials. It is important that extraction is set high so that any flare off is pulled high and away from the materials to reduce or eliminate any staining of the material.
This type of laser does have limitations, and this will be around spot size of CO2 source. These wavelength lasers with galvo based beam delivery modules, tend to have larger spot sizes than other wavelength laser. This can restrict flexibility especially if very small character generation is required.
CO2 is also used for cutting and works very well. Edge quality is always an issue but with the correct source and set up good results can be achieved.
If you would like further information on this application, or any other application, please request a call back or, talk to one of our laser marking specialists by going to our contact page – link below.