The market for personalisation and customisation is growing at a rate that retailers are struggling to keep up with. In the case of leisure shoe manufacturers such as Nike and Adidas, they have been offering the service for some time, allowing you to design your own shoe or simply place a message or design on the finished article. Laser marking is key in facilitating such events.
In this example, two legends join forces to create a limited edition shoe for an Adidas commercial customer. If you have not guessed who the second legend is, it’s the shoe. These are Stan Smith trainers, which seem to lead the way in the current fad for retro.
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 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 the staining of the material.
We use a galvo based delivery system for the laser beam, with a process area of 200 mm square, big enough for most process requirement of this type. 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.
If you would like further information on this laser marking application, or any other application please request a call back, or talk to one of our laser marking specialists on 01737 826902