The initial task, was to develop a production system, that provided the flexibility to both mark and cut leather with the objective for transition in the future, to man-made based materials that would potentially replace leather in the long term.
Following various trials, the CO2 source was selected and power output fixed at 250 watts.
The finished product utilised the M Series chassis designed by Thinklaser, and included an increased process area, taking customer process capability up to 600 x 600 mm. The unit was fitted with a 3 optic scan head, allowing us to utilise the full process area controlling spot size and distortion across such a large area. The large process area allowed for the placement of materials big enough to produce a complete shoe parts kit, providing both the pattern generation on the surface, as well as cutting the shape required. The system table was fitted with vacuum to hold the materials in place during the process, stopping any potential movement due to material stress releases as the heat is generated.
Other functions supplied included table autofocus for ease of use, air knives to protect optics from material residue (leather contains various amounts of oil from the tanning process and this, when burnt off, gives off a multitude of different gases). Adapted optics also allowed us to create a smaller laser beam than would normally be associated with this power of laser and process size.
The process chamber was fitted with extraction capability and viewing capability through filtered windows, as are all of Thinklaser products.
This laser based manufacturing tool provided the customer with the ability to reduce design proving time. Traditional methods would have required the generation of cutting tools for each design revision. The laser eradicated this and allowed designers to be much more adventurous in developing new concepts. Once the technology was introduced, many other applications were added to the systems capability. Multiple systems were supplied and continue to be used in operations around the world.
If you would like further information on this laser marking system, or any other application, please request a call back, or talk to one of our laser marking specialists on 01737 826902.