Laser Engraving of Leather Application – Nike
Most of the sports, leisure shoe manufacturers, are providing custom capability within their product range. While this effect is to show what can be done using laser engraving of leather technology, the most important element is for it to be used as a manufacturing tool. In the case of Nike, the requirement to utilise the technology was to reduce the time and cost in the development stage of a new design.
The laser cutting of leather technology allowed designers to experiment without having to create new cutting forms to see design changes. In order to combine the laser engraving and cutting process, in a single unit, the systems were supplied with an increased power source than would normally be associated with a straight marking or engraving application on such materials. Laser engraving leather can produce the stunning results required.
The CO2 wavelength is the most suitable for natural organic materials such as this. The laser burns into the surface effectively tattooing the skin as a branding process. 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. Flare up is when the oil catches fire. Normally, this would only be for a very short period of time, but the flare will damage the mark edge and stain the material. 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 and staining of the material.
Limitations 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.
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 cutting specialists by going to our contact page – link below.