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Service offers laser etching advice to food packagers

Ampacet said it is responding to the increasing call for more secure personal care, cosmetic, food and beverage, medical and pharmaceutical packaging. Laser etching can be used to create indelible expiration dates, serial numbers, bar codes and other marks. Processors can use laser etching to help prevent counterfeiting and possible liability in case such information switched.

The company's "LaserMark Solutions" service goes through the entire marking process from formulation to testing to production. Ampacet will select the best laser mark masterbatch for an application. The company will often creates the masterbatch containing the other needed additives and pigments.

"This step factors in all variables ranging from the properties of the laser, such as its type, speed and power, to the nature of the mark, the base resin and regulatory issues," Ampacet stated.

The service then tests various formulations to find the best one by laser etching samples. As production starts, Ampacet works with the manufacturer to oversee mark quality and consistency.

"In doing this, we define what our customer wants to achieve and formulate to get the optimum bar code, alpha-numeric code or graphic," stated Tom Mickey, who heads the new service.

"We often tailor a masterbatch that brings a mica-based laser-marking additive together with the other components called for in a resin system. This new service rests on our longstanding experience in laser etching, strong knowledge of how pigments and additives should be combined, and our understanding of the packaging industry."

"Converters and packagers who want to use laser etching to make their packaging more secure often need guidance in how to make it work," stated Tom Mickey, who heads the new service. "We created LaserMark Solutions to help them in this process. Our overall goal is to enable end users to add laser marking additives to the plastics they use without compromising the physical or aesthetic integrity of their packaging."

Manufacturers use laser marking to label products with more secure and tamperproof marks. They also use the method because of certain advantages compared to traditional ink jet and pad printing. For instance, laser marking greatly reduces environmental concerns and energy use by eliminating solvents and drying, Ampacet stated.

It also forms consistent and repeatable marks having greater resolution, which means it can provide more data in less space than other forms of printing. In addition, it allows marks to be changed easily because it is computer controlled.

Ampacet offers custom colour, special effect, black, white and specialty additive masterbatches for extrusion and molding plastic packaging.