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An Introduction to Laser Marking on Plastic

Notwithstanding the differences in reactions of plastic materials which is made up of polymers such as polyethylene, polystyrene, and polypropylene, virtually all plastics of every kind can be marked (i.e. laser marked).  Laser marking uses different wavelengths and laser marking sources to mark plastic materials. This marking is done excellently well using different designs and styles. They are also done permanently. Laser marking on plastic generally undergoes three main processes which include foaming, carbonization and color change. The following sections will examine all three processes.

The Foaming Process

This is the first and most important of all three processes. It is through this process that the laser beam is focused on the least used area of the plastic material’s surface until gas bubbles are being created. These gas bubbles are then left for a little while to cool down. Once these gas bubbles have been left to cool down, they will begin to reflect light. This procedure is known as the foaming process. In other words, foaming occurs when the marked/heated part of the plastic begins to ‘foam’ and becomes more visible than the other areas of the plastic.

The Carbonization Process

After the foaming process, to darken the foamed and marked surface of the plastic material, plastic bonds need to be broken. When they are broken, carbonization occurs. When carbonization occurs, the plastic begins to lose its original color and gradually begins to change from either gray or blue-like gray to black. This is another important process and is most effective on clear organic plastic materials.

The Color Change Process

Carbonization produces a color change process. In this process light from the laser is absorbed by the plastic material. After this absorption, color pigments and carbon present in the materials are destroyed due to the heating that occurs. When this happens, a color change begins to suffice, the carbon begins to oxidize, and a layer of foam begins to form. On completion of this process, dark plastic materials turn white, while the white plastic materials turn either gray or black.

The Uniqueness Of Laser Marking

  • Laser marking remains one of the best ways to provide information, engrave texts, logos, and designs on any plastic material in a unique, clear and attractive way.
  • It provides individuals with the free will of marking desired texts on plastic materials either with the aid of diagrams, texts or barcode, making use of bold, medium or small texts.
  • Laser marking on plastics regardless of what form it takes usually comes in high definition, different styles, and with different designs that pass across the desired message in the best possible way.
  • Laser marking on plastics also remains the most efficient and speedy way to mark designs on plastic. These designs on plastic materials are usually durable, and not subjected to any wear, tear or heat condition of any kind.


Laser marking on plastics no doubt remains one of the most unique, effective and durable marking processes. Coming in various designs and styles, all that is needed of the user is to select the best laser marking tool that will suit specific plastic materials.

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