Plastic additive improves laser marking

Bag closure manufacturer Kwik Lok Australia Pty. Ltd. will adopt Sherwood’s DataLase Master-batch color-change technology to date-code bread bag closures for George Weston Foods (GWF).

By Control Engineering Staff August 4, 2005
Sherwood Technology works with bag-closure manufacturer, Kwik Lok Australia Pty. Ltd., to date-code bread bag closures for George Weston Foods.

Bag closure manufacturer Kwik Lok Australia Pty. Ltd . will adopt Sherwood ’s DataLase Master-batch color-change technology to date-code bread bag closures for George Weston Foods (GWF). DataLase Masterbatch is a new generation coding, marking, and printing additive that enables plastics to be successfully marked using low power CO2 lasers, Sherwood Technology says.

GWF is one of Australia’s largest food manufacturers; more than 75% of Australian households buy its bread. Bread is sealed using Kwik Lok all-plastic bag closures, which are marked to provide information on cost, freshness, and other package information. Kwik Lok had applied data to the bread bag closures using a thermal transfer printer, but GWF found that the information tended to rub off of the closures. As a result, GWF requested that Kwik Lok, Unimark (Markem Corp.’s agent), and Sherwood Technology work together to provide an alternative date-coding solution.

Kwik Lok applies DataLase Masterbatch directly to the bread bag closure polymer by extrusion. The additive is non-toxic, environmentally friendly, and capable of producing an image when marked by a low power (around 10 W) CO2 laser. Once exposed to the laser on the production line, the additive undergoes a color change to create a stable and high-contrast date code. By combining DataLase Masterbatch with low-power CO2 lasers, GWF produced date codes that could not easily be removed from the closures. Production run times increased; expensive consumables were removed from the production line. “By using DataLase Masterbatch with GWF’s all-plastic bag closures, we are able to create added value for our customers through considerable cost reduction and productivity gains,” says Alex Anselmo at Kwik Lok Australia Pty. Ltd.

For related reading from Reed Business Information, see “ Total coding solutions in action at Auspack .”

Mark T. Hoske, editor-in-chief, Control Engineering, MHoske@cfemedia.com