Primera Technology has developed a new laser marking system, Catalyst, designed for fast and easy production of highly durable, synthetic labels for a wide range of rough-service applications.

Primera noted that labels produced with laser-based systems, such as Catalyst, are typically used to replace metal plates or far less durable labels produced by resin thermal transfer printers on polyester substrates. Examples of applications requiring such high-durability include: the US Department of Defense’s IUID programme; UDI labels for medical devices and healthcare equipment; automobile VIN and under-hood part numbers; warning and instruction labels; aerospace and solar panel labels; serial tags for outdoor power equipment; vehicle and marine spare parts; and building tools and materials.

In the case of Catalyst, text, graphics, and linear or 2D/3D barcodes are laser-imaged onto Color Laser Film (CLF), which itself has been developed and is manufactured specifically for extreme indoor and outdoor applications. CLF labels are robust and do not require extra lamination to withstand extended exposure to UV light, chemicals, liquids, and temperatures of up to 300 degrees C.

Catalyst uses a bundle of 2, 4, or 8 fibre-coupled laser diodes along with matched, high-precision lenses (patents pending) to image onto CLF. Primera stated that bundled fibre lasers have never before been used in a roll-fed, desktop laser label imager, making Catalyst ‘unique in its class’. After imaging the CLF material, Catalyst’s built-in digital die-cutting system cuts the labels to any shape, eliminating the need for pre-die-cut labels. Use of a knife blade over laser die-cutting to cut out the labels eliminates the need for an extraction system, and reduces the associated cost and maintenance.

Specifically, imaging using Catalyst is claimed by Primera to offer several significant advantages over Yag and CO2 lasers for producing highly durable labels, including: lower cost, with the entry-level system priced at US$2995; simple mechanics, with the system designed to mirror a standard industrial label printer; and ease of operation, with no special operator training or certification required.

Mark D. Strobel, vice president of sales and marketing at Primera, said, ‘For companies that need labels for use in harsh and severe-service environments, and even for mission-critical applications, Catalyst is the most affordable and easiest to use laser marking label printer available.’