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Laser coding is clear thanks to Linx Visicode™ technology

Linx Printing Technologies says that its innovative Visicode™ technology, developed to deliver a much clearer code onto cold glass, will keep bottlers’ running costs low without compromising on line speed.

The technology – recently showcased to industry acclaim at Emballage 2010 – is a central component of Linx’s SL301 Scribing Laser coder, which the company believes is the fastest, most cost-effective and versatile coder available to the bottling industry.

A change in the pulse frequency encourages the formation of micro cracks in the top layer of cold glass to increase the visibility of the mark. Different types of glass used for specific market sectors (such as perfume or wine bottles) require a specific pulse frequency to produce optimal contrast, but in all cases the strength of the glass is not reduced.

Visicode technology by LINX Laser

To achieve effective contrast, the pulse frequency must also be balanced against the marking speed, to produce the correct amount of micro cracking on the glass.

An added benefit of this is that, due to the nature of how micro cracks evolve on the surface of the glass, Linx can produce the code with less power than is normal for this type of application. As a result, the use of Visicode™ can greatly contribute to a longer tube life (up to 45,000 hours – the longest on the market), higher throughput and lower running costs.

This is one of several design features of the Linx SL301 that have been developed to minimise maintenance and downtime, as Rob Peacham, UK Laser Business Development Manager, explains. “Linx Visicode™ represents a significant breakthrough in glass coding, in that it uses the coldness of the substrate to encourage micro cracks for a clearer, higher contrast code. The Linx SL301 is extremely reliable even in the most demanding factory environments. As a result, service intervals are typically twice that of the industry standard.”

This makes the Linx SL301 ideal for coding many different types of packaging, particularly bottles used for drinks, beauty care products and bottled foods such as sauces. The coder can be customised to suit individual applications for optimum compatibility and is also suitable for coding a wide range of substrates in addition to glass, such as PET and other plastics.

Investment in digital galvos with near-instantaneous response times has helped to ensure that the Linx SL301 is the fastest laser coder on the market, increasing productivity over competition by more than 15% while maintaining a high quality code. With the widest number of marking head and lens options available, the laser has more time to code, enabling customers to code more information onto each bottle, or save laser energy for more economic operation.

The efficiency of the cooling system allows the IP54-rated version of the coder not to use expensive factory air for cooling. A blower unit is required only for the optional IP65-rated laser for environments where washdown is critical.

With two tube wavelength options and the extensive choice of marking heads and lenses, the Linx SL301 can be fine tuned to better utilise laser power and improve performance. This versatility is enhanced by a number of unique features which have been developed based on Linx’s unrivalled knowledge of customer requirements. In addition to Linx VisiCode™ technology, the optional QuickSwitch™ allows fast and easy code changes using a barcode scanner or other external device. For applications coding on a label station, Label Enable ensures that the laser is triggered at just the right moment.

 “The Linx SL301 is the only laser that gives the customer a range of features in one laser, for unparalleled versatility,” concludes Rob Peacham. “With its balance between speed, economic running and user-friendly operation, we believe that the Linx SL301 provides the best of all worlds for bottling applications.”

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