CO2 Lasers For Packaging: What They Do, Why It Matters

CO2 lasers are used in a wide range of industries and applications because they offer increased production flexibility, improved production times, and lower operating costs. But what are they actually used for? And why does it matter?
Lasers of every type can be used for a variety of processes. These processes include cutting, marking, and engraving on materials we use daily. Each of these materials has a characteristic absorption spectrum, meaning there are certain wavelengths of light a given material will absorb more readily than others.
Better absorption means that the material will be processed more quickly and effectively.  Since wavelength is one of the defining characteristics of a laser. Therefore, system designers must pair the appropriate type of laser with the material they are looking to process for the best quality and the fastest throughput. CO2 lasers have longer wavelengths, which pair nicely with plastics, natural materials like paper, and certain metal foils.  These are some of the most popular materials in the packaging industry.
The versatility of a single CO2 laser allows for many things in order to mark information.  This includes the ability to date codes, cut films or packages, and score for easy open. It also allows you to perforate to provide oxygen exchange for fresh produce and kiss-cut labels.