Frequently Asked Questions

What is Photonic Printing?

DataLase Photonic Printing utilises laser light as a printing method. We combine our unique patented colour-change pigments with proven laser technology to create an inkless at the point of print solution, delivering high resolution, high contrast print on a variety of substrates.

Please download our Photonic Printing white paper for more information

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How do Case Coding Solutions work?

Case Coding Solutions are a viable alternative to print & apply, TTO (thermal transfer) and Direct Thermal labels, high resolution inkjet and wax jet solutions. DataLase Case Coding helps eliminate waste and single use plastics from the supply chain by competitively printing variable information via laser directly onto corrugated boxes and shelf ready packaging.

The printed patch and subsequent lasered image becomes an integral part of the box and therefore will not rip, tear, scratch or damage as can be the case with other forms of coding and marking, with damage resulting in costly product returns because of unreadable codes.

Case Coding in action:

For more information, please visit our Case Coding Solutions webpage

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How do Product Coding Solutions work?

Product Coding Solutions are a viable alternative to continuous inkjet, thermal inkjet and ablation. Offering increased flexibility, improved efficiency and enhancing brand integrity by printing variable information via laser onto products and packaging for a range of market sectors.

 

Product Coding in action:

 

For more information, please visit our Product Coding Solutions webpage

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What equipment and supplies are needed for laser coding?

A CO2 laser machine must be installed on each line. The laser should be rated 10w or higher for the best results and should be specific to the end requirement as some systems use different wavelengths which activate DataLase pigments to an optimum level. Laser reactive materials are supplied in a coating or pigment format; typical formulations include water-based flexographic, solvent-based gravure, and UV flexographic.

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Who supplies these products?

Both lasers and laser-reactive pigments and coatings for laser coding applications are available.

The box converter will apply and dry/cure these coatings during the box manufacturing process. End users source pre-coated, ready-to-image boxes—they do not apply laser-reactive coatings on their packing lines.

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How reliable are DataLase solutions compared to traditional print and apply label or inkjet systems?

DataLase solutions are more dependable than traditional printing methods, providing unsurpassed operational efficiencies as lasers are far more reliable, therefore reducing scheduled and unscheduled machine downtime. There are also no inks or solvents required on the production line which further reduces servicing and maintenance. Our solutions mean higher throughput rates due to faster coding and allow for late stage customisation of products and packaging, reducing SKUs and supply chain inventory.

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What are the environmental impacts of adopting DataLase Case Coding Solutions?

DataLase Case Coding Solutions provide significant environmental benefits. Our solutions work as an alternative method for printing logistical information onto corrugate boxes and SRP, resulting in a reduction in carbon emissions when compared to alternative methods. Also, as fewer consumables are used in our Case and Product Coding Solutions, our technology provides environmental benefits, as there is less waste being created throughout the supply chain.

As there is also a reduction in the transportation of consumables, such as labels, businesses can also reduce their carbon footprint. Our Case Coding Solutions do not impact the packaging’s recyclability.

 

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What temperature does the cardboard substrate reach when the reaction with the laser occurs?

The laser process is so quick that the heat from the laser does not heat up the substrate or affect the surrounding area, as it only hits the corrugate briefly resulting in colour change without coating or substrate ablation.

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What can be printed and what is the smallest font that we can produce using Datalase?

Any variable information can be printed down to a size of 8pt.

  • GS1 barcodes
  • Advertising, graphics, promotions and logos
  • Date and lot codes
  • Sequential batch numbering
  • 2D matrix codes
  • Best before dates
  • Automatic date, time, shift coding and real-time clock
  • Variable product information
  • QR codes
  • Multiple languages
  • Addresses

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What is the smallest/largest coating patch size that can be applied?

The patch size is subjective and depends on how much variable information is required. As much coating as necessary can be applied to the packaging substrate in order to get the desired information printed. We have a specialist technical team who can advise on the optimised size and design for your packaging needs.

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Is our system inline?

Yes, our systems can be fitted for inline and offline processes. This is dependant on the printing and converting line speeds. Please contact us for more details.

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Is it tamper proof?

Yes, our coding solutions provide tamper proof codes for anti-counterfeit applications. Logistics information is transferred via a high-speed laser onto a DataLase coated label and is sealed with a layer of tamperproof plastic. This solution is ideal for the pharmaceutical industry as important variable information cannot be altered or tampered with once it has been printed onto the product.

For more information, please visit our Product Coding Solutions webpage

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What is the correlation between Photonic Printing and the Case/Product Coding Solutions?

Photonic Printing is the name of the printing process used in all our technologies, including Case and Product Coding Solutions. DataLase total solutions pivot around hardware, consumables and integration support. Photonic Printing simply means printing with light, to be specific laser light; consumables such as pigments and coatings react with the laser in order to transfer variable information onto the product or packaging.

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Are DataLase Coatings Food Packaging Compliant (FPC)?

DataLase products have been formulated to comply with the regulations and guidelines for non-direct food contact packaging applications. It is the responsibility of the seller of the finished product to ensure all members of the packaging supply chain comply with recommended guidelines and regulatory requirements.

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What are the chromatic capabilities of DataLase Solution?

DataLase solutions have both monochrome and greyscale printing capabilities.

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What print processes is it compatible with?

In meeting the needs of the flexographic, gravure and lithographic market, we offer a range of commercially available coatings for use in the printing and packaging sector. These unique formulations include water-based, solvent based and UV curing functional coating solutions. However please note, new coatings and solutions are always in development, so please contact us for any specific requirements.

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What are the advantages of DataLase Case Coding Solutions?

  • Eliminate consumables from production lines
  • Realise the operational efficiencies of laser marking systems at end-of-line applications
  • Minimal preventative maintenance servicing
  • Laser reliability to reduce unscheduled downtime
  • No waste disposal considerations
  • Late-stage customisation of packaging

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What are the advantages of DataLase Product Coding Solutions?

  • More substrate choice
  • 100% verifiable codes
  • Increased coding speed
  • Improved line efficiency
  • Permanent tamper-proof and anti-counterfeit codes
  • Improved packaging design

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What are the compatible substrates for DataLase technology?

  • Water-based products are compatible with a wide range of brown and white corrugate substrates, including recycled stock
  • Solvent based and UV curing products are compatible with a variety of folding cartons, flexible films, synthetic & paper labels, metal decoration and shrink sleeves

Please contact DataLase for more information about compatible substrates. We have various samples available and can advise on a substrate specific basis.

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What is the cost in comparison to traditional technologies, for example, inkjet?

Although initial costs may be higher, total cost of ownership is lower due to lasers requiring less scheduled and unscheduled downtime, less servicing and maintenance and removal of costs associated with consumables.

Depending on the end user application and how the laser reactive patch is printed on the box, direct consumable costs can often be lower than inkjet and print & apply labels. Case coding offers a far lower total cost of ownership in virtually every application because it brings significant uptime to the production line. Total cost of ownership figures for laser case coding begin to diverge from that of other marking methods in applications, this divergence becomes more pronounced as print area and/or volumes increase.

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Can I use my existing CO2 laser systems?

DataLase coatings are designed to work with 10.6 micron wavelength lasers which are extremely common and available from a range of manufactures. If you require any assistance with laser purchase, please contact us.

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How fast can the laser coding system print boxes?

This varies considerably depending on the amount of information and/or graphical content that needs to be printed. Simple alphanumeric codes, barcodes, 2D codes, and graphics all vary in the amount of time required to laser image. For an application specific coding time, please contact our sales team.

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What Health and Safety considerations are there?

Our laser reactive pigments meet the requirements of the EU Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS),United States of America, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA or TOSCA) and the inventory of existing and new chemical substances (Japan ENCS).

Specific regional and application regulatory compliance information is available upon request.

Best practice for laser safety is now well established and there are multiple related BS/EN standards. Lasers should be fully compliant with safety standards, including installation and the planned provision of fume extraction and safety guarding. Safety guarding may be as simple as a low-cost polycarbonate shield that can be supplied by laser manufacturers and which conforms to the buyer’s safety requirements.

Click here to read our article on Laser Safety

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