Laser marking on plastic

Laser marking on plastic is preferable to other technologies to insert codes, logos and designs. The great specialisation of modern laser technology today allows us to mark on all types of plastics. Laser marking does not present problems such as ink adherence, contrast on dark substrates or finishing complexity. The laser removes or modifies the surface of the plastic material or changes its colour, creating a permanent and indelible contrast.

All Plastics Are Not the Same

To speak of plastics is to refer to derivatives of very different chemical compositions, which influence the performance of the processes applied to them, including laser marking. Among plastics, it is indeed correct to distinguish between polycarbonate, polyamide, polyester, PE, PET, ABS, and many others. These influence the choice of laser in terms of required wavelength.
A case in point is PET, which requires a specific short wavelength (9.3 μm) obtainable with CO2 laser markers. A laser with a different wavelength would risk overheating the plastic, causing micro-holes and burning. On this almost transparent plastic, a laser marking is obtained in which the white characters appear to float on the surface. From PET bottles to thin-film materials, laser marking with the right parameters will always be clear and sharp.

Laser marking processes on plastics

Carbonizzazione-Plastica Laser marking on plastic


Foaming is a process that melts the surface of the plastic. During this process, gas bubbles are created in the plastic, which are included in the material during the cooling phase. Due to the gas contained, the volume of the affected material increases and the laser-treated parts appear raised.
marcatura-laser-su-plastica-Viraggio-1 Laser marking on plastic

Colour change

Colour change is the change of colour from dark to light or vice versa. The use of a laser to irradiate the plastic ensures minimal damage to the component during marking.
AUTOMOTIVE_B68-1024x1024 Laser marking on plastic

Selective Ablation

Selective ablation of surface treatments or paints, or the controlled removal of a protective coating on plastics, is used for a variety of purposes, including Day&Night applications, where removing the paint defines the shape of the button to be illuminated.

Lasers marking on plastic

The most common lasers for plastics applications are the famous UV laser, the FlyPeak green wave laser by LASIT and the traditional Green light laser with fiber optic source. In most cases, the use of a MOPA laser or variable pulse laser is recommended: thanks to pulse duration control, this laser ensures maximum performance on more difficult applications.

Laser technicians carry out tests to see which laser is best for achieving the desired result on specific plastics. Usually, the parameters initially used are those listed below. Based on the results of the first tests, it is possible to identify those best suited to the specific processing desired.

Test parameters

High speed (900-1200mm/sec)
Low frequency (10-20kHz)
Low average power (30-60%)
campionelava Laser marking on plastic
In most cases, insisting too much on marking can be counter-productive and decreases the final contrast, so it is better to start with 1 repetition and gradually increase them.
Marcatura-plastiche-contrasto-graduale Laser marking on plastic
Marcatura-plastiche-contrasto-graduale-2 Laser marking on plastic
Marcatura-plastiche-contrasto-graduale-3 Laser marking on plastic
We have identified the 3 most common plastics in our experience, describing their characteristics and the best parameters for marking them. For full reports and further insights, please download the brochure.

ABS White

If not additivated, it is marked with a traditional fiber laser. However, the ideal laser is the FlyUV, which achieves: high contrast, impalpable marking, durability.
ABS-BIANCO-1024x633 Laser marking on plastic

PA66 GF 30 Black

Good contrast can be achieved with FiberFly infrared lasers. To increase contrast, the MOPA version is recommended.
PA66-GF-Nero-1024x633 Laser marking on plastic

POM C Black

Good contrast can be achieved with FiberFly infrared lasers. To increase contrast, the MOPA version is recommended.
POMCNERO Laser marking on plastic

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