* General guide only, there are many crossovers and caveats, please contact us for more details.
Laser Engraving Rubber
Rubber is an extremely durable material that’s used in a wide range of industries from automotive to medical. Resilient and resistant to abrasions, laser engraving rubber produces a clean finish in an environmentally friendly and cost-effective way. Laser technology is a multi-faceted tool in this industry, where it’s used to cut, engrave, and mark a range of applications from stamps and tyres to gaskets.
natural or synthetic
Types of Rubber
There are many types of rubber and each one will react differently to the laser beam. All types of rubber fall under one of two categories: natural or synthetic. The differences in how these materials are made makes them useful for different applications.
Natural rubber is formed from a liquid sap, called latex, that is found in particular trees and plants. There are over two thousand types of tree that produce this liquid sap, however the majority of all natural rubber comes from a tree called the Hevea brasiliensis (the rubber tree). Natural rubber has a high tear strength, a strong resistance to abrasion and is resilient to low temperatures.
Synthetic rubber is made from chemicals derived from coal or crude oil. Once this source material is refined it produces naptha, a flammable oil, which is combined with natural gas to create monomer units. These monomer units merge to form chains of polymer. Due to the polymers being artificially produced, synthetic rubbers can have many different properties suitable to many applications. Generally speaking, synthetic rubber is more resistant to higher temperatures, abrasions, and aging than natural rubber, and it is also cheaper to mass produce.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways laser technology is used for both natural and synthetic rubber…
Natural rubber is used in thousands of products that need a high level of wear and heat resistance. One of the most common uses for natural rubber is in high-performance tyres which spans a range of industries from automotive to aerospace. Other uses include rubber gloves, pencil erasers, rubber bands, shoe soles, dog toys, catheters and balloons.
From silicone rubber to butyl rubber, there are multiple synthetic rubbers in production today. These synthetic rubbers all have different properties which makes them suitable for different applications; rubber gaskets, door mats, window seals, wellington boots and rubber bands are all made from types of synthetic rubber.
Laser Cutting and Laser Engraving Rubber
Whether laser cutting or laser engraving rubber, laser technology is a versatile solution for producing many rubber applications.
Laser cutting is one of the most reliable ways to cut rubber. It is efficient, eco-friendly and produces a clean finish with no ragged edges. It’s possible to create unique shapes with precision and gives far greater flexibility than other cutting methods.
Laser Engraving and Marking
Laser engraving and marking is used for a range of applications whether it’s for personalisation or traceability. It allows the user to engrave text, shapes and other marks accurately onto the surface of the rubber. Particularly effective for branding purposes, the right laser machine can effectively mark the most intricate of designs onto rubber surfaces, including logos and even photos.
At Lotus Laser Systems we manufacture a wide range laser marking and engraving solutions ideally configured for laser cutting and laser engraving rubber. From UV to CO2, our experts would be happy to recommend which configuration best suits your application.