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Tape Notes: Black Marking, for Metal is available in 1"x50 ft, 2"x50 ft, and 3"x50 ft Roll
Export Notes: HTS#: 3824.99.9297
Tape, Cermark \ TherMark:
Certificate of Compliance: FERRO Inc. (‘seller”) warrants Cermark™ branded laser marking materials to be free from defects in materials and workmanship under normal use, and to have an effective shelf-life under normal use, for a period of six (6) months from the date of invoice. The shelf-life will be longer as long as the product is kept air tight and liquefied.
Recommended use: LMM6018.LF is a self-adhesive, paper-backed tape designed with similar pigments and formula as our liquid LMM products. It works well on most metal surfaces, offering a dry processing alternative to those not interested in or unable to work with wet products. It is also easier to use: the tape delivery system insures that a consistent layer of marking material is present on the substrate, entirely removing the variables of dilution and coat thickness.
Additionally, LMM6018.LF is TherMark’s recommended product for marking on clear or colored anodized metal. LMM6018.LF’s unique capability of marking on top of an anodized layer, rather than through it, is a major step forward in marking anodized surfaces. An important point in considering LMM6018.LF is the speed of marking which is significantly slower than for liquid/paste products. The main reason for this decrease in speed of marking is the thickness of the tape (both material and paper backing), which slows down the heat transfer process such that more time is required for the laser to fuse the ink to the substrate.
If you have a cycle time requirement per part, speed may be a relevant factor in deciding if LMM6018.LF is the right product for your application. For high volume, inline manufacturing jobs, TherMark recommends its LMM200 non-adhesive, PET-backed tape.
Important Note: This tape is only available from TherMark and TherMark authorized distributors. It is a different product than the LMM6018 (non-LF) tape sold by Ferro and their distributors. TherMark discontinued the old thicker tape with the release of this new and improved product. If you used that product without success in the past, we urge you to give this product a try.
Recommended substrates: LMM6018.LF is a fairly flexible product which is recommended for many metals, including those which are anodized. The following list is made up of substrates on which LMM6018.LF works well. This list is not exhaustive, however, so if your substrate does not appear on the list, this does not mean LMM6018.LF will not mark it.
Lasers that work: LMM6018.LF works well with both CO2 and solid state lasers. When using a solid state laser with LMM6018.LF you may wish to laser bond with pulsed operating mode, as CW operating mode requires a very slow marking speed.
Application method: LMM6018.LF is a self-adhesive, paper-backed tape. Please make sure that the surface to be marked is free and clear of oils, cleaning agent films and dust.
Drying time & methods: LMM6018.LF does not need to dry and can be laser marked immediately after application.
Laser settings: Power and speed are the two most important variables to control when using TherMark laser marking materials with any laser, but there are other relevant variables depending on which laser you are using, such as length of lens, PPI, DPI, frequency, or hatch spacing. To read more detailed information on laser settings please see below.
Product Appearance: LMM6018.LF self-adhesive, paper-backed tape comes on a plastic core. The adhesive side containing the laser marking material is black; the paper backing is a waxy white.
Shipping options: LMM6018.LF tape is a non-hazardous product and can be shipped via ground or air with no additional charges.
Product storage: LMM6018.LF should be stored between 40ºF (5ºC) and 95ºF (35ºC) in a dark, dry place. If you plan to leave LMM6018.LF unused for longer than a week, the roll should be stored in a Ziploc bag or wrapped in plastic wrap to prevent the tape from drying out due to long-term air exposure.
Disposal: LMM6018.LF tape is an environmentally friendly, non-hazardous product. Excess tape material can be easily and safely disposed of by discarding in the regular trash.
LMM6018.LF tape MSDS
LMM6018.LF Data Sheet
LMM6018.LF Laser Settings Chart
LMM6018 instructions Download
In order to make a high quality, permanent mark using TherMark laser marking materials, it is critical to use the correct laser settings which make the materials successfully bond to the substrate. While the “process window” is quite wide for a number of materials being marked, much will depend on the type of laser being used and the settings that have been applied.
Type of Laser: The type of laser being used is the primary consideration and the settings between a solid state laser and a CO2 will be entirely different. We recommend a minimum of 30W of power for CO2 lasers, and 10W of power for solid state lasers.
Power Settings: Laser power is a crucial variable that impacts the bonding process. Too much power will cause the material to vaporize and burn; not enough power will lead to the material failing to bond to the surface. All of the power settings on these pages are expressed in Watts (W). Note that many lasers will express power as a % of the maximum system power so that 20W is listed in the software as being 40% power on a 50W laser.
Speed Settings: The next most important setting is laser speed, this being the speed at which the beam moves across the material while marking. All of the speed settings on these pages are expressed in inches/second (in/sec). Note that many lasers will express speed as a % of the maximum system speed so that 70 in/sec is listed in the software as being 50% speed on a system that has a maximum speed of 140 in/sec. Some laser software programs express the speed settings in metric units (cm/sec). It is important to note the difference between English and metric units and do the proper conversion when translating the settings to different lasers.
Determining the proper settings: While we can recommend basic power and speed settings to get you started (visit your product’s page for downloadable settings charts), it is important for you to determine your optimal settings based on your laser and your substrate. The best method to determine your best settings is to create a power grid on a scrap part, see below for samples
Other Important Factors
Beam focus: In all laser marking systems the laser beam is delivered to the substrate through a focusing lens. It is important that the laser beam is correctly focused to make the process work. Some laser systems come with a set of different interchangeable lenses for focusing. Choosing the correct lens for focusing is equally important to achieve high contrast marks. The spot size of the laser beam at the markable substrate directly depends on the focal length of the lens. This in turn directly affects the optimum intensity and speed of marking. In general, shorter focal length lenses generate tighter focuses and require lower intensities and vice versa. Please follow your laser manufacturer’s recommendations and procedures on beam focusing.
Vectoring versus Rastering: Lasers can operate in different modes; the first mode is vectoring, in which the beam is continuously steered around the image in much the same way as a plotter moves. Lasers can also operate in a mode called rastering in which the image is achieved by pulsing dots in much the same way a dot matrix printer works. Both modes will work with TherMark laser marking materials, however, the lasers settings may differ.
Resolution settings: There will also be settings that determine the resolution of the image in terms of how many dots/inch (DPI) or pulses/inch (PPI) are used. These settings may also influence the marking speed with a higher resolution mark taking significantly longer to complete.
Continuous Wave (CW) vs. Pulsed solid state lasers: If your solid state laser has both CW and pulsed operating modes, we generally recommend using CW mode. Contrary to conventional laser marking logic, when bonding laser marking materials rather than direct laser marking, it is better to apply more steady, lower peak power laser energy than sudden, high peak power bursts. If your laser does not have CW mode, however, you can mimic this mode by setting your Q-Switch frequency to greater than 50 kHz. An exception to this rule is LMM6018.LF tape which will respond well to pulse mode. Additionally, if marking speed is a major concern when laser bonding on metal, you may be able to reduce cycle time by running in pulse mode, as well. This strategy, however, is not recommended for glass, ceramic, or plastic.
Adjusting Your Laser
Testing & Power Grids: The process of establishing the correct laser settings to make TherMark laser marking materials successfully bond can be time consuming because of the number of variables involved. To expedite this process, it is possible to quickly determine the optimum settings using what is known as a “power grid”. In the laser bonding process, the two most important variables are the laser power and the speed with which the beam passes over the material. A power grid is a graphic file constructed to apply different speeds and powers to different parts of the image; this allows the user to test multiple settings with a single pass of the laser, greatly reducing the time taken to find the best setting.
In the picture below, each square in the grid has a different combination of power and speed settings as illustrated in the axes. The Y axis decreases power in increments of 10% from top to bottom (100% power at the top, 30% power at the bottom), while the X axis increases speed in increments of 10% from left to right (10% speed at the left, 100% speed at the right).
As you can see, optimal marking will only take place when the right amount of energy is transferred by the laser. Section (1) shows that when power is too low and speed is too high there is not enough energy to create a bond.
Likewise, section (2) shows that too much power at a low speed causes the material to be removed, possibly causing damage to the substrate surface.
The ideal “process window” lies in section (3) of the photo. Any of these settings will produce excellent marks on the substrate. Picking a setting in the middle will allow maximum latitude for variability between machines and material. In other cases such as a production environment, the fastest speed possible to create a mark may be preferred.
In summary, when using a TherMark product for the first time on a new substrate, it is advisable to run a power grid on a scrap part in order to determine the optimal settings for your laser/substrate/material/coating combination.
LMM6018.LF comes in 3 sizes:
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