Laser-printable labels . . . Laser welding . . . Laser wire stripping . . .
Dear Search Engineer: I am looking for a permanent self-sticking laser printable label material with a tough clear outer layer. We need to print labels with the company name and logo and with bar codes and alphanumerics for the serial number and part number. The goal is to replace the engraved metal labels that are riveted to a product, with something like the above that has comparable or superior durability. L. W., Design News reader
Dear D.D.: One reader replied that 3M (www.3m.com) makes several polyester label stocks with paper liners that are designed to be used in desktop laser printers. 7842TL, 7845TL, 7850TL are all available, each with a different adhesive. These adhesives are designed to give adhesion to a range of surfaces so it is important to know what surface or surfaces to which you plan to attach the label.
Dear Search Engineer: I am in the process of investigating the use of laser welding to bond polyethersulfone (PES) parts together. I would appreciate any leads for who does this (job shop) and what needs to be considered for the joint design. K.W., Design News reader
Dear K.W.: One reader replied that his company recently went through the same vendor/technology review and search. From what they found, there are no readily available contract manufacturers that have polymer laser welding capabilities in the U.S. at this time. Europe's laser welding industry is further along. Germany and Sweden seem to be the leading countries where they found several equipment vendors, as well as several contract manufacturers offering equipment for welding services. Review the exhibitors from the K-shows in Germany for 2002 through 2005 for all the major players' names. Joint design is fairly simple, but is also dependent on how you plan on introducing the beam through the joining materials. Material thickness, transparency, and flatness of your components are the major factors found to affect the weld joint the most. Consult several of the equipment vendors in the U.S. for more specific details and input. Check out Branson, Leister, as well as a few others.
Dear Search Engineer: Our company is introducing a new product that requires laser wire stripping "windows" into a ribbon cable (with Teflon insulation) to provide openings in the insulation to make electrical connections. The equipment to do this is very expensive. I am looking for a vendor that performs laser wire stripping on a contract basis. Any ideas? D.H., Design News reader
Dear D.H.: Assuming the windows needed are for making electrical contact, "how about taking a reverse approach?" asks one reader. Typical telephone connectors allow the insulated wire to be inserted into the connector. Then, pressure is applied to the side of the connector, causing the leads to penetrate the insulation and make electrical contact. Ribbon cable is normally much wider, but if the quantity justifies, a similar connector could solve the dilemma.