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Laser Engraving Foam Branding
Add logos, instructions, part numbers etc. to any foam insert
Foam laser engraving is surprisingly versatile, being ideal for both branding and logos. It can be used for batch identification, warnings and instructions. It can be used to simply enhance your foams aesthetic appearance. And perhaps most importantly, it allows another opportunity for raising awareness of your business.
Laser cut foam /etching is a low-cost way to enhance virtually any protective foam your business uses, including protective case inserts, shadow boards, retail foam packs and much more besides. Read More
More info on Laser Cut foam
Many people are aware of the term “laser cut foam”, although what is less known is that it is very rare to actually cut foam with a laser. This is usually done using die cutting, waterjet or CNC routing methods (all of these foam conversion processes being undertaken at GWP Protective).
However, lasers are used for one very important part of manufacturing – etching / engraving logos, branding, part numbers, instructions and indeed any type of information directly onto the foam.
This “foam laser engraving”, also known as laser marking and laser etching, is frequently used on foam inserts for branding purposes (e.g. logos). However, your business can also use laser etching for helping with identification, traceability, inspection purposes or even to provide instructions to the end user.
In contrast to printed and / or stencilled ink-based printing and marking techniques, foam laser engraving has a much longer lifespan and is far more resistant to scuffs and scratches.
As data is fed into the foam laser etching equipment via the latest CAD software, there is almost no limit to the logos, text or images that can be achieved.
All this is coupled with excellent detail and clarity thanks to the fine tolerances and exceptional accuracy of the laser, whilst not affecting the properties and performance of the foam material.
Laser etching foam process
In simple terms, the process involves a laser as a high energy source of radiation, irradiating the material / foam in a controlled manner. The energy from the laser is then absorbed by the foam and converted into thermal energy (heat) causing a reaction within the material.
However, there are three methods by which this technology works on foams such as Plastazote.
The first method is commonly known as etching or engraving, a process in which the surface of the foam is heated to such a temperature that it chars the foam, creating a darker colour.
Secondly, it can remove the foam material entirely through heating to create a depression in the surface.
The final method is referred to as ablation. This involves partial removal of the materials coating, to reveal markedly different colours underneath. This involves the use of specialist laminated foams to achieve the desired effect.
Of course, these techniques can be used in conjunction with the standard die cutting, water jet and CNC routing processes used to manufacture high performance Peli case foam, Flight case inserts, tool control shadow boards or other protective foam products.
Key benefits of foam laser engraving at a glance
Common questions about laser cut foam
Interested in using laser etching on your cut foam inserts, but have a few questions?
The below section aims to cover all of the commonly asked questions on this topic, but should you have any further queries then please do not hesitate to get in touch.
What is the difference between laser cutting and laser etching / engraving?
Laser cutting of foam is actually a very rare form of foam conversion (most case inserts and packaging are manufactured using die cutting, CNC Routing or waterjet processes). However, laser cutting would refer to removing large areas of foam to create pockets or recesses for products to sit within, whilst laser engraving (or etching) is the process used to add logos, branding and instructions to the foam’s surfaces.
I need cut foam, not engraved. Can you help?
As well as laser engraving foam logos, branding and instructions, GWP Protective can offer the full range of foam conversion methods. This means that should you require inserts, dunnage, foam packaging or any other form of foam product, you can source this from our manufacturing facility in Salisbury, Wiltshire.
Can laser etching be applied to any type of foam?
Laser etching is typically applied to Plastazote foams, due to the high-quality surfaces these foams offer (it is also one of the few laser safe foams). Whilst it is possible to engrave designs on coarser foams such as Stratocell and Ethafoam, due to the nature of the surfaces the results are not as sharp or well defined.
Can laser etching be done on any foam colour?
When using a laser friendly foam, the etching process works best on dark colours. And when combined with layering and machining different colours of foams, can provide some very striking visual effects. This makes it perfect for any customer facing application, and even luxury foam packaging.
My logo is very intricate – will this work with laser engraving?
Laser engraving is very accurate and provides a very well defined and crisp finish. However, as with printing, very detailed and / or intricate logos may not be suitable if required at size which is too small. Saying that, it is usually possible to accurately replicate the vast majority of logos if large enough.
Can small text be produced legibly?
Text can be produced surprisingly well, even at small sizes. Obviously if the point size is reduced too much (e.g. less than 10pt on most fonts) then it can start becoming less clear, but otherwise adding text is a great way to enhance your foam inserts.