Laser Cutting PET at the 9.3 μm Wavelength

Polyethylene Terephthalate, better known as PET or PETE, is a naturally clear plastic that provides a good boundary against many common liquids and organic materials while minimizing the absorption of plastic residuals into the item being packaged. As a result, PET is widely used in the manufacturing of food packaging and beverage bottles as well as other packaged consumer items.

Cutting PET at the standard 10.6-µm CO2 wavelength may result in some amount of out-gassing due to incomplete absorption, which sometimes stains the edges near the cut surface while thicker materials may exhibit more edge melting at the cut. The less common 9.3-µm CO2 wavelength is better absorbed by PET, resulting in much less out-gassing and melting.

For this particular application, the requirement was to cut an oval hang hole in 0.45 mm (0.018”) thick PET packaging. Because the PET product package was so thin, a marking head was used with no assist gas. The application setup consisted of a 9.3 µm version of our Firestar ti60 laser and an FH Flyer marking head (equipped with a 125 mm HP focal length lens)—all controlled by our WinMark Pro laser marking software. This setup produced a focused spot size of 158 µm (0.018”) at the cut surface.


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