Product labels and packages have a wide variety of information printed on them. Some printed information is common to all products. Other information may vary by product, i.e., two-dimensional barcodes for product traceability management (such as QR codes), serial numbers, multilingual indications, etc.
In mass-production, high-volume fast printing is straightforward so long as the information is identical for all products. When unique information must be printed on each product, printing speeds tend to be too slow for high-volume runs. In those cases, costly alternatives to direct printing on products must be used, such as additional labels or stickers. Additionally, text legibility has always been an issue when using multiple languages, as the printed content must remain consistent. When many languages are packed together in small fonts, it makes them virtually illegible.
Ricoh has developed a laser marker capable of printing variable text and images at the world's fastest speeds*. It can independently print different images on a roll-to-roll film traveling at 300m/min, comparable to the rate of a mass-production line. The laser marker has the potential for use in a variety of production environments.
Inventory and traceability management support
Information that varies for sales promotion
Multiple languages printed on a package
When used with Ricoh thermal media, it achieves ultra-high-speed printing of 200dpi at a maximum of 300m per min. The laser printing layer is nearly colorless and transparent, so information can be added while maintaining the product's packaging esthetic.
For fast printing, Ricoh has developed a high-power laser marker capable of instantly and independently driving the modulation of 192 laser light sources.
High-speed thermal printing by inducing a thermal reaction in 1/100,000 second* Checked by Ricoh, as of August 19, 2020
The Ricoh-developed laser driver modulates each channel up to 80,000 times per second, enabling fast, high-definition printing.
Ricoh has developed a thermal ink based on its dispersion technology and durable color development technology. Labels, flexible and rigid packaging, and many other items can be turned into a medium for laser printing by coating them with thermal ink.
Development is underway for a range of applications where high power, high speed, and high definition are beneficial.
The permanence of thermal ink has been an issue for some applications (such as medicine boxes). The laser marker burns the ink off, increasing print legibility over long periods.
Example of burn-off printing with laser
(irradiating the laser to leave black portions)
Without adhesives, resins can be welded by laser power with precise control.
High-speed modulation technology controls the beam shape and dot positions with precision, enhancing the quality of metal sheet welding and cutting and improves the quality of 3D printing.
LIFT has been attracting attention especially in the electronics field as a non-contact transfer process applicable to various materials. The laser marker can transfer a wide range of materials at high speed and with high accuracy by high-speed modulation of 192-ch laser array.
Laser-Induced Forward Transfer
High-speed camera observation of
50µm diameter solder ball transfer
Ricoh's thermal media enjoys an excellent reputation worldwide and is found in a variety of applications. Laser beam control technology has been nurtured through long years of R&D activities, including writing on multifunctional printers (MFPs). The novel laser system combines these proven technologies and enhances the speed and definition of thermal printing. These excellent features will be useful in many present and future applications where on-demand printing solutions are required.