Widely differing statements on the issue of "Production speed with laser engraving" are circulating and no well-founded analysis is available for comparison with the PrintoLUX® process. The following performance comparison shall therefore provide transparency, especially in view of the current labelling regulations at BMW (they only allow laser engraving and the PrintoLUX process, while mechanical engraving has been excluded for the first time).
We have deliberately used a 10 W laser as comparison system to keep the investment cost reasonably comparable. We leave the format limitation of the laser system to 150 x 150 mm aside in the analysis.
The following labelling systems were subjected to a comprehensive performance comparison:
- Östling LasOnAll XS10 Lasebox 10 W (engraving area up to 150 x150 mm. New price approx. 31,000 € net; with exhaust air filter system additional min. 1,000 € net).
- PrintoLUX®-Basic-go-1.5 System (print area up to 148 x 250 mm. New price including heating unit and software 4,990 € net).
- PrintoLUX®-FB-10-plus System (print area up to 320 x 540 mm. New price including heating unit and software 15,900 € net).
- PrintoLUX®-FB-10/2000 System (print area up to 320 x 540 mm New price including heating uniit and software 16,900 € net).
Advantages of laser engraving over the PrintoLUX® process:
- Material flexibility: Acrylic, glass, wood, plastic, leather, metal, paper, cardboard
- Marking of cylindrical objects possible
- Marking of uneven surfaces with height tolerances over 3 mm possible
- Can be integrated in assembly lines for product labelling
- Foodstuff-proof material can be engraved and used without additional certification effort.
Advantages of the PrintoLUX® process over laser engraving:
- Significantly faster throughput times can be achieved with PrintoLUX (see table).
- If the Data Matrix Code is printed with PrintoLUX systems it can be perfectly read with a smartphone even at lower resolution.
- Investment costs for using a PrintoLUX process are priced over 25,000 € better.
- Mobile use possible (construction sites, assembly sites).
- Printing in colour.
- Legibility without any restriction.
- Operating label printing in the office environment does not present any problem.
- No special safety regulations need to be observed.
Detailed Performance Comparison
Lasebox performance data:
- Legibility of laser engraving depends on the viewing angle. A data matrix code as required for BMW labelling can therefore only be read by a separate scanner. Smartphones are not adequate for this task. The minimum cost for such a scanner is approx. 150 €.
- The active print area of the Lasebox covers 120x120 mm. Expansion of the active print area can only be achieved by converting the Lasebox, a cost of approx. 3,000 € net. The maximum format that can then be achieved is 150 x 150 mm.
- Only black can be generated as colour when using the laser process (depending on the material it can be only grey tones as well).
- The best possible resolution is 635 dpi x 635 dpi.
- Black lettering on silvery anodised aluminium cannot be achieved because of the process.
- If black lettering shall be achieved by removing the anodised aluminium layer except for the marking (negative engraving) or grey lettering on silvery anodised aluminium, the engraving time is increased many times (see table).
- An exhaust filter system is mandatory to operate the Lasebox. The respective cost starts at 1,000 €.
Performance data of the PrintoLUX® systems:
- Any Windows-based software can be used.
- Colour-printing, including photo-type printing, without additional costs.
- Simulation of defined tones (RAL, Pantone, or others).
- Negative printing possible.
- Resolutions up to 5.720 dpi x 1.440 dpi.
- Print area up to 320 x 540 mm.
- Compatible for serial printing.
- Interface. USB2.0; Ethernet.
- Network-capable via Printserver (approx. 150 -2500 € net).
Number of labels per run:
At a single printing process of labelling signs with data matrix code (according to the latest labelling regulation of the BMW corporation) the following quantities are produced by the compared systems.
|Labels according to BMW PL7 & BMW 35up||PrintoLUX®-Basic-go-1.5||PrintoLUX®-FB-10-plus; PrintoLUX®-FB-10/2000||Laser engraving model Östling LasOnAll XS10 Lasebox 10 W|
|1) 12x60x0.5 mm||1 label sheet = 20 signs||4 label sheet = 80 signs||1-16 label sheets|
|2) 25x45x0.5 mm||1 label sheet = 18 signs||4 label sheet = 72 signs||1-8 label sheets|
|3) 40x100x1 mm||1 label sheet = 4 signs||4 label sheet = 16 signs||1-3 label sheets|
|4) 80x200x1 mm||1 sign||6x template = 6 signs||Area limited to 120x120 mm|
|5) 19x250x1 mm||4x template = 4 signs||12x template = 12 signs||Area limited to 120x120 mm|
Comparison of printing costs:
Labels with a format featuring a side length greater than 150 mm cannot be printed with the model Östling LasOnAll XS10 Lasebox 10 W.
An hourly rate of 40 € gross, including ancillary wage costs, is assumed. The personnel costs refer to manufacturing one sign.
With the PrintoLUX® process economically better results can be achieved in any of the application scenarios sketched with the PrintoLUX.
The PrintoLUX® process is also technologically superior to laser engraving in all application areas of labelling production.
Production with PrintoLUX saves more time. The investment costs are considerable more favourable.