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SMC UNCORKS TEMPERATURE CONTROL SOLUTION

3 October 2012

SMC, the world’s leading provider of pneumatics, has uncorked a solution to resolve a temperature control issue for wine cork laser marking technology supplier, On Laser. With 14 years’ experience in CO2 laser applications and a global customer base, On Laser has been leading the way in this fast growing sector with its unique Décork™ digital laser marking solution for natural cork stoppers. 

The use of laser marking is becoming increasingly popular thanks to its versatility, high productivity and cost benefits when compared to ink jet printing, and the requirement for accurate temperature control solutions, therefore, is also in greater demand.
 
A vital part of the laser marking process is the need to cool and regulate the temperature of three key parts within the laser. SMC’s HRS Series has proved to be an outstanding performer, guaranteeing accurate temperature control, which in turn delivers consistently high quality marking on the wine cork.

SMC’s Product Promotions Manager, Pete Humphreys, said: “At SMC we work in partnership with our customers to ensure we deliver the appropriate solutions for their manufacturing needs. This is a great example of where our temperature control HRS Series demonstrated its technical capabilities, particularly when it came to temperature stability.”

During the laser marking process, the three areas that require cooling are firstly and most importantly the optic’s laser emitter tube, which is at the start of the process, followed by the point of impact and finally the control cabinet. It is essential the optic is cooled and the laser emitter tube can retain a constant temperature of ±0.5°C, as variations could cause a change in size of the tube leading to a loss of laser marking quality. A key strength of the HRS is the fact it offers exceptional stability of ±0.1°C. It is also important to cool the point of impact; if the temperature is not brought under control it can lead to burning. The control cabinet is cooled down by being fed water by the HRS to a coil piping, which in turn uses a fan that also helps reduce the cabinet’s temperature.

The biggest challenge, however, is the smaller than average diameter of the tubing, leading to restricted water flow and thus making it difficult to achieve a constant temperature. However, The HRS has an optional high-lift pump to overcome this issue; with its added power, it guarantees the minimum flow rate required by customer.

For added efficiency, the HRS features a control system using up to three integrated sensors which indicates if the equipment isn’t performing properly. If there is a problem, an alarm is triggered with 31 different code types to distinguish the different issues, such as higher or lower temperature, and the self-diagnosis result is clearly displayed on a panel. 

In this particular case, On Laser also appreciated the other standard functions and flexibility of the HRS, including the remote control function and the ability to integrate the control panel within their own laser machine controls using serial interface communications.

SMC’s HRS Series offers both air-cooled and water-cooled solutions and has several temperature control applications in addition to laser marking and machining such as sealing of film and paper packaging, paint material, shrink fitting, X-ray tubes and light sensing and vacuum pumps. For more information, please visit www.smcpneumatics.co.uk
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