Laser coder vision pays off for contact lens producer

WHEN it needed to automate the application of serial numbers to the curved surface of silicone hydrogel contact lenses, Madrid-based Tiedra Farmaceutica turned to Macsa id’s SPA2 CB 10Watt CO2 laser marking system with iLaserbox 450 work station.

Previously, Tiedra used a pantograph which is a quadrangular system of articulated rods.  This manual process is said to have offered ‘limited’ marking options and the serial numbers faded over time which made identification difficult for the customer.

Macsa id’s engineering department collaborated with the firm to develop a bespoke solution. The challenge was to develop a laser system that delivered extremely high precision marking on to a curved surface with a font size of less than one millimetre.

The best solution was identified as adapting the SPA2 CB 10W IP65-rated laser marking system to the delicate contact lenses. The enhanced model is said to offer a ‘dramatic improvement’ in both marking quality and permanence, while the automated process is much faster than the pantograph-based system.

By utilising laser marking technology, alphanumeric text can be etched on to the contact lens surface. The marking process can be designed to leave the normal distribution of the tear film surface unaltered. Macsa explained the use of laser heads enables high visibility marking that can be read with the naked eye.

Macsa id’s iLaserbox 450 is a compact laser marking work station. It can handle components measuring up to 264mm (length) x350mm (width) x 160mm (height). It is compatible with Macsa’s full range of laser systems.

Tiedra’s MD Álvaro García de Tiedra said, “We have found Macsa to be a world-class supplier that sets a new benchmark in laser marking related processes. Macsa has an engineering department whose mission is to adapt its products and solutions to meet the customer’s needs.”

Macsa id’s SPA2 C 10W, 30W and 40W CO2 lasers boast a modular design and can be integrated with any production line. The lasers can also be controlled direct from a PC via an ethernet link or PLC with Profinet or OPC-UA.