Laser Cutting & Engraving Rubber
Ⅰ.Rubber-All you need to know
Rubber is a versatile material, which can be used in a variety of domestic and industrial fields. From natural rubber derived from rubber tree to various synthetic rubber, rubber materials can be suitable for various occasions.
Basic properties of rubber as mentioned above, there are several variants of rubber, each with unique properties. However, most, if not all, rubbers also have some common features, such as:
- Elasticity:the molecular structure of rubber materials allows them to return to normal shape after compression or tension. This feature is obvious in rubber bands. Stretching or compressing a rubber band temporarily pulls or pushes individual molecules away from each other. When molecules are connected to each other, they return to their original position once the tensile or compressive forces are eliminated.
- Thermal shrinkage:Rubber shrinks when most materials expand under heat. This unusual phenomenon stems from the reaction of rubber molecules to heat. When heated, the entangled molecules become more entangled and distorted. When the heat is removed, the molecules return to their static state and the rubber returns to its original shape.
- Durability:most rubbers are very durable and can resist abrasion, tear, impact, damage and degradation caused by low temperature and water. They also show a relatively slow rate of heat accumulation.
It can be divided into block raw rubber, latex, liquid rubber and powder rubber. Latex is colloidal aqueous dispersion of rubber; Liquid rubber is an oligomer of rubber, which is generally viscous liquid before vulcanization; Powdered rubber is to process latex into powder to facilitate batching and processing. The thermoplastic rubber developed in the 1960s is formed by the processing method of thermoplastic without chemical vulcanization. Rubber can be divided into general type and special type. It is an insulator and is not easy to conduct electricity, but it may become a conductor if it is exposed to water or at different temperatures. Conductivity refers to the conduction of electrons of molecules or ions in a substance.
According to the source and method of raw materials: rubber can be divided into natural rubber and synthetic rubber. The consumption of natural rubber accounts for 1 / 3 and that of synthetic rubber accounts for 2/3. According to the appearance of rubber: rubber can be divided into four categories: solid rubber (also known as dry rubber), emulsion rubber (latex), liquid rubber and powder rubber. According to the performance and application of rubber: in addition to natural rubber, synthetic rubber can be divided into general synthetic rubber, semi general synthetic rubber, special synthetic rubber and special synthetic rubber. According to the physical form of rubber: rubber can be divided into hard rubber and soft rubber, raw rubber and mixed rubber.By performance and use: general rubber and special rubber.
Common types of rubber
- Natural Rubber (NR)
- Styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR)
- Butyl (IIR)
- Nitrile (NBR)
- Neoprene® (CR)
- Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM)
- Silicone (Q)
- Viton® (FKM)
- Polyurethane (AU)
- Hydrogenated Nitrile (HNBR)
Various types of rubber are suitable for laser engraving:
- Natural rubber
- Foam rubber
- Synthetic rubber
- Silicon rubber
Ⅱ. Laser cutting & engraving rubber
Laser cutting rubber
Laser cutting produces a finish that cannot be achieved by other cutting methods. The laser cutting process can be used to manufacture precise rubber gaskets of various thicknesses. The laser cutting process is ideal when small to medium quantities are required or new products are developed, and when a few versions are required before the final version is decided.
For example, Neoprene - neoprene is a kind of rubber plate laminated by cloth. It mainly comes from the marine field and is used as waterproof material in diving suits. Neoprene has large pieces and several thicknesses, which can be accurately cut by laser.
With laser cutting technique, We can make the following items: seals, gaskets, templates, brackets, product parts, decoration, design coasters, shock absorbers, fashion and decoration.
Laser engraving rubber
Rubber laser engraving allows you to add logos or titles to the surface of materials that receive a stamped appearance. Laser engraving can achieve many details and accuracy. For example, using laser engraving rubber technology, we can achieve the following purposes: custom gaskets, promotional products, fashion accessories, decoration, etc.
Recommendations for laser processing rubber
Before starting engraving, you need to test the material. When you start testing the engraving material, you can pay attention to the following suggestions and preventive measures. If there is anything unclear, please contact the equipment manufacturer for help.
- Use the air assisted mode of the machine when engraving.
- If the material has a rough and smooth side, be sure to engrave the smooth side.
Always observe the following precautions:
- Laser engraving or cutting rubber may ignite the material. Never leave the laser system unattended.
- Laser engraving or cutting of rubber will produce odor. Depending on your environment, installation location and local air quality control regulations, you may need to apply a particulate filter or odor filter to the exhaust gas.
- Laser engraving or cutting rubber can produce abrasive dust and smoke. You will need to clean the laser more frequently to reduce wear and keep the optics clear.
- Laser rubber can be engraved on either side.
- When vector cutting this material, be sure to use a ventilated cutting table. If there is no cutting table, the possibility of flame will increase.
- After engraving, clean the material with detergent and water. Then rinse and dry with a towel.
Ⅲ. Application of laser processing rubber
With our laser machine, you can use laser to make fine words, logos, patterns and pictures on rubber and silica gel. Even precise cutting can be done easily. In the industrial sector, laser engraving can make permanent, wear-resistant and weather resistant marks. In the creative industry, flexible technology brings many creative opportunities - such as stamp making. The laser engraving machine can quickly process rubber stamps in a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way without using any chemicals. The result is a clean and detailed impression.
Besides, laser engraved rubber still has many other applications:
- Stamp making
- Outdoor signs
- Office and school supplies
- Printing plate
- Digital printing
- Flexographic printing
- Rubber-based printing plate production
Monport laser system allows efficient and rapid processing of rubber at low cost. Whether you are producing an entire rubber sheet or a single piece, you can significantly reduce production time through an automated process. For example, laser engraving has become the most common method to process rubber stamps, and this technology can also realize the following applications:
- Laser cutting of rubber seals
- Laser engraved wristband silicone
- Laser engraved silicone bottle
- Laser engraved rubber stamp
Laser engraving small text, complex signs, and even pictures into rubber is easy to do. Using the Monport laser system, rubber engraving/cutting becomes more efficient, cheap and environmentally friendly. If you want to try laser engraving on rubber, add the Monport machine to your shopping list!