08 Sep 2005
Laser-marked jeans, belts and buttons draw the crowds at CIOE 2005.
Clothes featuring stylish markings produced by a laser could be the next big thing to hit high street shops. The Italian firm DS4 Technology is now selling more than 100 laser marking systems for textiles in China each year, according to its distributor Bright Concept Technology of Hong Kong.
The USD 120,000 sealed CO2 laser system, on show at this year's China International Optoelectronics Expo (CIOE 2005), takes an image from a PC and replicates it on denim jeans, leather goods and buttons in a matter of seconds by ablating the surface of the material.
For example, an engraving of a tiger about the size of a hand takes about 6 seconds to produce. It is claimed that the process does not affect the strength of textiles and that they can be washed as usual.
Systems are available with an output power of 40, 70 or and 90 W and have a maximum marking speed of 90,000 mm/s. Seven different focusing options are available to allow marking areas ranging from 65x65 mm up to 1560 x 1560 mm and spot sizes from 0.1 mm up to 24 mm in diameter.
According to Bright Concept, the most popular use of the machine is marking denim jeans and jackets, but all other kinds of non-metallic goods can also be decorated such as wood, stone and leather. The firm told Optics.org that the machine can also be used to cut textiles if required.
Founded in 1996, DS4 Laser Technology is based in Pedrengo near Milan in Italy and specializes in making laser systems for cutting, marking and engraving.
By Oliver Graydon, reporting from CIOE.