New canning solutions can help beverage manufacturers make the switch to a fiber laser marking solution to apply permanent codes and variable data on aluminum cans during high-speed beverage production. A turnkey laser solution can be mounted around a conveyor to mark on cans at speeds up to 100,000 cans per hour, depending on application requirements. For beverage manufacturers, there is an opportunity to eliminate the consumables required for ink-based coding solutions while marking precise codes without slowing beverage production.

One new system available is the Videojet Lightfoot canning solution that employs dual 30-Watt fiber lasers guided by a single controller. The lasers feature innovative laser marking heads that each weigh less than 2.2 lbs., comparable in size and shape to continuous inkjet printheads.

This canning solution’s IP69-rated fiber laser marking heads are both water and dust-tight and protected against close-range high-pressure, high-temperature washdowns. In addition, an IP65-rated cabinet allows the entire unit to stay in place during washdown. The laser systems are cooled through a blower unit and do not require compressed air or a water chiller unit.

While laser systems with a single marking head require complete line shutdown to repair or swap equipment in case of a fault, built-in redundancy with dual marking heads can be a better solution. If implemented production can adjust to a single laser operation while the line continues running at speeds up to 50,000 cans per hour. 

For operator safety, an updated solution should include a sealed enclosure to block optical radiation emitted from the marking heads. Shielding protects operators from possible injury and the surrounding environment from direct and scattered laser radiation. 3m and 10m umbilical length options on the marking heads allow the enclosure to be positioned where needed. A fume extractor provides additional protection by removing the aluminum dust and fumes that develop during laser marking.