Laser Processing of SABIC LEXAN™ 9600 FR Sheet


SABIC LEXAN™ 9600 FR sheet is a clear polycarbonate sheet. LEXAN FR sheets are designed to have improved flammability characteristics coupled with standard polycarbonate sheet characteristics such as impact resistance, stiffness and strength, optical quality, formability and light weight. LEXAN 9600 FR consists of a 1.5mm thick polycarbonate sheet. A diagram depicting LEXAN 9600 FR is shown in Figure 1.
SABIC LEXAN 9600 FR Sheet Layers

Figure 1. LEXAN 9600 FR diagram showing polycarbonate sheet (1.5mm).

SABIC LEXAN sheet products are used in a variety of industries such as transportation, electronics and building and construction for a variety of applications such as light diffusors, viewing windows, and dust covers. SABIC LEXAN 9600 FR is a variation of LEXAN sheet product that meets more stringent fire retardancy requirements. The non-contact nature of laser processing allows applications to be processed with small features and fine geometry which might be difficult to achieve with traditional mechanical methods. LEXAN 9600 FR is suitable for laser cutting as well as laser marking. Universal Laser Systems makes it simple to consistently and repeatedly process this material to a high degree of dimensional accuracy because the non-contact nature of laser processing eliminates material deformation during processing.

Laser Processing Notes

LEXAN 9600 FR was tested to assess laser processing compatibility and determine the best configuration of laser peak power and wavelength. LEXAN 9600 FR appears to absorb both the 9.3µm and 10.6µm laser wavelengths efficiently with minor differences in results. A microscopy image taken at 300x magnification of the edge after laser cutting LEXAN 9600 FR is shown in Figure 2. The 3D image in Figure 3 depicts how the polycarbonate sheet responds to laser cutting with the system configuration of a single 75 watt 9.3µm laser. LEXAN 9600 FR was also tested for marking and was found to produce a contrasting mark with the use of a 1.06µm laser wavelength.
SABIC LEXAN 9600 FR Sheet Figure 2

Figure 2. Microscopy image (300x) of the edge after 9.3µm laser cutting LEXAN 9600 FR. The heat-affected zone measures 125µm.

SABIC LEXAN 9600 FR Sheet Figure 3

Figure 3. 3D-rendered microscopy image (300x) of the edge after 9.3µm laser cutting of LEXAN 9600 FR.

LEXAN 9600 FR polycarbonate sheet was tested for laser cutting with both 9.3µm and 10.6µm laser wavelengths. The results of these tests were compared by analyzing the heat effects, quality of the processed edge, and post processing requirements. Comparison of these system configurations are listed in tabular form in Table 1 and shown photographically in Figure 4. Both system configurations appear viable with some minor differences in quality as stated in the comparison.

Table 1 System Configuration Comparison

System ConfigurationHeat-Affected ZoneProcess CharacteristicsPost-Processing Requirements
9.3µmMinimal heat-affected zone of approximately 125µm This configuration results in a smooth edge that exhibits minimal heat effects and some discoloration No post-processing required
10.6µmHeat-affected zone of approximately 140µmThis configuration results in a slightly rougher edge that exhibits minimal heat effects and less discoloration
SABIC LEXAN 9600 FR Sheet Figure 4

Figure 4. Microscopy images (300x) of the edge resulting from laser cutting with the 9.3µm (left) and 10.6µm (right).

Processing Example

LEXAN 9600 FR applications requiring fine geometry and intricate detail without degrading the physical properties of the material can be accomplished with Universal Laser Systems technology. An example demonstrating the results of laser cutting and marking LEXAN 9600 FR using the recommended peak power of 75 watts and 9.3µm wavelength is shown in Figure 5.
SABIC LEXAN 9600 FR Sheet Figure 5

Figure 5. Example of the geometry possible with laser cutting and marking of LEXAN 9600 FR.


LEXAN 9600 FR is suitable for laser processing and was extensively tested to determine the optimal processing configuration. Through this testing it was determined that laser cutting is viable with this material using either a 9.3µm or 10.6µm 75 watt CO2 laser source. Laser marking of this material requires the use of a 1.06µm fiber laser to produce a contrasting mark. LEXAN 9600 FR efficiently absorbs the 9.3µm and 10.6µm wavelengths of laser energy to produce a processed edge that has a minimal heat affected zone and slight discoloration.