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Graphic Overlay Materials

Graphic Overlay Materials Overview

Graphic Overlay Materials are polyester or polycarbonate-based films that have printed graphics as visual indicators for human-machine interfaces. Popular graphic overlays are produced by DuPont, Teijin Films, SABIC, Tekra® and others. Laser processing of graphic overlay materials is possible with a 9.3, 10.6, and 1.06 micron laser. Laser cutting of graphic overlay materials with a 9.3 or 10.6 micron CO2 laser is possible with no significant difference in cut quality. The CO2 laser produces a clean smooth cut with no discoloration and minimal to no heat affected zone along the surface on polyester-based graphic overlays. For polycarbonate-based overlays, the edge will be frosted with a yellow tint on the liner of the material. This discoloration is removed with the removal of the liner. The 1.06 micron fiber laser is not recommended for cutting, as the material does not ablate at this wavelength. Laser marking of graphic overlay materials is possible with polycarbonate core materials using the 9.3 CO2 laser or 1.06 micron fiber laser. The 10.6 micron CO2 laser is typically not used for laser marking as the wavelength does not produce significant contrast on polycarbonate or polyester. Laser marking of graphic overlay materials that are polycarbonate-based with a 1.06 micron fiber laser produces a dark carbonized mark on the polycarbonate surface. The 9.3 micron CO2 laser marks with a faint glossy yellow color that does not provide high contrast on polycarbonate. Laser marking of graphic overlay materials that are polyester-based should be performed with a 9.3 micron CO2 laser. This marking process provides a frosted white mark on the polyester surface. The 1.06 micron fiber laser is not effectively absorbed by polyester to produce a mark.

Applicable Laser Processes for Graphic Overlay Materials

Laser Cutting
Laser Marking