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Laser decoration an marking of ceramic and glass products

Marek Strzelec 1Jan Marczak 1Antoni Sarzyński 1Danuta Chmielewska 2A. Olszyna 2Krzysztof Szamałek 2Roman Gebel 2

1. Military University of Technology, Institute of Optoelectronics, Warszawa, Poland
2. Institute of Ceramics and Building Materials, Postępu 9, Warsaw 02-676, Poland


Information about project:

Authors are proposing presentation of past and current results of three,  precisely thematically related projects:

1.     Technology of laser decoration of ceramic products,Technological Initiative I, National Centre for Research and Development, submitted in 2007, realised in 2008-2011 by the Institute of Ceramics and Building Materials in Warsaw in participation with team from Military University of Technology.

2.     G-LAS Innovative technology of colour, laser decoration of flat glass with ceramic agents, Applied Research Programme, Competition 1, submitted in 2012, realised in 2012-2015 by the Institute of Ceramics and Building Materials in Warsaw (coordinator) and industrial partner Ceramika Paradyż Co., in participation with team from Military University of Technology.

3.     Laser technology of marking and decoration by activation of ceramics and glass, Competition 40, National Research Centre, submitted in 2010, realised in 2011-2014 by the Institute of Ceramics and Building Materials in Warsaw in participation with team from Military University of Technology.

Projects aims and methodology

Works, conducted in the frames of basic and applied research, were and are connected with development of two methods: laser sintering of colour means on ceramic (1) and glass (2) products, as well as laser activation of ceramics and glass (3) , where word “activation” means only change of substrate colour under illumination by laser beam, without any changes of its surface.

The main aim of all three projects is implementation of laser technique into the technology of colour decoration and marking of ceramic and glass products, with capabilities of reduction of production process costs and significant reformation of technological processes. Methodology of conducted research consists of investigations of fundamental physicochemical phenomena in laser-ceramic (glass) interaction and development of fundamental process elements: composition and application method of colour agents, laser system parameters, and software configuration according to the end user requirements.

Description of project results

The technologies being presented are researched and optimised using the market’s cutting-edge diode-pumped laser systems, coupled with “galvo” type beam scanners with professional industrial software. Experimental analyses of phenomena and decoration results are conducted by means of X-ray spectroscopy methods (SEM, EDS, XRD) as well as digital optical 3D microscopy.

The most important results achieved are as follows:

1.   Determination of the fundamental physicochemical phenomena, conclusive for the optimal selection of laser process parameters and decoration quality [1].

Selected key research results are presented in fig. 1. In the case of laser sintering, it has been confirmed (fig. 1a) that surface tension gradients in the glaze melt zone (the so-called Marangoni effect), as well as the plasma cloud recoil pressure caused by evaporation, dependent on thickness and composition of the colouring material as well as the temperature of the process, have the fundamental impact on the decoration quality (colour intensity, smoothness, resolution). In the case of laser activation (fig. 1b), colour change results from a temperature decomposition of particular components of the material, which are responsible for the substrate colour.


Fig. 1. a) Decoration roughness as a function of laser energy dose; b) X-ray diffraction spectrum of the glaze containing zirconium silicate before and after laser activation.

2.   Development of a wide range of colouring agents fulfilling the quality criteria for laser processes [2]

A palette of colouring agents meant for laser sintering process has been developed in the Institute of Ceramics and Building Materials in Warsaw (fig. 2). The complete laser systems along with the processing software were created in cooperation with the MUT Institute of Optoelectronics. The computer control of the process allows for transfer of any suitable vector or raster images.


Fig. 2. a) Colour palette on tableware; b) Decorated cup (left) and stove tile (right).

Ceramika Tubądzin, the industrial partner interested in the implementation, and one of the top Polish producers of ceramic tiles and glass decoration plates, participates in the Applied Research Programme being currently realised. The laser sintering process is adapted to decorate glassware, characterised by other than ceramic material composition and lower melting temperature (fig. 3)


 Fig. 3. Examples of laser decoration of glass plates from Ceramika Tubądzin.

Laser decoration technology for the ceramic products has been awarded with silver medals at the International Warsaw Invention Show IWIS 2012 and Moscow International Invention Salon „Archimedes 2013”.

Selected papers resulting from the implementation of the projects:

[1]    D. Chmielewska, B. Synowiec, A. Olszyna, J. Marczak, A. Sarzyński, M. Strzelec, Physics Procedia, vol.5, p.1 (2010).

[2]    D. Chmielewska, R. Gebel, K. Szamałek, A. Olszyna, J. Marczak, A. Sarzyński, M. Strzelec, Proc. of SPIE Vol. 8703, 87030I (2013).



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Submitted: 2013-06-26 18:49
Revised:   2013-06-30 17:19