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Publication numberWO2007122443 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberPCT/IB2006/001256
Publication date1 Nov 2007
Filing date25 Apr 2006
Priority date25 Apr 2006
Publication numberPCT/2006/1256, PCT/IB/2006/001256, PCT/IB/2006/01256, PCT/IB/6/001256, PCT/IB/6/01256, PCT/IB2006/001256, PCT/IB2006/01256, PCT/IB2006001256, PCT/IB200601256, PCT/IB6/001256, PCT/IB6/01256, PCT/IB6001256, PCT/IB601256, WO 2007/122443 A1, WO 2007122443 A1, WO 2007122443A1, WO-A1-2007122443, WO2007/122443A1, WO2007122443 A1, WO2007122443A1
InventorsRobert Charles Bright
ApplicantCl Inspiration Llc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: Patentscope, Espacenet
Improved laser device for forming texts or images on credit cards or the like
WO 2007122443 A1
Abstract
Laser device for forming images or texts on a card (4) for personal use, for example a credit card, a cash card, an identity card, or the like, in which the card consists of plastics material, preferably polycarbonate. The device comprises a laser (1) having a suitable wavelength for forming images or texts on the card (4), means of transporting the card (4), focusing means (5) for focusing the laser light (2) in an optical path (2'), and means (3) for focusing the laser light (2) of the said optical path (2') on to a first side of the card (4), characterized in that: - it comprises at least one beam splitter (6), to create a further optical path (2') with the said laser light (2); - it comprises reflecting means (7) on the said further optical path (2'); - it comprises means (3') for focusing the laser light (2) of the said further optical path (2') on to a second side of the card (4), - it comprises focusing means (5') positioned on the said further optical path (2'); - and in that the card transport means leave the surface of the card to be printed free on the said first and the said second side of the card (4).
Claims  (OCR text may contain errors)
1. Laser device for forming images or texts on a card (4) for personal use, for example a credit card, a cash card, an identity card, or the like, the said card consisting of plastics material, preferably polycarbonate, the device comprising a laser (1) having a suitable wavelength for forming images or texts on the card (4), means of transporting the card (4), focusing means (5) for focusing the laser light (2) in an optical path (2'), and means (3) for focusing the laser light (2) of the said optical path (2') on to a first side of the card (4), characterized in that:
- it comprises at least one beam splitter (6), to create a further optical path (2") with the said laser light (2);
- it comprises reflecting means (7) on the said further optical path (2");
- it comprises means (3') for focusing the laser light (2) of the said further optical path (2') on to a second side of the card (4),
- it comprises focusing means (5') positioned on the said further optical path (2");
- and in that the card transport means leave the surface of the card to be printed free on the said first and the said second side of the card (4).
2. Laser device for forming images or texts on a card (4) for personal use, according to Claim 1, in which the said means (3; 3') for focusing the laser light (2) on to the said first and the said second side, respectively, of the card (4) for personal use are mirror heads (3, 3') of a conventional type.
3. Laser device for forming images or texts on a card (4) for personal use, in which the said optical paths (2', 2") immediately downstream of the beam splitter (6) are orthogonal to each other.
4. Laser device for forming images or texts on a card (4) for personal use, according to any one of the preceding claims, in which the said transport means are of the continuous or intermittent motion type.
5. Laser device for forming images or texts on a card (4) for personal use, according to Claim 4, in which the said transport means substantially act only on two opposite edges of the card, and consist of counter-rotating gripping rollers or the like.
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Improved laser device for forming texts or images on credit cards or the like

Technical field

The present invention relates to a laser device for applying textual information or images to credit cards, identity cards and like which comprise a plastic substrate (normally polycarbonate, PVC or other) and at least one transparent covering layer on each side.

Prior art

Normally, the information on credit cards is written or transferred by thermography, or by means of the laser method. The thermographic method has some disadvantages with respect to the laser method. Although it is advantageous in some respects, since for example it enables texts or logos to be formed with different colours, for information of a personal nature it is preferable, for reasons of security, to use the laser printing method. Texts formed by the latter technology are practically indelible and cannot be falsified (except by destroying the material of the credit card, identity card or similar).

The laser method is also used, for example, on what are known as SIM cards of cellular telephones, to write information on the opposite side of the SIM card from that on which the chip is present.

At the present time, there is an increasing requirement to accelerate the process of applying texts to credit cards, identity cards, or the like. Especially in major centres for the issue of cards of this kind for personal use, the principal factors to be taken into account are the cost and the speed of operation of the printing machine.

The object of the present invention is to accelerate, using the laser method, the process of printing information on credit cards, identity cards and cards for personal use in general. The present invention is applicable in general to cards for personal use in which both sides can be written (printed) by the laser method. In other words, by way of example, the present invention is not applicable to the case of SIM cards, where printed information cannot be provided on one side of the card.

Essentially, the laser printing modules used at the present time, incorporated in customizing systems for credit cards or the like, use a single laser beam to print a text or images on a personal plastic card. If, as assumed in the present document, the card is to be "printed" on both sides, in the prior art the card has to be rotated and then fed again into the laser printing module (the first, very slow, method), or else a second module has to be used, operating for example simultaneously with the first laser printing module (the second, very costly, method).

The object of the invention is to accelerate the "laser printing" or "laser etching" method, by providing a single pass of the card into the laser printing device. It is possible to print information simultaneously on both sides of the credit card, cash card, driver's licence, etc., without using a second laser, by making simple technical arrangements, and therefore without any significant increase in costs. Description of the invention

Essentially, the principle of the present invention is that of splitting the laser beam (ray) of a single laser by means of a suitable beam splitter, so as to create two optical paths, one of which is directed towards the top side of the card while the other is directed towards its underside.

Thus it is possible to print simultaneously on both sides of an identity card or the like with a single pass of the card, substantially without excessively increasing the costs of the equipment and the printing time. In other aspects, the device according to the invention uses common technologies already in use in this field, namely conventional mirror heads, the usual means for focusing a laser beam, etc.

Consequently it is unnecessary to produce suitable systems created ad hoc.

Clearly, the means of transporting the card must be such as to leave a sufficient free space which remains visible on both the top and bottom sides of the card, and which will be struck by the laser light.

Preferably, polycarbonate cards are used, these being most suitable for laser printing. However, the device is also applicable to identity cards or the like produced with other materials.

Brief description of the drawings

The present invention will now be described with reference to a preferred embodiment thereof, provided by way of example and without restrictive intent, and illustrated in the single figure attached to the present document, in which:

Figure 1 shows, in a highly schematic perspective view, a preferred embodiment of the improved type of laser printing device according to the present invention.

Description of a preferred embodiment of the present invention

In Fig. 1 , the number 1 indicates a laser of a known type, used for printing information or images on credit cards or the like (made from plastics material such as polycarbonate, PVC, etc.). The wavelength of the laser is to be selected according to the properties of the material of the credit card 2. At the present time, three types of different wavelength (measured in nm) are commonly used, but the invention is not limited to the type of plastics material used for the card (including any additives) or to the wavelength of the laser. The transparent layer or layers of the card 2 which cover the layer of polycarbonate or the like are penetrated without modification by the laser beam, which on the other hand modifies the polycarbonate layer where the text consequently appears. All of this is familiar to those skilled in the art and therefore does not require a detailed description.

Normally, the laser beam 2 travels along an optical path 2' to what is known as a mirror head 3, also of a known type, which serves to create an image or text, being focused on the plane formed by the personal card 4. The card 4 is, for example, fed on a conveyor belt (not shown) in the direction of the arrow

F, in the known art, so that an image or text is created on the top side. Another card 4 is then fed, and so on. To enable the underside of each card 4 to be printed, it would have to be rotated and fed into the laser device again, with its underside turned to face upwards on this occasion. All this is clearly expensive because it increases the production times.

However, according to the present invention, what is known as a beam splitter

6 is provided upstream of a means 5 for focusing the laser beam 2. Therefore, a part 2" of the laser beam 2 is diverted, for example in the orthogonal direction and downwards, to a mirror 7 which reflects substantially all the light of the beam 2" towards a second mirror head 3 ' located on the opposite side of the card 4 from the first mirror head 3.

The mirror head 3' is also of a known type.

To enable the second mirror head 3' to create an image on the underside of the card 4, obviously the card 4 must not have its underside covered, and therefore, according to the present invention, the card 4 is guided by its edges, by means of rollers or the like, leaving its top side and underside substantially free.

The reference numeral 5' indicates a second focusing means positioned on the optical path 2".

The power of the laser will be regulated in such a way as to have sufficient power in both optical paths 2' and 2" to form the image or text on the card 4. The present invention has been clearly described in a highly schematic way, and therefore it is obvious that the direction of the beam 2" could also be different (oblique but not orthogonal) from that shown.

A person skilled in the art could easily modify the present inventive concept without thereby departing from the scope of the teaching of the present invention.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US5421619 *22 Dec 19936 Jun 1995Drexler Technology CorporationLaser imaged identification card
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
DE102009031871A1 *6 Jul 200913 Jan 2011Nanosec Gesellschaft Für Nanotechnologie In Der Sicherheitstechnik MBHVerfahren und Vorrichtung zur Laserbeschriftung
DE102009031871B4 *6 Jul 200924 Oct 2013Nanosec Gesellschaft Für Nanotechnologie In Der Sicherheitstechnik MBHVerfahren und Vorrichtung zur Laserbeschriftung
US20120132630 *26 May 201031 May 2012Nanosec Gesellschaft Für Nanotechnologie In Der Sicherheitstechnik MBHMethod and Device for Laser Inscribing
Classifications
International ClassificationB41J3/60, B41J13/12, B41J2/44
Cooperative ClassificationB42D25/41, B41J2/442, B41J13/12, B41J3/60
European ClassificationB41J2/44C, B41J13/12, B41J3/60
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