November '22

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7 6 G R A P H I C S P R O • N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 2 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M use ink to transfer the desired image onto the material. e laser beam instead directly etches or cuts the material with the desired image, which is drafted using a comma-separated values, or CSV, file format. e intensity of the light beam is controlled by the settings and controls on the engraver, depending on the material used and the desired output of color, type of cut, and cut depth. "By increasing them, it becomes hotter. at's when you start cutting wood, acrylics, and other types of materials," Hatch says. "If you dial it back to etch or score, that's where you're not burn- ing all the way through." e laser scars the subsurface of the materials, essentially burn- ing part of it away, Hatch says. Since everything is under glass and the focal point is so small, and heat isn't transferred, the material doesn't get hot, he says. LASER ENGRAVING REPORT A control panel and gage plate for a lube truck used by Colville Inc. in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, with labels indicating the functions of the different hoses. Hatch uses CerMark metal marking spray paint on metal plates he etches. He applies the special paint to the material he wants to label so that when the light comes into contact with the laser marking spray, a chemical reaction occurs. Wherever the laser beam hits the spray, that area turns into a permanent black mark. "Without it, you wouldn't see anything. It requires the paint to show itself," Hatch says. "It's sharper, crisper, and the black mark it leaves is so much deeper in color." SOME SPECIFIC PROJECTS Hatch makes labels for Colville's lubrication, or lube, trucks that deliver oil, for control panels to indicate the purpose of indi- vidual switches and controls, and for gage plates, diverter valves, and strapping charts, often including the company name and logo on the different items. He just finished a two-year project last winter that included labels and panels to identify the many fittings, hoses, and valves at the company's tank farm — the farm consists of tanks connected with plumbing, piping, and pumps that are used to store and transfer fuel. e labels are for the tanks, pump shacks, and trucks at the farm. Initially, Hatch used stickers and label makers for labeling the functions of panels, covers, and hoses but was tired of their short lifespans.

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