DETROIT—M.A. Hanna's Fastmark laser marking system for thermoplastic parts has the potential to move into automotive interiors and under-the-hood uses, said Alan Burgess, new-product commercialization manager for M.A. Hanna Color in Suwanee, Ga.
The Cleveland-based firm touted the laser technology and also announced advances in superphosphorescent colors at SAE '98 last month in Detroit.
The Fastmark process, introduced last summer, can provide in-line color marking on plastic parts without charring or damaging the properties of the material, Burgess said. It also offers labor and cost advantages over traditional direct printing or self-adhesive labels, he said.
``Being able to improve parts aesthetically has opened up a lot of new applications.''
The superphosphorescent material — Hanna FX Nite Brite — is being marketed as a low-cost alternative to backlighted illuminated controls and instrument panels.
The material will glow for as long as 10 hours after 30 minutes of exposure to an ambient light source, he said, adding that competing materials glow for only 20-30 minutes. Nite Brite can achieve this glow with loadings of 2-8 percent, compared with 20-30 percent loadings for similar materials.
He said the product could be useful in lower-end cars where it is cost-prohibitive for manufacturers to install lighting.