Investigations on laser marking of plants and fruits
Journal article, 2013
High traceability has become more and more important for worldwide logistics of horticultural products as the flow of goods rises steadily. Barcode stickers are widely used on product packaging or on the product itself. Direct product marking could be an option, to improve marking safety and to increase protection against forgery. Therefore, this paper investigates the benefits of direct laser marking and identifies the factors influencing the achievement of useable markings. The studies were conducted by testing various laser wavelengths (193-10,600nm) to mark a simple 9mm2 sized 2-D barcode on the surface of apple fruits and rhododendron cuttings. Depending on the laser wavelength, the process steps of laser marking, the risk of fungal infection and the marking pattern alteration due to product storage were investigated. The marking process (laser energy, laser wavelength, pattern size, pattern design, etc.) considerably influences the representation accuracy of the patterns used, which is important for later image processing. By using suitable laser marking energies per pattern, it is possible to minimise the damaging of product surfaces, and correspondingly the risk of fungal infection. This leads to an applicable codification of individual horticultural products. © 2013 IAgrE.