New ways

High-precision micro 3D laser engraving © Optogon
High precision micro 3D laser engraving © Optogon

Every one of us has had contact with Bornemann products at some time or another : the Lindt lettering on the Bimmelhäschen, the VW emblem on the neighbor’s car or the horse on the gearshift gate of our Ferrari – the manufacturers of these products trust Bornemann. And Bornemann trusts Optogon.

Bornemann GmbH was founded by Karl Heinz Bornemann in Remscheid just over 60 years ago and is dedicated to the production of steel stamps and the traditional, handcrafted creation of engravings. The 80s saw the dawn of the computer age and the associated CNC milling technology. The clientele can now be found all over the world, and they come from all sectors of industry.

Various applications from Bornemann's laser portfolio © Optogon
Various applications from Bornemann’s laser portfolio
© Optogon

In the 1990s, the company entered the field of laser technology. The demand for lettering, markings and signs is constantly increasing. Bornemann continues to expand its offering, investing in a variety of laser marking systems into the 2000s, including one of the first 3D laser engraving systems.
Bornemann’s core business is the manufacture of high-precision embossing tools for a wide variety of companies. The double embossing tools for the logo with lettering for a brewery, embossing rollers for the flower embossing of sanitary towels, or complex tools for the sill trims of the BMW – the 30 employees at Bornemann have a very varied range of tasks.

No clamping, contactless and fast – these are only the most important advantages of laser technology, why Bornemann has given this technology preference over other methods in the field of marking and labeling. Since 1996, Bornemann has operated its own laser department, marking and engraving materials and workpieces of all kinds according to customer specifications.

“Especially for complex and more expensive molds, the laser is almost without alternative. The laser can apply markings and engravings in very inaccessible places,” is how laser specialist and protection officer Roland Wilhelm von Bornemann describes it. Serial numbers, logos and inscriptions are lasered onto the workpieces quickly and with high contrast. This is mostly done by hand.

After the move to the new 1,600 m² building, the laser department will also be expanded, and a realignment is planned. “The need continued to evolve, and so did the laser technology,” Wilhelm said. At the end of 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, the decision was made to invest in the new laser technology.
“We wrote extensive specifications for the new laser system,” Ralf Berger describes it. “We placed great emphasis on high flexibility of the laser system and software, as well as automated processing.” Specifically, this concerns the automated processing of a wide variety of 2D codes, such as the UDI code (GS1) for the medical industry, and all common QR and bar codes. In addition, laser engraving and laser marking on the circumference of rotationally symmetrical components without a shoulder is also a major topic at Bornemann.

Thus begins the search for a partner in the laser sector who, on the one hand, is up to this technical challenge, but who is also in the ring as a “sparring partner” in the long term. Roland Wilhelm sums up: “The contact with Optogon came about quite early. We had known Mr. Plauschin for a long time, and we were very quickly in the actual material.” Andreas Plauschin, sales engineer at Optogon, comments: “Since Bornemann already has decades of experience in the field of laser technology, we didn’t have to start with Adam and Eve. We were able to devote ourselves right away to the essential topics, laser and software automation, as well as the flexible bandwidth that the new laser system must cover.” Optogon received a range of data for a wide variety of applications which was applied to a wide variety of materials in the laser laboratory at Optogon in Eger. Various plastics, brass housings for deep marking, cylinders and many other workpieces.

Programming times are a very important issue for Bornemann. “How is that with the handling of the data? How long does it take for the file to be lasered onto the component? Together with Optogon, we were able to get a live picture of the laser system at PPW Handel in Gummersbach. We were immediately convinced by the simplicity and speed of the HMI (Human Machine Interface)!” says Roland Wilhelm. Contract negotiations began in March 2021 and were completed in June.

The M series from Optogon as an open system at Bornemann GmbH behind Ralf Berger (l.), commercial manager at Bornemann, and Roland Wilhelm, laser specialist and laser safety officer at Bornemann. © Bornemann
The M series from Optogon as an open system at Bornemann GmbH behind Ralf Berger (l.), commercial manager at Bornemann, and Roland Wilhelm, laser specialist and laser safety officer at Bornemann.
© Bornemann

Bornemann opted for an open laser system. “From experience, we are more flexible and faster with an open system. We are aligned for laser processing according to laser protection class 4,” describes Roland Wilhelm, who provides the necessary laser protection officer at Bornemann.

Due to the pandemic, the chip shortage delayed the delivery of the system by several weeks. The delivery took place in November 2021. An important assembly, the third optical axis (Opto3D) was retrofitted in January 2022. The optical axis was an essential requirement for Bornemann. This enables the laser system to mark and engrave three-dimensional surfaces in a single operation. The focus point of the laser is automatically adjusted to the surface.

“Unfortunately, Optogon’s service was able to prove its qualities right at the beginning. A hidden transport damage made life a bit difficult for us at the beginning.” A defective mechanical component in the control system caused a sporadic error. “The search was tough, as the fault was difficult to narrow down. But Optogon’s service solved the problem without further ado,” reports Ralf Berger. Since January 2022, and the installation of automatic focus interpolation, the system has been in full operation, performing a variety of different tasks. “One of the first orders for the system is for the medical industry. We laser components that are used in the cardio area,” Wilhelm describes. Automatic UDI code processing, sequential numbers and text typesetting are the challenges that the system automatically handles.

“With the system, everything is actually possible for us. Single-part machining or automated machining on pallets,” says Roland Wilhelm. “The camera is a laser operator’s dream!”. This refers to the “OptoScope”, a color image preview of the laser system showing the working area. The operator sees his components on the screen and can place the layout on them – the laser marks and engraves exactly at this point. “The beam quality of the system is better than anything we’ve had before. The edges are sharper and simply clean,” says Roland Wilhelm.

When asked where the journey should go, Ralf Berger answers: “Experience after a quarter of a century of laser technology tells us: Be prepared! We now have a very flexible system with which a lot is possible. We also like to be surprised ourselves. With the close partnership with Optogon, we are constantly learning and looking forward to new things. ”

Andreas Plauschin concludes: “We are very pleased about this partnership and learn a lot from each other. This applies on the application side, on the machine side and also on the product side. We are currently working with Bornemann on new, precise 3D laser engraving and surface structuring, among other things for the automotive industry.”