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Air-Off the new patent of ML Engraving

ML Engraving presents its brand new patent: Air-Off . This patent is a new application of D.R.E.® - Design Rendering Engineering in the world of thermoforming of plastic materials. The main problem of his moulding method consists on the correct evacuation of the air inside the die, in order to allow the perfect adherence of the plastic film to the inner walls of the mould. This patent is especially recommended for the Style Officies of the Automotive industry: by means of this device ML Engraving can easily engrave 3D textures on dies with complex geometries such as dashboards, bumpers or other car interiors. This application confirms the potentials of laser technology - eco-sustainable, flexible and efficient - and witnesses the importance of innovation and quality for ML Engraving. ML Engraving is always one step forward in laser photo-engraving. Laser or nothing!


ML Engraving is always working in order to improve the quality of its services.

By means of D.R.E.® - Design Rendering Engineering ML Engraving examines the best solutions to engrave textures on moulds with the laser beam. The remarkable “touch effect” obtained on the moulded material, such as plastic, rubber  or silicon, derives from a careful analysis of the moulding method that will be used.

Air-Off: ML Engraving new patent

Specific requests from our important Clients from the Automotive industry have pushed ML Engraving to process a way to engrave elaborated textures for thermoforming moulds.
Analysis and tests have been made by our R&D Dept. and finally ML Engraving comes out with a brand new patent called Air-Off, for the engraving of 3D textures on thermoforming moulds. For the first time, 2D and 3D complex textures can be engraved on dies without problems during the moulding process.

By means of this patent, ML Engraving is able to engrave 3D textures directly on dies with complex geometries or big dimensions, such as Automotive dies. The results after moulding are impressive.
ML Engraving have tested its process on one of the most complicated texture: a 3D geometrical finishing with pyramids.

The air evacuation problem in Thermoforming

Thermoforming is a moulding technique of plastic materials. This procedure allows to heat a plastic film to a pliable forming temperature and than form it to a specific shape into a mould by means of vacuum forming.
The principal problem is due to the perfect air venting during the vacuum forming phase. Air gets stuck very often between the mould and the thermoplastic film, compromising the correct adherence of the film on the texture. This may cause defects and unsightly variations of the finish on the moulded product. 

Although a few methods have been carried out in order to solve this problem, no one can be considered really effective. Here you can find a brief explanation of the 3 most known methods and thier main problems:

1) the two-phases process that consists on a previous embossing phase of the plastic films and a following phase of thermoforming on the plain mould.
Main problem: this method can compromise the texture. Embossing is made on flat surfaces, while thermoforming dies have complex surfaces. Deformations and strains occurr very often.

2) the use of nikel porous moulds: this particular material evacuates naturally the air, allowing the correct adherence of the finishes on the mould.
Main Problem: nickel porous dies are extremely expencive and moreover it takes a very long time to build them up.

3) the creation of holes to evacuate the air inside the mould.
Main problem: this solution is very expensive due to the complexity of piercing a steel mould. Although it has been quoted, it has never been put into practice.

Advantages of ML Engraving patent

ML Engraving has studied the best solution to replace the above mentioned methods. ML Engraving engraves the texture directly on the mould with its laser technology.
Air evacuation is facilitated by a micro-grooves network that creates a grid on the mould and is jointed with the aspiration areas at the edges of the mould. The micro-grooves network permits trapped air to migrate through aspiration holes, in order to obtain the perfect moulded surface.
This solution allows ML Engraving to engrave every kind of texture, even the more complex.

The main advantages are:
  • use steel or aluminium dies instead of porous nickel ones
  • elimination of deformations or distortions of the texture due to the double-phase embossing-thermoforming process
  • unlimited choice of finishes thanks to D.R.E.® - Design Rendering Engineering
  • time saving due to the digital creation of the file while the mould is under construction
  • 3D texture engraving

ML Engraving new patent Air-Off for thermoforming moulds wouldn’t have been achievable without D.R.E.®, that has made it possible to design the micro-grooves grid on the texture flie to be engraved; and also without laser technology, that has made it possible to engrave micro grooves that evacuate air, but don’t compromise the final result of thermoforming.

Once again ML Engraving stands out for its technological innovation and for its strength in achieving the best results from laser technology.

ML Engraving – Laser or Nothing!


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