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The Science of Laser Cutting in Packaging Design

Laser cutting is an extremely precise and versatile method that uses a laser beam to cut various shapes or objects out of plastic, acrylic, or other materials, regardless of material thickness. In packaging design, specifically, laser cutting with a focused laser beam ensures dimensional accuracy, and is more accurate than many other types of cutting, regardless of material thickness.

Additionally, laser cutting with a laser beam is a cutting edge technology often used to cut materials for prototyping or low-volume production runs.

Sometimes referred to as laser scoring, laser cutting also means that packages can be opened effortlessly because they're constructed with materials that provide clean and easy opening. If you sell or manufacture products that will be opened by a consumer (think: candy, coffee, or any other type of snack), then our laser cutting capabilities should be considered. 

How Does Laser Cutting Work?

As you probably guessed, the laser cutting process works by using a laser cutting machine and a high-powered laser beam to cut materials. These laser beams don't cut or melt and don't waste heat or have high power consumption; instead, the laser beam vaporizes the material which prevents it from catching fire or degrading. The laser wavelengths can be visible or invisible to the eye, depending on the light spectrum of the wavelength. The laser beams pass through several mirrors before converging at a single spot.

A special laser cutting software in the laser systems moves the laser head/module back and forth over different materials via an automated process, per the settings that are entered into the computer controlled machine via computer numerical control (CNC).

As soon as the laser beam lands on the intended target, the temperature increases, causing sublimation. Depending on the strength of the laser beams, this process can be done in one pass or may require several passes to cut materials with the laser head. 

What Materials Can Be Cut By a Laser Beam?

As a packaging and pouch provider, we typically use the focused laser beam to cut through plastic material, paper, or cardboard, but laser cutting can be used to cut through a various materials, including very thick materials and thin materials, too.

Since not all materials are compatible, particularly thicker materials, here just a few other materials that can work with laser cutting technologies to create extremely precise cuts. From wood to metals, learn about the various materials that can be used with a laser generator:

Laser cutting machines are often used to cut through wood, regardless of the material thickness. If you've ever held a wood Christmas ornament or seen cutting boards with letters engraved into it, these are two examples of how laser cutting is often used with wood.


If your application requires an attractive, clean, and beautiful finish, using acrylic in tandem with laser cutting is a good choice. Awards, trophies, and decorative items and figurines that are made out of acrylic are often the result of laser cutting.


This is where CarePac shines! Some of the plastic materials that are suitable for use with a laser cutting machine include: acrylic (PMMA), polystyrene (PS), polyethylene (PE), and polypropylene (PP), just to name a few. Different plastics have different melting points, so always check with a professional about material compatibility.


Since laser cutting can create extremely clean cuts, it can be used to cut shapes out of different types of fabric, including cotton, silk, polyester, and leather.

Paper and cardboard

Have you ever seen a beautiful paper lantern with intricate shapes cut into it, or seen a beautiful wedding invitation with lots of embellishments? Chances are both of these items were created by using laser cutting in combination with paper or cardboard materials.


Since metal is so hard, it almost always requires a high powered pulsed laser beam to cut through it. For cut metal, specifically, using fiber lasers is ideal, since this type of laser is high power and produces very high energy laser pulses. Need to cut metal? Using a high power laser is key. 

Why Laser Cutting for Custom Pouches?

When it comes to laser cutting for custom pouches, there are a few things that separate this type of industrial cutting technology from others. Here are just a few of the core advantages of laser cutting:

Extremely precise

Laser cutting is perhaps the most precise cutting process, especially when compared to other manufacturing processes. If accuracy and preciseness is important, using laser technologies is the best choice.

Very efficient

Producing products using laser cutting is extremely efficient. The metal cutting industry, in general, has tried-and-true processes in place that can create intricate designs with laser processing in a very short mount of time.


One of the best parts of partnering with a laser cutting business for your marketing materials or products is that it's highly customizable. Since the high powered laser only cuts where you tell it to, cutting thick materials is just as easy as cutting thin ones.


The laser cutting process is often used for short runs and prototyping, so you won't be tied to large orders. This is one of the key advantages of laser cutting machine.

Now that you know more about the advantages of laser cutting, read on to learn more about two different manufacturing processes that use laser cutting: laser perforation and scoring. 

Laser Perforation & Scoring

With laser perforation and scoring, your barrier films can be made "breathable", meaning you can package things that need to breathe, like fresh-cut produce. Some common applications for laser scoring include:

  • Fresh-cut produce

  • Steam release for microwaveable packaging, like popcorn.

  • High-altitude burst elimination

  • Venting of excess air in bulk packaging that can build up over time.

Since laser scoring requires no tooling, it has a lower up-front cost, making it a viable alternative to more traditional plasma cutting methods. 

Why Choose CarePac for Your Laser Cutting Needs

With decades of experience in the flexible packaging industry, CarePac is your go-to source for all your laser cutting needs. We have access to the highest-quality laser cutting machines and technology, including fiber lasers, transverse flow lasers, and high power CNC machines. Our laser cutting services are affordable, efficient, and we proudly perform all work in the USA.

Our CareDesign team is on hand to answer any questions you may have, from the desired cutting width to how our high energy fiber laser works. Contact us today to get your project started.

Laser Cutting FAQs

What materials can be laser cut for packaging purposes?

A variety of different materials can be used with a seed laser, including paper, plastic, cardboard, stainless steel, and acrylic.

Can laser cutting services be used for all types of packaging designs?

Yes. As long as the high energy laser beam is compatible with the material you're using, our laser cutting services can be used for all types of packaging designs.

What are the cost implications of opting for laser-cut packaging?

Though the cost of laser cutting services varies greatly depending on on the laser power and whether it's a fiber laser or uses radio frequency energy, it does have its advantages in that it has low start-up costs.

What is the turnaround time for producing laser-cut packaging?

Laser cutting services typically take 2-4 days, but this depends on a variety of factors, including the project size, the types of laser used, and the type of material (i.e., stainless steel is more expensive for laser cutting machines to cut through than other materials.) 

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