A French laser technology applications specialist geared to the luxury sector, DWS’s latest patented technique can personalize leather with laser color engraving. The supplier is also looking to apply the process to a broader range of materials.
Part of LVMH’s accelerator program La Maison des Startups in 2019 and 2020, DWS attended Viva Tech’s 2023 edition as an alumnus, showcasing its laser engraving personalization technology with the luxury-goods group. "We’re one of the success stories!" enthuses Aurélien Ricci, Founder and CEO of the company.
In response to robust demand for personalized products in luxury retail (and e-tail), the supplier has revealed its latest patented innovation: a technique allowing a laser to color engrave on leather. Geared to both products and packaging, DWS has tested the process—where Pantone-color water-based paints are engraved in the space of a few seconds—not just on leather, but also on wood, plastics, paper and cardboard, glass and certain grades of metal. "Each material reacts differently to the process, but we’re currently focusing on leather goods in order to offer a similar stability in decoration to what is traditionally done with hot stamping and embossing," Ricci tells Formes de Luxe.
DWS laser engraves color on a luggage tag in upcycled leather ©DWS
The magic of personalization at retail
Technically, DWS describes the process as a cross between hot stamping and sintering, with a result that is both durable and robust. "We apply a coat of paint to the material and pass a laser over the painted surface which fixes the color by incrusting the pigments. The excess material is removed manually, although for industrial-scale production, application and removal can also be automated".
In store, says Ricci, "laser engraving is always a bit of a showstopper"; when color is applied to a material’s surface and the laser passes over, the change is invisible, but it appears like magic when the color is removed. Our aim is to generate emotion through personalization."