MLT Micro Laser Technology
Laser Excellence

Cigarette Perforation in the Tobacco Industry

Laser Perforation of cigarettes and heat not burn products is a widely used process in the tobacco industry in order to achieve certain regulatory values for tar and nicotine tested by the ISO machine-smoking method.

The required perforation can be achieved both during the converting process of the cigarette tipping paper as well as “inline” during the cigarette or HNB stick production process.

Heat-not-burn (HNB) or heated tobacco products (THP) are also perforated. These are produced as sticks, usually made from thicker cardboard material. The reasons for perforation vary considerably, but are generally related to ventilation.

The aim in each case is the manufacture of cigarettes with reduced tar and nicotine values - previously known as "light" cigarettes. Laser perforation ensures that modern filter cigarettes comply with current legislation.

Inline Cigarette Perforation vs. Paper Perforation

Depending on your requirements, it is possible to perforate the cigarette tipping paper during the paper converting process or to perforate the cigarette in the filter area during the production process within the cigarette making machine.

Which solution is right for you depends on various factors in the production process:

  • Capabilities of the paper converter
  • Price difference of perforated vs. non-perforated cigarette paper
  • Requirements of the cigarette brand
  • Technical requirements in production

If you are unsure which method suits best, consult us for further information without obligations.

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MLT is the leading supplier of Perforation Technology for the Tobacco Industry

MLT - Micro Laser Technology is a world renowned leader in laser production technologies throughout various industries, including the tobacco industry.

We follow a “process first” approach which means that our machines are built to the needs of your production process - not the other way around. Our customers value our flexibility and the high degree of customizability of our laser systems.

Your advantages:

  • Porosities from 100 to 4,000 coresta units are achievable
  • MLT technology has been proven over many years and with references from all over the world from almost all the large and many minor tobacco companies.
  • Upgrade solutions for many cigarette making machines
  • Competent partner for overall solutions.
  • From design through certification, assembly, training and servicing - everything from a single source.

MLT Machines for Cigarette Perforation


Complete systems for microperforating cigarette paper, suitable for paper manufacturers serving the tobacco industry. Laser power ranges from 200 watts to 8000 watts.


Specialized laser modules for inline cigarette & HNB products perforation, compatible with various tobacco industry machines.

FAQ Cigarette Perforation

The ISO Machine-Smoking Method refers to a standardized technique used to measure the yield of constituents (like tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide) from cigarettes during smoking.

The ISO Machine-Smoking Method refers to a standardized technique used to measure the yield of constituents (like tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide) from cigarettes during smoking. This method is outlined by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), specifically in ISO 4387 for cigarette tar and nicotine yield, and ISO 8454 for carbon monoxide yield.

Key aspects of the ISO Machine-Smoking Method include:


  1. Standardized Smoking Conditions: The method specifies standardized conditions such as puff volume, puff duration, and frequency of puffs. Typically, this might be a 35ml puff of 2-second duration every 60 seconds.

  2. Machine Smoking: The cigarettes are smoked by a machine which replicates human smoking behavior but under controlled and consistent conditions. This ensures that the measurements are reliable and can be compared across different cigarette brands or types.

  3. Measurement of Constituents: The machine collects the smoke constituents (tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide, etc.) which are then measured. This can be done through various methods, including filters that capture particulate matter or chemical analysis of the smoke.

  4. Standardization for Comparison: The results are standardized, allowing for comparison across different cigarette brands and types. This standardization is crucial for regulatory purposes and for informing consumers about the content of the cigarettes they are smoking.

  5. Regulatory and Health Implications: These measurements are often used by regulatory bodies to set limits on the permissible levels of harmful constituents in cigarette smoke. They also play a role in public health by providing information about the potential harm of different cigarette types.

When it comes to inline perforation of cigarettes or HNB tobacco sticks, laser perforation is the only possible solution as traditional tool based perforation methods cannot be applied.

But also for the perforation of cigarette tipping paper during the paper converting process, laser perforation is state of the art.

This method surpasses conventional techniques by offering unparalleled precision in controlling the size, shape, and distribution of holes, all managed through software without the necessity of altering physical tools.

Such a degree of control is essential for regulating the ventilation and filtration of cigarettes. Laser perforation is characterized by its consistency and the minimal need for setup alterations.

Heat-not-burn (HNB) or heated tobacco products (THP) could often not be produced today in the same way and quality without laser perforation.

Highest speeds of up to 20,000 individual cigarettes per minute can be produced in this way.

Its non-contact approach also preserves the integrity of the tipping paper. The advanced laser machines from MLT deliver this precision at high speeds, making them particularly suitable for the perforation of cigarette tipping paper. The efficiency and precision of this technology highlight its adaptability and sophisticated capabilities.

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