LSE celebrates International Day of Light 2023
From everyone here at Laser Systems Europe – Happy International Day of Light!
While the speed of light may be constant, the speed of laser materials processing is accelerating rapidly. To mark this special day, we highlight below several innovations contributing to the increasing speed of industrial laser systems.
Increasing cutting power
Laser cutting systems have recently broken through the 30kW mark. While such high power unlocks the capability to cut metal sheets up to 30mm thickness and beyond, it also enables higher feed rates to be achieved at the mid-plate range, from 10-20mm, where they offer dramatically higher cutting speed and edge quality. Such capabilities are expected to prove useful to the automotive, construction, energy and shipbuilding industries, as well as to those building white goods and agricultural machinery.
Stamp-like laser marking
With traceability requirements and production volumes increasing, traditional sequential laser marking is facing challenges where the mark has to change per product on a shot-by-shot basis. Thankfully, new technology is emerging where rather than using one beam sequentially, it uses hundreds of beams simultaneously to create a stamp-like effect – enabling it to produce a whole data matrix code in an instant. Such technology is capable of marking around 80,000 parts per hour, enabling it to rise to the exceptional, ever-changing challenges of high-volume mass production.
Ultrafast laser surface texturing
Industrial applications require the texturing of very large surfaces extremely rapidly, which can not yet readily be addressed using the laser equipment currently available. Numerous efforts are therefore underway in the industrial laser community to address this challenge. Ultrafast lasers are being developed with higher-energy beams, which when split into multiple, lower-energy sub-beams over a larger surface area can be used to perform parallel machining. This can be used to increase processing speed dramatically, all while preserving the exceptional process quality ultrafast lasers have become known for.
These are not the only technologies increasing the speed of laser materials processing, with others such as multi-laser additive manufacturing, dynamic beam shaping and adjustable beam quality also playing a role.
For more on on how photonic technology is providing real-world solutions, keep your eyes open for Photonics Frontiers, being published by our sister title Electro Optics next month. If you see us at Laser World of Photonics at the end of June, be sure to ask for a physical copy!
To find out more about the celebration of International Day of Light, go to: www.dayoflight.org