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Civan Lasers partners with Smart Move to develop welding and AM solutions

Civan Lasers has partnered with Smart Move to provide new welding and laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) solutions. 

Civan’s dynamic beam laser technology will be combined with Smart Move’s laser scan head, enabling beam shape orientation to be altered on the fly in welding and LPBF.

This will enable the use of asymmetrical beam shapes in complex geometries, which according to the partners will make previously impossible applications a reality.

Civan’s coherent beam combination technology modulates beam shape at speeds of up to hundreds of megahertz without any moving parts. 

This new category of lasers uses optical phased array coherent beam combining to merge many single-mode laser beams into a larger beam. Each laser’s light overlaps with other beams in the far field, creating a diffraction pattern that makes it possible to manipulate the beam shape in real time. Phase modulators control the individual beams, and the resulting interference pattern can be adjusted to maximise the beam spot position and produce various shape patterns inscribed by the beam's motion. 

In addition to beam shape, Civan’s dynamic beam lasers also enable control of shape frequency, shape sequence, and depth of focus. The ability to control these parameters is a powerful tool for optimisation of evaporation in the capillary, the flow in the molten pool, and the solidification of the melt for any laser materials processing application. Such control does away with pore, spatter, and crack formation while increasing feed rates and speeds in welding and additive manufacturing applications. 

Civan and Smart Move have completed development of a scanner for LPBF, which was delivered to a large LPBF systems manufacturer. Another scanner has been made for BBW Lasertechnik and will be integrated in a welding system. 

The scanner developed by the partners for LPBF, delivered to a large LPBF systems manufacturer. (Image: Civan Lasers)

'Smart Move makes the fastest and most accurate scanning solutions available,' said Civan CEO Dr Eyal Shekel. 'The integration of our dynamic beam laser with state-of-the-art scanner technology allows welding and LPBF customers to not only improve welding feed rates and additive manufacturing speeds, but also make previously impossible applications possible.' 

The two firms are also collaborating on a project with Fraunhofer ILT to develop a process for welding bipolar plates used in fuel cells

Each fuel cell requires 300–400 bipolar plates, just hundreds of microns thick, with a weld seam of 3-6m. The demand for bipolar plates is high, but previous efforts by other companies to increase bipolar plate welding speed to more than 0.5 m/sec have resulted in welding defects. However, Civan, Smart Move, and Fraunhofer ILT are now driving this programme, dubbed the Eureka Project. The three organizations aim to use a galvo scanner and advanced real-time process monitoring to control beam wobble at megahertz frequencies to increase welding speed and accuracy for bipolar plates without introducing defects.

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