Dynamic beam shaping to optimise laser processing

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Dynamic beam shaping can be applied to offer defect-free welding, cutting, drilling and additive manufacturing. (Image: Civan Lasers)

Civan Lasers has produced what it says is the world’s first 100kW single mode (SM) continuous wave (CW) coherent beam combining (CBC) laser with dynamic beam shaping.

The laser could be used for applications such as welding thick metals in the manufacture of ships and submarines, or in the decommissioning of nuclear power plants.

While CBC is a well-known technology, so far Civan is the only company to offer CBC lasers for material processing, according to the firm.

It is also the first to scale up the technology and offer commercial products in a wide range of power levels.

 

CBC is based on the parallel amplification of a single seed signal that allows for coherent recombination, ramping the output power to a degree unobtainable by in-series amplifiers. 

According to Civan, high-power single mode CBC lasers could enable innovative and highly useful capabilities, such as those in the maritime and nuclear sectors.

The new 100kW single mode continuous wave coherent beam combining laser could enable thick metal welding in maritime applications. (Image: Civan Lasers)

An upcoming webinar hosted by Laser Systems Europe will discuss one of Civan’s CBC features that distinguishes it from other solutions on the market: its dynamic beam shaping capabilities. This technology enables controllable beam shape, frequency, sequence and focus steering, thus providing a very high quality and defect-free processing outcome.

Partnering up

Civan Lasers was established in 2008 in Israel to offer industrial lasers based on CBC technology. The firm’s high power lasers can be integrated into industrial material processing systems in the fields of cutting, welding, metal additive manufacturing and drilling.

The firm recently partnered with German manufacturing experts BBW Lasertechnik to further develop laser beam welding using its dynamic beam shaping technology. This could open up new possibilities for laser beam welding, especially for joining aluminium and copper. 

While the use of beam oscillation with scanners and two-in-one fibres has led to process improvements in recent years, Civan’s technology unlocks new potential in laser beam welding. Previously, the shape and stability of the vapour capillary determined the geometry and quality of the weld seam. Civan’s patented CBC technology now enables the laser beam to modulate in the MHz range, and therefore be shaped as desired. This allows for freedom of design in the evaporation in the capillary, the flow in the weld pool, and the solidification of the melt. The laser is transformed from a tool like a pipe wrench into something more like a pair of tweezers. 

Convinced by the many promising possibilities of Civan’s technology, laser material processing specialist BBW Lasertechnik has invested in the firm’s new 8kW OPA 6 laser – thereby becoming the first company to put the new system into operation. With support from Civan developers, the welding system will be set up at BBW Lasertechnik by the end of the year. 

‘We are excited to be the first to use this disruptive technology,’ said Andreas Bürger, managing director of BBW Lasertechnik. ‘The laser should be particularly useful for challenges in e-mobility, for example welding aluminium, copper and mixed battery materials.’

In the upcoming webinar, BBW Lasertechnik will discuss some of the current challenges in laser welding that it believes can be addressed using Civan’s CBC technology. 

Dr Eyal Shekel, founder and CEO of Civan, commented: ‘By working together with BBW Lasertechnik, we can put our new technology to use with a German pioneer in laser technology. This is a very promising cooperation from which both companies will benefit.’ 

Once the laser system is operational, BBW Lasertechnik will offer interested companies an application laboratory for demonstrations of the technology, giving laser operators the chance to test and validate welding processes in an industrial setting. The development environment at BBW Lasertechnik offers the opportunity to use in-house fixture construction services and a metallographic laboratory. 

Innovation in Israel

BBW Lasertechnik is not the only company to have partnered with Civan lately to develop laser welding for e-mobility applications. Global technology and services supplier Bosch has also teamed up with the firm to develop new processes focused on the manufacturing needs for tomorrow’s vehicle. The partnership is supported by the Israel Innovation Authority.

Tal Dekel, innovation manager at Bosch Technologies Israel commented: ‘We believe Civan’s unique lasers will create new capabilities for joining materials, as we advance to e-mobility. We are proud to lead adoption of new and innovative technologies in the automotive industry.’

Bosch is also one of a number of firms paying close attention to a new consortium funded by the Israel Innovation Authority named ‘Laser for Advanced Material Processing’ (LAMP). The consortium, featuring Civan, will bring together leading Israeli research and technology to develop processes that are currently unavailable. This combined technology will encompass the entire value chain, including simulation, sensors, automation, complex processes and complete end-to-end unit for laser material processing.

The LAMP Consortium will be building a complete laser welding and drilling cell that uses dynamic beam shaping. (Image: LAMP Consortium)

The LAMP Consortium will focus on three key areas: 

  • Developing an effective and accessible simulation program to enable job shops to simulate a weld’s keyhole, melt pool and solidification 

  • Building a complete dynamic beam laser welding and drilling cell 

  • Developing processes for challenges faced by Israeli companies such as crack-sensitive materials, dissimilar materials and surface treatment

‘Just like Israeli start-ups have made huge changes for medical, software, agriculture and navigation technologies, now it is time to change the world of material processing,’ commented LAMP chairman Elkana Ben-Sinai, COO at Civan Lasers, ‘We are excited to collaborate with industry leaders and bring Israel to the technological forefront in this industry.’

This consortium is made up of: Civan Lasers, Baccara Automation & Control, two research groups from the Technion , The German Institut für Strahlwerkzeuge (IFSW), CAS, Neirosta Zafon, Ricor, Lordan and Plasan. In addition to Bosch, the consortium has also generated significant interest amongst Siemens, SodaStream, IAI, Rafael, M. Barzilay and I. Sherman.

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