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Panasonic buys direct diode laser firm Teradiode

Panasonic has acquired US high brightness direct diode laser maker Teradiode for an undisclosed sum. Teradiode, with headquarters in Massachusetts, will become a 100 per cent subsidiary of Panasonic.

Panasonic and TDI formed a strategic alliance in 2013, launching a laser welding robot system – Lapriss – in 2014 based on Teradiode’s direct diode laser technology. In the same year, Panasonic obtained exclusive sales rights for Teradiode’s technology for welding in major Asian countries.

Both companies have since been collaborating closely in product development, manufacturing, sales, and service in order to expand the use of direct diode laser technology.

Teradiode is a start-up originating from MIT. Its technology is based on wavelength beam combining, using a diffraction grating to merge multiple wavelengths from laser diode sources into a single, high intensity beam.

Rajiv Pandey, senior product line manager at Teradiode, told Laser Systems Europe in a recent interview that direct diode lasers are the ‘future of laser processing beyond fibre lasers’. Direct diode lasers are viewed as a potential competitor to fibre lasers for metal processing, although some commentators feel the technology is not quite ready yet to compete fully with fibre lasers in this field.

At Euroblech in October 2016, Japanese machine tool builder Mazak unveiled a direct diode laser cutting machine using Teradiode’s lasers. A month later at Fabtech in Las Vegas, Mazak was demonstrating the 4kW direct diode system, showing it could cut different metals and thicknesses faster than a 4kW fibre laser.

Teradiode claims a beam parameter product of 3mm-mrad from a fibre-coupled direct diode laser with an output of 2kW, which is in the brightness range necessary for cutting sheet metal.

While Teradiode’s technology has been shown to be capable for cutting, Panasonic first adopted it for welding where a slightly larger spot size is an advantage.

Panasonic and Teradiode will continue to develop direct diode laser technology, both companies state, in order to strengthen the laser processing business as a new core business of Panasonic in the factory solutions field.

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