Simulation software developed for laser material processing

The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT has developed simulation software for laser material processing. The software calculates a wide variety of processes reliably and in real time.

Simulating laser material processing is highly complex and traditionally requires a lot of computing time. The Fraunhofer ILT software requires much less in the way of resources, such that it can run on tablet computers and smartphones. Individual parameters can be adjusted using sliders – the simulation result appears in an adjacent window and changes in real time.

This is made possible by an application-specific reduction of the computing models, a process in which certain simplifications are introduced depending on the respective application. Because these simplifications dramatically reduce the complexity of calculations, they produce a result much more quickly.

Conventional simulation programs deliver a complex representation of the processes involved in the interaction of laser beam and material. Users are interested in things like how the conicity of a drill hole changes when parameters such as focal position or spot diameter are adjusted.

The simplified simulation allows the influence of such parameters to be properly investigated, and the results match up with experimental data, according to Fraunhofer ILT.

The high speed of simulation opens up possibilities such as meta-modelling, which generates high-dimensional data sets. Meta-modelling makes it possible to find global and local extreme values – for example, parameter sets for best and worst quality – through mathematical manipulation of the data. Such simultaneous optimisation of multiple parameters is not possible by experimental methods. This means that new methods in manufacturing such as those of iterative design can be executed much faster.

The software was originally developed for a large customer. Further contracts have been concluded in the meantime, but the software is available for all customers. Depending on the planned application, it will be specially modified by the experts at Fraunhofer ILT to facilitate optimum results.

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