ConverTec Corp., Newtown, Penn., has released its TeraLaz CO2 terahertz laser system that is designed to provide economic solutions in certain laser beam applications. The system has the capability to cut, drill, score, stitch, and weld thin film materials for packaging and converting applications. The company claims perfect material edge quality at in-line processing speeds and that the system will eliminate costly knives and dies.
Terahertz radiation is non-ionizing sub-millimeter microwave radiation and shares with microwaves the capability to penetrate a wide variety of non-conductive materials. Terahertz radiation can pass through clothing, paper, cardboard, wood, masonry, plastic and ceramics. It can also penetrate fog and clouds, but cannot penetrate metal or water. Much of the recent interest in terahertz radiation stems from its ability to penetrate deep into many organic materials without the damage associated with ionizing radiation such as X-rays.
There are many theoretical and technological uses under development in the fields of medical imaging, security, scientific imaging, communications, and manufacturing. Manufacturing also has many possible uses for terahertz laser sensing and imaging. The developer states that these applications are in direct manufacturing, such as quality control, characterization, verification, validation, and process monitoring. These generally exploit the trait of plastics and cardboard being transparent to terrahertz radiation, making it possible to inspect packaged goods.
The small compact system can be adapted to most installed manufacturing, converting, packaging, and processing lines. The company provides design engineering and manufacturing services for upgrades, modification, automation, and material handling requirements.