Landing, NJ - In 1982 a team of welding engineers at Penn Research Corporation, designing a new type of aerosol can welding line, found that existing laser technology was not up to the demands of a 24-hour line. The group took on the formidable task of designing their own laser source focused on high uptime and reliability. By 1985, believing they were on to something unique, they chose to divest themselves from the can welding market and incorporated themselves as a private company, PRC, manufacturing 1.5kW CO2 laser sources for the industrial marketplace. They introduced, in 1987, the first industrial dual-beam laser, offering two distinct 450-watt laser beam outputs within one enclosure.
PRC continued to innovate. In 1989 they patented the Turboflow turbine compressor, which eliminated the contamination problems from Roots type compressors, and offered a 3.0kW CO2 laser.
In the 1990s the company, responding to requests by OEMs, developed and marketed the compact SL series of CO2 lasers (1992) and the industry’s first 3.5kW laser (1994) for cutting 1.0-inch-thick steel and 0.75-inch-thick stainless steel.
They shipped their 1000th laser in 1996, the same year they were purchased by Dover Corporation and the year they brought a 4.0kW unit to market. They showed industry leadership in 1998 by introducing the first 5.5kW unit for sheet metal cutting.
With the backing of Dover Corp., PRC took an important growth step in 1999 with the acquisition of Lee Laser (Orlando, FL), the largest OEM supplier of Nd:YAG laser sources in the U.S. Remaining ahead of their competition, PRC installed the first 6.0kW CO2 laser, in 2000, capable of cutting up to 1.2-inch-thick steel and 1.0-inch-thick stainless steel. By 2001 they had shipped 2000 CO2 lasers.
PRC Laser and Lee Laser were acquired by Rofin-Sinar Technologies Inc. in 2004, bringing additional resources to both companies and further strengthening one of the world’s leading laser manufacturers. This year they introduced a 7.0kW CO2 laser capable of cutting 1.25-inch stainless steel.
Located in Landing, NJ, PRC is a major supplier of CO2 lasers to OEMs around the world and they proudly, with good cause, celebrate their 20th anniversary. And what better way to celebrate than by announcing that four PRC lasers installed at Blount Canada Ltd. had ticked past the 100,000-hour milestone. Blount Canada, a manufacturer of chainsaw components including guide bars and sprockets located in Ontario, Canada, installed the four 1500-watt lasers in 1992 on fixed optic cutting machines.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the installation is that the four machines were installed as an automated cell, automatically presenting the raw material to the machines and removing the finished parts. This early example of an automated laser cutting cell made Blount Canada a pioneer not only in their industry, but also in the laser cutting field. After 13 years of demanding operation the laser cell continues to produce parts today, a testament to the reliability and long service life of the fast flow CO2 laser. The original lasers have since been field upgraded to 2000 watts through the introduction of turbine compressors, and in 1996 Blount expanded the work cell by adding two additional cutting lasers.
Jim Rickert, president, told ILS that, “PRC is happy to be celebrating our 20th year of manufacturing industrial lasers, and proud to be a small part of the successful installation at Blount Canada.”