Racecars use stereolithography, Minnesota laser shop expands, Nitrogen generators cut assist gas costs, Ohio shop goes it alone, MORE...

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Racecars use stereolithography
Valencia, CA—3D Systems, a leading supplier of solid imaging products and solutions, has joined forces in a technology and marketing alliance with Penske Racing for its NASCAR Winston Cup programs.

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Penske Racing uses an SLA 5000 stereolithography system and a Thermojet solid object printer to build prototype parts for cars driven by Rusty Wallace (see photo) and Ryan Newman. With this equipment Penske engineers can quickly produce new parts from CAD data, a necessity when quick adjustments are needed to improve a car's performance.

Nelson Cosgrove, lead engineer for Penske Racing, says, "(This technology) allows us to be extremely flexible with our vehicle design and manufacturing. Thermojet printer models are used as direct tooling for investment castings that are finish machined and put into service in our racecars. We can make numerous changes to parts between production runs without major tooling changes." The Thermojet printer sprays layers of thermoplastic to create solid objects. The SLA 5000 system builds parts using a laser that hardens liquid plastic layer by layer to form a three-dimensional model.

Penske Racing competes 36 weekends per year and each of the teams has seven two-day test sessions, so there is not much time for long-lead time R&D. The SLA system, at the company's Mooresville, NC, facility, can produce prototypes of body, chassis and powertrain components for testing, in the shortest possible time.

Cosgrove says that the SLA system offers advantages over carbon fiber or fabricated aluminum components in terms of flexibility and ease of manufacturing because it produces parts with the tight accuracy required for scale model testing

For more information on stereolithography check out 3D's Web site at www.3Dsystems.com.

Minnesota laser shop expands
Plymouth, MN—Laser Services and Automation (LSA) a laser component manufacturer has acquired Oeuvre Technology, a specialist in laser cutting and welding for the medical and electronics industries. Tom Noll, president of LSA, "We believe the combination of LSA and Oeuvre will provide a broader array of precision welding, drilling and cutting services along with greater capacity to meet the joint needs of our growing customer base." The merged companies, with 13 employees, will be housed in LSA's facility. To contact the combined companies call (763) 744-0246.

Nitrogen generators cut assist gas costs
Gateshead, UK—Advanced nitrogen gas generators can dispense with the need for high-pressure cylinders or liquefied gas storage in laser metal cutting applications. Metalfacture Ltd. (Leicester, UK), a precision sheet metal cutter, has recently installed a domnick hunter Inc. Maxigas nitrogen gas generator to supply high-pressure, 99.9 percent pure N2 gas to its Trumpf laser-cutting machine.

N2 is used when cutting stainless steel, aluminum, Zintec and mild steel up to 2.5 mm thick. Previously N2 was supplied in multiple packs of high-pressure cylinders, but as cutting demand increased this procedure became increasingly inconvenient. For example, during busy periods the cylinder pack has to be changed every day. This required shutting the laser system down for at least 30 minutes. With at least three changes per week, cylinder changing could account for two weeks lost production over the year. Installation of the domnick hunter gas generator eliminated this problem by producing a continuous supply of N2 from compressed air.

In the U.S. domnick hunter has an office in Charlotte, NC. For more information, call (800) 345-8462 or check the Web site www.domnickhunter.com.

Ohio shop goes it alone
Miamisburg, OH—Larry Dosser, CEO and founder of Mound Laser & Photonics Center Inc., announces that he has purchased the company from its parent, Laser Fare Inc. The company, which is active in the field of microprocessing, will expand its activities in microwelding and micromachining with the addition of a state-of-the-art micromachining system and by expanding its staff to further serve customers for laser marking and engraving applications. Contact the company at Tel. (937) 865-4481.

Combination offers strong customer service
Auburn Hills, MI—Robotic Production Technology (RPT) and Panasonic Factory Automation have formed a strategic partnership to further increase each company's share in the welding market. Chuck Russo, RPT chairman and CEO says the partnership will "drive process, mechanical and total tooling solutions to exceed customer expectations."

Access the companies' Web sites, www.rpt.net or www.panasonicfa. com, for information on their products and services.

Laser slit cutter
Sturbridge, MA—Carnegie Institution of Washington, which is building two 6.5m telescopes for the Las Campanas Observatory (Chile), has purchased a Gemini laser cutting system from Convergent Prima. This system, powered by a Coherent (Santa Clara, CA) 150W Diamond CO2 laser with Aerotech (Pittsburgh, PA) motion stages, has a special cooling system adapted for the 2400m altitude of the observatory.

Final testing of the system proved that it has the capability to cut 50-micron slits in 0.25-mm-thick stainless steel at a speed of 50 mm/min, using 480Ωof peak power (13Ωaverage power).

Check out equivalent systems performance by calling (508) 347-2681 or access the Web site www.convergentprima.com.

Extreme UV developments
Jena/Göttingen, Germany—Extreme Technologies GmbH, a joint venture between Jenaoptik AG and Lambda Physik AG, is being funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research to develop light sources in the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) range for production of more efficient chip generation.

The development of EUV beam sources is part of the MEDEA+ consortium, whose members include Alcatel, Carl Zeiss, Philips, ASML, Schott, Infineon and European universities and research institutes.

By 2007, EUV technology is expected to enable feature sizes less than 50 nanometers, which will lead to faster and more efficient microchips.

New scanner supplier
Westfield, MA—Arges-USA, LLC is the newly formed U.S. subsidiary of Arges GmbH, a global supplier of optical positioning and scanning/deflection systems.

The U.S. operation under the direction of CEO Jim Shepard, an industry veteran, will offer standard and custom components to the industrial laser marketplace. A broad range of products from 5 mm to 70 mm clear aperture for multi-kilowatt lasers is offered.

Contact Shepard at Tel. (413) 562-1247, e-mail arges-usa@attbi.com or check out the parent Web site at www.arges.de.

Vision system supplier expands
Saint Bruno, Quebec—Laser vision system supplier Servo-Robot Inc. has moved into a new 3000-sq/m state-of-the-art facility in this Canadian city. This expansion provides the company with additional research, engineering and manufacturing capability.

Servo-Robot manufactures laser vision systems for robot guidance and weld inspection.

Contact the company at Tel. (450) 643-7868, e-mail info@servorobot.com or access the Web site www.servorobot.com.

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