compiled by Julie MacShane, email@example.com
Nesting and NC programming software
OptiLaser from Optimation (Blue Spring, MO; www.optimation.com) is a powerful automated nesting and NC programming software package for fabricators using laser machines (flying or fixed optic, hybrid). CAD drawings along with pertinent pre-programmed inputs and manufacturing attributes are imported into the software. OptiLaser is compatible with a wide range of CAD formats. The software automatically checks and cleans the CAD geometries and translates them into an NC Part Program or alerts you if errors are present. It also assigns the machining process and creates the tool paths. OptiLaser determines kerf side and direction automatically and automatically sets feed rates and powersetting based on geometry. Users can manually key orders into OptiLaser directly, or it can be interfaced to any scheduling system that outputs an ASCII file, eliminating the need to manually re-enter. Orders are automatically checked to ensure that the part can be produced and “flagged,” if needed.
High accuracy laser beam profiling software
Ophir-Spiricon (Logan, UT; www.ophir-spiricon.com) has announced the latest version of LBA, the company’s high accuracy laser beam analysis software. LBA measurement precision is based on Ultracal, the company’s patented, baseline correction algorithm that helped establish the ISO 11146-3 standard for beam measurement accuracy. Ultracal ensures high accuracy and reliability by retaining negative signals essential for making correct beam width measurements and for extracting weak signals out of noise. LBA also features a Pointing Stability program that collects centroid and peak data from the LBA core system and displays it graphically; this is critical for maintaining accuracy in welding, laser manufacturing, and military range finder applications. The newest version of LBA operates on the Microsoft Windows Vista 32 operating system and works with Ophir-Spiricon’s SP503U and SP620U, new USB 2.0 CCD cameras that feature a high dynamic range, up to 64dB.
Professional SLA precision centers
The iPro 9000 SLA center from 3D Systems Corp. (Rock Hill, SC; www.3dsystems.com/iPro) is a new professional stereolithography system that quickly and economically produces high-definition ‘Pro-Parts’ from Accura Plastics. The center is designed to produce durable plastic parts with good surface smoothness, feature resolution, edge definition, and tolerances that rival the accuracy of CNC-machined plastic parts. The iPro 9000 SLA center features a new generation of a proprietary ProScan digital scanning system that is equipped with a state-of-the-art SteadyPower Imager. The new imager is designed to deliver consistently reliable output for optimal performance and repeatability comparable to the performance exhibited by traditional CNC centers. The extra large build platform for extended unattended operation is suitable for the high-production of finely featured micro parts or the fabrication of a few extra large parts.
DPSS IR lasers
Due to the need for increased processing speeds for laser based industrial processing applications, Photonics Industries International (Bohemia, NY; www.photonix.com) has now increased the power and pulse repetition rate of it DS Series diode-pumped solid-state lasers to 30W at 300kHz at 1064nm. Higher power at higher pulse repetition rates gives higher processing speed. The new DS20HE-1064 Series laser achieves more than 1mJ pulse energies in IR (at 1064nm) operating at a rep rate up to 300kHz with pulse widths ˜130ns while still maintaining TEM00 mode quality. This higher power laser is also available in green (532nm), UV (355nm), or DUV (266nm) for a variety of materials processing applications.
20W fiber laser pump module
Bookham Inc. (Zurich, Switzerland; www.bookham.com) has launched a single emitter-based pump laser module capable of delivering 20W of fiber-coupled power into a 105µm, 0.15NA fiber. The product is designed to target fiber laser and direct systems for materials processing applications, and will allow laser manufacturers to optimize their dollar per watt ratio. The increased power output of the pump module enables customers to generate greater power levels for fiber laser pumping with fewer modules, allowing for more compact pump configurations, greater pump block efficiency, and simplification of packaging. This passively cooled, small form factor multimode pump module has a floating anode/cathode design and includes the latest generation of multimode pump laser chips from Bookham. The module can operate at wavelengths from 795nm to 980nm and is designed to include current and next generation single emitter laser chips.
CO2 laser nozzles
A line of high accuracy replacement nozzles for popular CO2 cutting lasers that are compatible with mechanical or sensor heads has been introduced by Laser Research Optics (Providence, RI; www.laserresearch.net). LRO CO2 laser nozzles are available with 1.2mm, 1.5mm, 2.0mm, or 3.0mm orifices and feature ±10µm orifice size accuracy to optimize cutting performance. They are offered with straight and tapered tips from 0.375-in. to 0.96-in. L and thread sizes from 0.25 in. to 5/8 in. Machined from brass, copper, aluminum, and ceramic, LRO CO2 laser nozzles are suitable replacements for Mitsubishi, Prima, Laserdyne, and other popular CO2 lasers. Brass nozzle lock rings are optional.
UV laser wire markers
Spectrum Technologies PLC (Bridgend, UK; www.spectrumtech.com) has launched the remaining systems in the Nova 800 range of UV laser wire marking systems — the Nova 800, 820, 840, and 860 models. The Nova 800 series offers economical systems using the latest technology, designed in response to industry demand for cost-effective, reliable, and high-performance marking systems for a range of wire harness manufacturing applications. Nova systems can be used either as part of a mainstream harness production line or for cellular manufacture and there is a Nova system for all levels of production. The Nova 800 is a new low range system for lower volume applications, with a step-up in throughput and system performance through the Nova 820, Nova 840, and Nova 860 to the top-of-the-range Nova 880. A new advantage of this range is that all Nova products may be configured as either manual or automated systems.
10kW fiber-coupled diode laser
Laserline’s (Santa Clara, CA; www.laserline-inc.com) fiber-coupled diode lasers now reach 10,000W out of a 1500µm fiber. Their main applications are heat treating and cladding. One of the first applications was integration into a cladding system that reportedly was expected to reach deposition rates of stellite well above 9kg/hr, which is the benchmark reached with 6kW diode lasers.