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The INLINE systems from 4JET Sales + Service GmbH (Huckelhoven, Germany; www.4jet.

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Laser edge deletion for photovoltaics

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The INLINE systems from 4JET Sales + Service GmbH (Huckelhoven, Germany; www.4jet.de) can be equipped with several laser technologies and allow full area processing of the entire surface of a solar panel. Applications include edge deletion, selective perforation, P4 isolation scribes as well as marking or drilling of glass. The compact unit is a co-development of 4JET and Maschinenbau GEROLD GmbH. The unit is suitable to process all standard panel sizes including G8 formats with 2600x2200mm dimensions. Depending on the application the units are equipped with diode-pumped solid-state or fiber lasers. 4JET supplies customer- and application-specific process technology and integrates a turnkey solution. Depending on the required throughput, several modules can be installed sequentially. The 4JET design allows full area processing of the entire panel surface and allows programming of each individual edge width depending on the glass tolerance.

Motion/material handling subsystem

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LaserTurn 1 from Aerotech (Pittsburgh, PA; www.aerotech.com) is an integrated linear-rotary motion subsystem that combines automated material handling with high performance direct-drive linear and rotary motion to provide a high throughput, high accuracy, cylindrical laser processing system. The system includes an automated, pneumatically actuated Type D collet closer. The collet closer has a clear aperture for product feed-through and can support tubing diameters from 0.1 mm to 7.9 mm in dry cutting applications, and up to 3 mm when configured for wet cutting operation. The collet closer is designed to minimize axial tube motion during clamping operations by keeping the collet stationary and moving the tapered mating surface during collet open/close operation. The LaserTurn 1 includes standard front and rear tooling platforms with M4 mounting features.

2D laser cutting system

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New from Mazak Optonics Corp. (Schaumburg, IL; www.mazakoptonics.com), the HyperGear 612 2D laser cutting system has been specifically designed to integrate “intelligent” automation features with superior cutting speeds to assist in implementing the efficiencies of Lean Manufacturing initiatives while improving throughput. This HyperLean manufacturing technology includes design features that accelerate the cutting process while at the same time maximizing beam on time. The HyperGear 612 offers an automated torch changer, automated nozzle changer, CCD camera based nozzle damage analysis, automated lens analysis, and focal point measurement and adjustment all as fully automated processes to maintain optimal cutting conditions and improve real productivity while lowering the cost of labor by 20% and more. The New Preview II control has applied patented CNC features to anticipate corners and adapt cutting parameters to maintain tolerances. It utilizes elliptical movements and other intelligent functions to deliver fast part production. The new control combined with linear drives allows the HyperGear to cut at speeds with 3G of acceleration, yet with the precision to maintain corner integrity, tight dimensional accuracy, and roundness on contours.

Laser beam splitter/attenuator

Ophir-Spiricon (Logan, UT; www.ophir-spiricon.com) announced the LBS-300 Beam Samplers, a family of high accuracy laser beam attenuators that combine a compact, portable design with small beam diameters and high power ranges. The samplers provide high accuracy measurements of beams with diameters up to 15mm and power levels from 10mW to 400W. This makes the LBS-300 ideal for enclosed workstations, such as those for micromachining, microwelding, and medical device manufacturing.The product is designed to control and adjust laser beam output power reaching the camera. Approximately 99.9% of the beam is transmitted through the beam sampler with less than 0.1% passed on to the camera. The LBS-300 includes three neutral density filter sets, fixed or continuous, and attaches to C-mount, CS-mount, or Ophir mount cameras. Two filters can be combined to provide adjustable attenuation down to 100,000,000:1.

Fiber laser for multikilowatt systems

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A range of high-power OEM fiber lasers from SPI Lasers (Southampton, UK; www.spilasers.com) can be used standalone or incorporated into high-power laser systems for cutting and welding applications in the industrial macro market. According to the company, integration and beam combination of multiple units, typically in the range 300–500W, offers a highly flexible power-scaleable product architecture enabling a range of applications such as high-speed metal cutting, remote welding, and materials processing in the industrial and automotive sectors. The OEM fiber lasers are available with 400W output using high reliability single-emitter integrated pump diodes. They can be supplied with collimated output optics or bare fiber output for integration with either bulk optic or fiber based beam combining technologies.

Fiber laser marker

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The es CODE laser from ES Technology (Leognan, France; www.eslaser.com) offers very low functioning costs. Thanks to an especially stable and high quality laser beam, the es CODE easily meets all reliability and precision requirements. This makes it an efficient tool for any application, particularly as the es CODE range consists of two complementary laser types allowing stationary as well as on the fly marking and coding. es CODE C300 lasers work at a power of 30 watts. They are able to mark without removing any matter, while leaving the treated surfaces totally smooth. As for es CODE 100 lasers, they work at a power of 10 watts, allowing the engraving of products. Additionally the es CODE range features a scan head with very small dimensions allowing its easy integration on production lines.

Laser marking heads

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Laser Scanning Solutions (LSS; Sunnyvale, CA; www.laserscanningsolutions.com) has released the warpSCAN II series of laser marking heads. These high performance galvanometer scanners are compact, 165mm wide x 117mm high x 146mm deep, dust proof, temperature stabilized marking heads featuring very low drift and high stability for high volume industrial applications, including marking, laser materials processing, electronics production, microstructuring, rapid manufacturing, sterolithography, and medical applications. Available in 7mm, 10mm, and 14mm aperture sizes these laser marking heads can be customized with galvanometer mirrors and objectives as well as optimized mounts for all typical laser types and image fields.

Wavelength stabilized high-power diode lasers

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DILAS (Mainz, Germany; www.dilas.com) has introduced wavelength stabilized technology for its high-power fiber-coupled diode lasers. They are available starting from 25W output from a 200µm up to 400W output from a 400µm fiber core diameter (0.22NA). With narrow line width of <0.5nm at full width half maximum, the typical wavelength-temperature drift is 0.01nm per Kelvin. The company's wavelength stabilized technology is appealing to users who demand spectral brightness in both ideal and harsh operating environments. Improving the wavelength stability of the diode lasers leads to higher system efficiency, higher reliability, longer lifetime, and overall lower operating costs.

Lasers for photovoltaic manufacturing

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Newport Corporation's Spectra-Physics Lasers Division (Mountain View, CA; www.newport.com/PVlasers) introduces two Q-switched diode-pumped solid-state (DPSS) lasers with dramatically improved cost-per-watt for photovoltaic manufacturing applications. Both models, the HIPPO 1064-27 and the Explorer 532-2, deliver up to twice the average power for over 50 percent higher watts-per-dollar, compared to previous versions. The HIPPO 1064-27 laser delivers over 27W of infrared average power at 100 kHz or almost 60 percent higher power. The Explorer 532-2 delivers up to 2W of green average power or double the power within the same compact footprint. Both lasers feature short pulse width to minimize heat-affected zones, reduce kerf height and recast material. The exceptional pulse-to-pulse stability provides consistent scribe quality. The lasers also exhibit excellent beam quality for narrow scribe line widths and increased depth-of-focus, delivering greater yield efficiency for photovoltaic manufacturers. The fixed polarization of these lasers helps simplify optical system design requirements, minimizing effort and expense to the end user.

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