The Staccato laser from Lumera Laser GmbH (O'Fallon, MO) is intended to enhance micromachining productivity. Cold micromachining at 100 kHz is made possible by the Nd:YVO4 diode-pumped laser with short, approximately 13ps, pulses. At 50 kHz, the laser produces about 15 MW/cm2 of TEM00 peak power at 1064nm. According to the manufacturer, the 13ps pulses produce cut quality in metals that is virtually identical to that of femtosecond lasers. The unit is appropriate for cutting or drilling metals of ≤1mm thickness. Reportedly, with stainless steel the removal rate ranges from 1mm3 in 20 seconds for surface work and 200 seconds for high aspect ratio drilling. Materials can be ablated at the rate of 1nm per pulse or up to 1 µm per pulse. Designed industrially rugged for the manufacturing floor, the laser is offered in 532, 355, and 266 nm, as well as the fundamental 1064 nm.
New from LightPath Technologies Inc. (Orlando, FL) are standard and custom large beam collimators optimized for use at 1064 nm for high-power Nd:YAG beam delivery units, including fiber lasers. The collimators are available off-the-shelf in seven beam diameters from approximately 0.97mm to 12.7 mm, mounted in a ruggedized stainless-steel housing with a choice of fiber connectors. The company also can produce custom large beam collimators for other wavelengths, fiber types, and beam diameters.
Vario from Virtek (Waterloo, ON) is a turnkey, Class 1 laser marking system that is suitable for processing high product mixes in fixtures and trays or large production runs. The system is equipped with a choice of solid-state lasers manufactured in the company's FOBA, Germany, facility. A marking field of 120 × 120 mm is standard and can be enlarged to 290 × 290 mm with the use of an optional, interchangeable lens. According to the company, the product achieves linewidths of 50 microns and character height as small as 250 microns.
BOFA Ltd. (Poole, Dorset, UK) offers the Advantage 180 and 400 two-stage prefilter cartridge with 9m2 of media surface area and the 1500 and 400 with 20 m2. Contaminated air, known as laser-generated air contaminates (LGAC), enters through a sealed inlet and is instantly expanded in the large cartridge chamber causing the velocity of the air to drop. The larger particles fall to the bottom of the cartridge chamber. The remaining particles rest on the surface of the filter. Once the particles have built up and become heavy, gravity breaks them away. Breakaway particles are captured within the filter cartridge. When the filter is used to capture sticky LGACs generated when lasing products such at PET bottles, surface area is critical because particles dry and stick to the filter face on contact.
The VersaScribe Diode Pump Laser (DPL) marker from Alase Technologies (Pepperell, MA) incorporates an internal chiller and diode lamp, which, reportedly, lasts 10,000 hours. The unit's Q-switch operation offers marking flexibility, and laser powers include 20, 50, and 100 watts with field sizes ranging from 70 mm to 280 mm square. Spot size selection ranges from 22 to 60 mm. Applications range from metal, medical device, and decorative marking to micro-hole drilling, product coding, and identification.
A high-performance CO2 laser system, the Epilog Mini from Epilog Laser (Golden, CO) includes auto-focus, air assist, vector grid, and Hyperdrive technology. According to the manufacturer, it engraves, cuts, or marks just about anything that can fit into a 12 x 18 inch space.
Laser power/energy meter
The Nova II from Ophir Optronics Inc. (Wilmington, MA) measures power or energy from picoJoules and picowatts to hundreds of Joules and thousands of watts. On-board features include laser tuning, data logging, graphing, normalize, power or energy density units, attenuation scaling, and max and min limits. The unit also can display the power or energy with a high-resolution analog needle and can be operated either by battery or from an AC source.
A 312-page catalog of miniature pneumatic products and accessories is available from Industrial Specialties Manufacturing Inc. (Englewood, CO). The full-color catalog describes more than 12,000 products, including fittings, tubing, mufflers, manifolds, valves, filters, and accessories. Products are available in a number of materials, including brass, stainless steel, and numerous plastic formulations.
Support bearing units
Designated as series SLS and SLF, the support bearing assemblies from Steinmeyer Inc. (Bedford, MA) include backlash-free sealed precision duplex bearings, locknut, and housing in either a pillow block design ready for attachment to a flat surface or a round unit with rectangular flange. Because the bearings are greased for life, no maintenance is required. The products are available in four sizes for bearing diameters of 6, 8, 10, and 12 mm. They are compatible only with the company's precision ground miniature ball screw series 1112, 1214, 1412, and 1510 and their respective counterparts in rolled thread.
Mirrors and reflectors
Laser Research Optics (Providence, RI) CO2 laser turning mirrors and reflectors are optimized for 10.6 µm at 45° AOI and offered in 1/2-in to 3-in diameter sizes with +0.000 in/-0.005 in tolerance and 2 to 10 mm thickness. Made from molybdenum, silicon, and silicon with enhanced copper-, silver-, or DBMR dual-band polarization controlled reflectance coatings, they exhibit <2 percent absorption and scatter losses.
Cooling control device
The Model 426 Temperature Control Unit (TCU) from PolyScience (Niles, IL) combines microprocessor control, internal pressure regulation, and sophisticated fluid mixing to deliver cooling water to lasers, plastic molding machines, and other equipment at constant, independently controlled temperatures. It is capable of cooling 5° Celsius above the temperature of the source water with ±0.2° Celsius temperature stability. This liquid-to-liquid heat exchanger can be used with portable chillers, tap water, cooling tower water, and other central cooling water sources.