Th Lpkf Protolaser

Compiled by Laureen Belleville,

Laser structuring system

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The ProtoLaser 100 from LPKF Laser & Electronics (Wilsonville, OR; is an easy-to-operate, high-performance laser structuring system for printed circuit board prototyping. It combines the milling, drilling, and contour routing capabilities of an advanced LFPK ProtoMat PCB plotter. The system is used to produce high-quality RF and microwave boards on a variety of materials from FR4 to PTFE-based substrates, as well as for structuring, cutting, and drilling.

The laser beam technology isolates the circuits from the copper layer and removes non-contacting copper between them. Reportedly, a board can be structured at speeds up to 6 sq. cm per minute, producing circuit paths as small as 50 µm. The 25-micron laser beam delivers sharp artwork definition, especially in corners. Plotter milling tools are changed automatically so the system can operate unattended. Both the laser head and the plotter milling head use an optical fiducial recognition system to ensure precise alignment of the laser-structured area on the PCB with the mechanically milled area.

Laser dicer

Using its waterjet-guided laser technology, Synova’s (Ecublens, Switzerland; 300mm laser dicing system, LDS 300, can handle 12-inch wafers. The waterjet-guided laser avoids heat damage and cracking, allowing very high fracture strength. The integrated fiber laser is maintenance free and, therefore, running costs are low. The process provides parallel and narrow cuts with widths from 25 to 50 microns. The Laser-Mircojet also can be used for drilling, scribing, grooving, edge grinding, thinning, or marking processes on wafers.

Laser beam profiler

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Spiricon Inc. (Logan, UT) offers LBA-FW, laser beam profilers using FireWire cameras. FireWire cameras connect directly to laptop computers without a frame grabber card, providing a portable beam analysis instrument. Provided are both CCD and pyroelectric cameras, which cover the complete spectral range from UV to far IR. Cameras are either 12-bit or 14-bit digital. Multiple FireWire cameras can operate on one FireWire bus, enabling multiple simultaneous laser beam profilers. Reportedly, cameras easily capture CW and pulsed laser beams.

Integrated racks

A range of integrated racks from Atlanta Drive Systems Inc. (Wall Township, NJ; mount directly to most standard linear guide rails, eliminating the need for additional machining and alignment and saving time and money. According to the manufacturer, the drives are intended for applications such as axis drives requiring precise positioning and repeatability, traveling gantries and columns, pick and place robots, and material handling systems.

Air cleaner

The dual-arm attachment for the TM 1000 TaskMaster air cleaner from Micro Air Clean Air Systems (Wichita, KS; enables a single portable air cleaning unit to remove harmful pollutants from two workstations at once. The dual articulated arms are eight feet long and three inches in diameter. The unit’s “Lift-Off” attachment connection enables the operator to easily switch the dual-arm attachment with other TaskMaster air cleaner attachments without using other tools.

Green DPSS laser module

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TTL modulation input capabilities have been added to Bfi OPTiLAS International’s (Evry, France; range of diode laser modules. The TTL modulation options will accept signals from DC up to 100 kHz minimum and are available on all Photon PM and Photon Plus PPM laser modules with wavelengths from 635 nm to 785 nm and output powers from 0.9 mW to 32 mW. A customer-adjustable lens for collimated or focused beam may be replaced by other optical systems such as line generators.

100W diode laser array

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The Cascades product from nLight (Vancouver, WA; is a water-cooled, 1-cm array that provides 100 watts of CW output power in the 790- to 815-nm wavelength range. It is intended for next-generation diode-pumped solid-state lasers for commercial and defense applications. This product line is based on the company’s proprietary laser structure that has demonstrated more than 364 watts of CW power from a single 1-cm diode laser bar. For the Cascade line, the drive current and compliance voltage to achieve 100 watts at room temperature is 115 amperes at 1.85 volts. The spectral width is less than 3.0 nm, FWHM, and beam divergence is less than 36 degrees by less than 10 degrees, FWHM.

Laser coder

New from Linx Technologies Ltd. (Earth City, MO;, the Xymark 300SL laser coder features a new package of options and capabilities. Now available in an environmentally protected model and with a small spot option, the unit meets the requirements of various packaging operations yet remains compact and light. Also available is the 100SL, a low-power system utilizing the company’s steered-beam laser technology. The system is intended for use in slower applications and on easy-to-mark materials.

Rack-mount chiller

The newly introduced Rack Mount Chiller from ThermoTek Inc. (Carrollton, TX; uses thermoelectric technology to cool or heat with liquid or air. The chiller can control temperatures within a tenth of a degree to efficiently remove waste heat and avoid component overheating. Because of its 3U package, the smaller size allows for custom configurations and can be easily mounted inside, underneath, or next to other equipment. With no moving parts, this solid-state chiller is quiet and does not vibrate. It also is scalable to low and high wattage.

CO2 lenses

Laser Research Optics’ (Providence, RI; CO2 laser lenses are offered in 1/2-inch to 1 1/2-inch diameter sizes and various thicknesses, with focal lengths from 1 inch to 25 inches, in 1/2-inch increments. Designed for beam delivery systems in 25- to 200-watt lasers, these ZnSe lenses are A/R coated, feature <0.2% total absorption values, and are optimized for use at 10.6 µm where depth of field is important. The lenses are designed for precision focusing in low-power marking, engraving, and scribing lasers.

Special components

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Schneeberger Inc. (Bedford, MA; has launched a line of Specialized Linear Motion Components. Special components consist of guideways for special machines, modified standard guideways from single pieces to series volumes, replacement guideways for obsolete machines, and customized solutions for challenging applications. Examples include, but are not limited to, V guides, double-V guides, guide racks, prismatic guides, sliding guides, profile rails, and gear racks. Options such as air outlets in specialized rails, cage assist solutions for vertical and high accelerations, and overload protection for recirculating guides are some of the custom solutions available. Sliding elements are available in a variety of options, including crossed-roller, needle, and ball cages as well as recirculating units.

Flow captor

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The CoolGuard, first-of-a-kind flow captor from weber Sensors Inc. (Woodstock, GA;, is two sensors in one. It not only monitors the flow rate but also the temperature of the flowing medium and provides a solid-state switch if flow is lost or temperature is exceeded. The product can be mounted horizontally or vertically with no effect on the switching point.

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