LMI enhances inspection capabilities, Micromachining services, High-performance enclosures, Finn Power sold, New technology center, Exitech expands, MORE...

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LMI enhances inspection capabilities
Somerset, WI—A 150-square-foot X-ray vault for weld inspection of large parts is the latest addition to the facilities at Laser Machining Inc. (LMI). X-ray evaluation provides exact characteristics of weld penetration, joint alignment and defect detection for laser-welded parts.

LMI is a leading provider of systems and services for laser processing metals. For more information visit its Website at www.lasermachining.com.

Micromachining services
Lanham, MD—Potomac Photonics has added a new service for custo-mers, Direct-write Laser Deposition, which provides an answer for quick turnaround of miniaturized devices for rapid prototyping or short-run production.

High-conductivity metals as well as resistor and dielectric materials can be patterned on polyamide, Green Tape or ceramics, with spatial resolution better than screen-printing.

This new service is derived from Potomac's proprietary Mesoscale technology currently being funded under a DARPA contract.

Contact the company at Tel. (301) 459-3031.

High-performance enclosures
Rochester Hills, MI—A passive laser enclosure that offers high levels of safety and performance is an advantage offered by Fanuc Robotics in conjunction with its Laser Mate System. The company recently was awarded a U.S. patent covering this enclosure, which features a ceiling and floor platform. In addition, flaps, baffles and consumable devices that require monitoring or replacement due to wear and tear have been eliminated. All controls and systems safety circuits are monitored and controlled through the robot's controller.

Contact the company at Tel. (800) 47-ROBOT or visit www.fanucrobotics.com.

Finn Power sold
Schaumburg, IL—Lillbacka Corporation and the Finn-Power sheet-metal-working technology have been sold to EQT Northern Europe Ltd. Thus comes to a close the direct involvement of Jorma Lillbacka, the renowned Finnish entrepreneur. However, Lillbacka, profiled in the October 2001 issue of ILS, will remain a member of the board of Lillbacka Corporation.

According to Claes Dahlbück, chairman of the Investment Committee of EQT, "We are very excited to have acquired Finn-Power. The company's leading market position, strong global network and the well recognized brand are additional investment attractions."

New technology center
Willowbrook, IL—HG-Farley LaserLab USA, a manufacturer of laser, plasma, waterjet and flame cutting systems, has opened a North American Technical Center to better serve its current and potential customers. The new 25,000-ft2 facility consolidates all of the company's operations under one roof.

The company, which resulted from a merger two years ago of Farley and Laser Lab International, is a subsidiary of HG Farley Laser Lab Company Pty Ltd. (Melbourne, Australia).

In the facility, Farley LaserLab will offer training and technical support for its installed base of cutting equipment, including the new Vector high-speed laser cutter. Visits to the technical center will commence in June. Contact the company at Tel. (630) 455-9070 to schedule a visit. —DAB

Exitech expands
Yarnton, UK—The misfortunes of a U.S. company caught by the downturn in the telecom market became the good fortune of Exitech, the British supplier of excimer laser systems. Just months after opening a £5 million factory in the Oxford Industrial Park, JDS Uniphase, the American fiber-optics company, closed its doors.

Dr. Malcolm Gower, co-founder of Exitech, says, "We have run out of space where we are so we are moving to cope with increasing business. The facility is perfect for Exitech because much of the company's products require manufacture in cleanrooms and those were part of the JDS building. Exitech's staff of 70 is ready to move into the 46,000-sq. ft. building from its outgrown Long Hanborough facility.

Exitech is a leading manufacturer of ultraviolet excimer lasers used in systems for micromachining, marking, cleaning and wire stripping for a broad range of companies working in semiconductors, microelectronics, teleco-mmunications, aerospace and biomedicine. More than 90 percent of the company's output is exported.

To contact the company, it's probably best to use its Website, www. exitech.co.uk, until the move is completed.

Laser alignment system patent
Newburyport, MA—An innovative laser system that brings precision measuring capability to industry has been awarded U.S. patent #6,308, 428B1. The Laser Microgage, from Pinpoint Laser Systems, is used to align machine tools and production equipment, check paper mills, assist in the assembly of aircraft components and help build ships.

General manager Mory Creighton says, "We are very pleased with this first patent and the popular reception that the Microgage has seen in the marketplace. The Microgage expands the alignment capabilities that plant engineers and maintenance people have to run their plants efficiently."

To learn more, contact the company at Tel. (800) 757-5383.

Laser processing in a hot place
Princeton, NJ—Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has been experimenting with the decontamination of the graphite tile liner of a fusion reactor. Tritium, used as reactor fuel, becomes imbedded in the tiles. PPPL found that with sufficient heat this tritium could be released form the graphite and collected for disposal. The only problem is the reactor is too big to fit into a furnace.

This innovation enables remote location of the laser. In addition, the fiberoptic delivers more than 97 percent of the laser's output to the scan head as a collimated beam.

For more information on remote location scanning heads with fiberoptic beam delivery, contact U.S. Laser at Tel. (201) 848-9200 or visit www.uslasercorp.com.

Record run for excimer?
Ft. Lauderdale, FL—The reliability and lifetime of excimer lasers has improved significantly in the past few years, thanks, in great measure, to efforts from industry leader Lambda Physik Inc. The company announced what is thought to be a record performance for an industrial excimer laser—540 billion pulses equivalent to 15,000 operating hours. Through this test, a Gator laser running 24/7 since April 2000, the unit's average power remained above specification and the active diode current increased to only 40 percent of available capacity. And this laser is still running.

In this month's editorial, mention is made of a laser producing one million pulses that revolutionized the solid-state laser market 30 years ago. Repeatability and reliability are factors often cited by users as their main purchasing criteria. So Lambda's experience should be welcomed by future users of this laser for microdrilling and micromachining applications, especially those in the aerospace, automotive, medical products and semiconductor industries.

Learn more about the Gator's performance by calling (954) 717-2167 or visiting www.lambdaphysik.com

Bystronic expands again
Hauppauge, NY—As another sign that the U.S. industrial laser market may have turned the corner, Bystronic Inc., a leading supplier of state-of-the-art laser cutting systems, has opened a Los Angeles regional technical center. The facility features Bystronic laser machinery for product demonstrations, applications assistance and training programs.

Located a few minutes from the Ontario, CA, airport, the LA Technical Center is a joint venture between Bystronic and its authorized representative, Precision Fabricating Services Inc.

Both companies expect the center will play an important role in further developing the western region. Industry observers read this as further evidence that Bystronic intends to be properly positioned to better serve an expanding market for laser metal cutters.

Check out the company at www. bystronic.com.

Welding resins with diodes
Tokyo, Japan—A new method to reliably join resin automotive components, using diode lasers, has been developed by Toyota Motor Corp. Expected to be implemented in production later this year, the process reduces the use of fasteners, reduces vehicle weight and improves recyclability.

In the process two types of resin material—one colored with a dye that passes diode laser light and the other with carbon black, which absorbs that light—are joined as the absorbed energy converts to heat and melts the resin, eventually transferring it to the other surface forming a strong bond when cooled.

Laser welding of resins has been shown to be equal to or superior in bonding strength compared to other bonding techniques. So Toyota plans to use the process to make resin manifolds, eliminating 13 of the 14 bolts, nuts and gaskets used in a conventional assembly.

Successful experiments with a U.S. Laser (Wycoff, NJ) 325W CW Nd: YAG laser, fitted with a galvanometer scanning head and fiber-optic beam delivery system, proved to be a practical answer. The beam is delivered to the scan head via the fiberoptic. The scan head is fitted to a robot that enters the reactor and completes the decontamination process. Compact remote galvo scanning head.

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