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RPMC Lasers Inc. (O’Fallon, MO; www.rpmclasers.com) has recently developed the 500kHz RAPID, an ultrafast cold ablation micromachining tool.

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compiled by Laureen Belleville, laureenb@pennwell.com and Jaclyn Kinsman, jaclynk@pennwell.com

Micromachining tool

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RPMC Lasers Inc. (O’Fallon, MO; www.rpmclasers.com) has recently developed the 500kHz RAPID, an ultrafast cold ablation micromachining tool. The product comes as a 2 or 8W 1µm laser and is available at 532, 355, and 266 nm as well. This laser ablates material without burrs, microcracks, heat affected zone, or significant recast. The RAPID laser has pulses that are 15 picoseconds long, allowing the user to remove as little as 10 nm per pulse.

According to the company, using picosecond lasers in micromachining produces the same high quality as femtosecond lasers on metals. It is effective on ceramics, silicon, diamonds, sapphire, metals, and virtually any other materials. The 500kHz RAPID operates with high repetition rates versus only 1-7 kHz from amplified femtosecond systems. Thus, the RAPID increases throughput while reducing the cost per part.

Cutting machine

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Amada America Inc. (Buena Park, CA; www.amada.com) recently introduced the EML K3510NT, a laser cutting and punching machine. Capable of handling full-size 4ft x 8ft or 5ft x 10ft sheets without repositioning, the punch-laser combines the power of Amada’s innovative 33-ton Electric Motor turret punch press with the unlimited shape-cutting capabilities of a laser. The laser’s X-axis and Y-axis allow for fast positioning rates, and in addition the EML K3510NT integrates its laser resonator, electrical cabinet, and machine into a single unit, producing a compact machine with a footprint of only 232 inches x 24 inches.

Fiber workstations

The 7500 Series FiberStar laser welding workstations from Crafford-LaserStar (Riverside, RI; www.laserstar.net) have been designed for welding and cutting applications. Equipped with air-cooled, CW modulated fiber lasers, these workstations are also portable and are available with 20-, 50-, 70-, and 100-watt laser engines. This product has been designed to provide high levels of accuracy and consistency in the micro-welding and micro-cutting industry.

Linear stepper stages

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A new series of closed-loop linear stepper stages is now available from H2W Technologies (Valencia, CA; www.h2wtech.com). These steppers include an integral linear encoder that features high resolution to 0.00004 in., repeatability to 0.0004 in/ft, and accuracy to 0.001 in/ft. This new series of linear stepper stages is available in travel lengths to 144 inches and forces of 6 lbs, 10 lbs, and 20 lbs. Capable of speeds to 118 in/s and acceleration up to 5 Gs, the linear stepper stages are ideal for assembly, sampling, and inspection operations.

Marking system

Electrox (Indianapolis, IN; www.electrox.com) has recently launched the Raptor laser marking system. The Raptor is a compact laser marking system with a very small laser head, incorporating an optical unit, fully sealed to IP67, ensuring low maintenance. This system is air cooled and takes power directly from a single phase socket outlet. Its 5U, 19-inch rack electronics enclosure is the same size as a tower PC, and is equally at home in high- or low-volume applications.

Cleaning system

New from Quantel (Les Ulis Cedex, France; www.quantel.fr), the Laserblast 1000 cleaning system is a laser system integrated in a console, and includes a laser source, system for coupling to the optical fibers, a power supply, a cooling group, and a beam transmission system by optical fibers. The cabinet complies with IP55 standard water jets and can either be stationary or equipped with casters. The laser can be completely controlled through a serial RS-232 port, and also includes a main emergency stop. In addition to the Laserblast 1000, the Laserblast 60, 500, and 2000 are also available with different cleaning capabilities.

Laser drill

The LASERTEC 80 PowerDrill is designed for the laser precision boring of turbine blades and other components in the gas turbine sector. From DMG (Schaumburg, IL; www.gildemeister.com), this machine provides easy access to the work area, and includes a CCD-camera for fast positioning. In addition, the LASERTEC 80 PowerDrill has touch probe positioning and piercing control, with up to 50kW and 67.1hp. laser power during milling.

Laser robots

New from KUKA Robotics Corporation (Clinton Township, MI; www.kukarobotics.com), robots have recently been introduced that are intended for laser welding, laser cutting, and measuring applications. Despite size and reach capabilities, each robot offers path repeatability of 0.1 mm. The robots’ speed and accuracy will allow manufacturers to increase cost-effectiveness of a welding cell by reducing scrap in applications such as laser cutting. The robots have a payload capacity of up to 100 kg and reaches up to 3000 mm.

Cutting/welding machine

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The TruPulse series by TRUMPF (Farmington, CT; www.us.trumpf.com) is used in the automotive industry for cutting and welding. This laser series features several technical innovations. The burst function allows the average power to be briefly exceeded and increases the pulse frequency. In addition, quasi-continuous seam welds are possible with longer pulses of up to 50 ms. A removable touch-screen control panel with turn-push knobs is a new feature to simplify setting output parameters. With selectable pulsewidth between 0.2 and 50 ms, and pulse energies from 0.2 to 90 joules, the user has maximum flexibility for a range of applications:micro-welding to joining of aluminum, stainless, platinum, or nitinol.

PCB marker

ASYS Inc. (Suwanee, GA; www.asys-group.com) developed the Automatic Laser Marking System. This system is used to mark PCBs with a 10W CO2 laser directly onto the solder mask. The laser and the galvo head are mounted on a servo-driven X/Y gantry on top of an edge belt conveyor. Depending on the product a variety of Nd:YAG lasers is optionally available.

Laser-robot combo

Jenoptik (Jena, Germany; www.automation-jenoptik.de) developed a new laser cutting system, Jenoptik-Votan C BIM. It has the advantages of a stationary laser with the integration of the laser beam guiding system in the flexible articulated robot and a containing solution of the cabin. This new machine is a combination of a laser and a laser robot with a small footprint. The model permits an adaptation of the laser system to changing product requirements, and has extremely short cycle times.

Cutting/scanning system robot

Recently developed from Robotic Production Technology (Auburn Hills, MI; www.roboticsonline.com), is the FLACS RT C-Series Flexible Laser Cutting System with second generation RoboCut A600 laser robot. This fully integrated system incorporates all support structure, guarding, and part positioning equipment, as well as robot, laser, and ventilation support equipment, into a pre-engineered package. The RoboCut A600 laser robot has path accessibility due to the rotating fourth and fifth axes. The speeds of axes 4 and 5 were increased from 360 to 720 degrees/second and 400 to 900 degrees/second.

Fluorescence modeling

Lambda Research Corporation (Littleton, MA; www.lambdares.com), a supplier of optical design software, announced the fluorescence modeling capability in its TracePro Expert product. TracePro is a software tool for modeling and analyzing the propagation of light in opto-mechanical systems. With the capability to simulate fluorescence, it can be used in applications that include biosensing, in-vitro and in-vivo medical diagnostics, spectroscopy, microarrays, flow cytometry, and microscopy. The fluorescence filters facilitate the feasibility testing of off-the-shelf components.

Focusing unit

The varioSCAN FC is a focusing unit that quickly positions the laser focus along the optical axis. This new product developed by SCANLAB AG (Munich, Germany; www.scanlab.de) ensures virtually constant focus diameter throughout the entire working volume, and the collimator’s lens system is positioned quickly and precisely by the company’s new linAXIS linear drive. The linAXIS combines an extended range of motion with extremely high acceleration values, even when positioning heavy loads.

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