Compiled by Laureen Belleville, email@example.com
For CO2 laser plate cutting, the LH1575 FASTLaser cutting head from Hypertherm Inc. (Hanover, NH; www.hypertherm.com) reportedly is designed to make any laser cutting system more capable, offering expanded cut capacity and cut quality with a minimum 10-20 percent increase in cut speeds on thick mild steel. The company says the LH-series heads are designed for high-volume fabricators seeking greater unattended operations as well as for smaller job shops wishing to expand the performance of their laser.
The “no tools” quick lens change and quick focal length change (between 5.0 and 7.5 inches) are versatile performance features of the LH1575. The lens is gas cooled; laser head and nozzle are water cooled. LH-series heads are available with optional pre-centered optics and top-mount spring collision protection.
Laser marking system
A new Nd:Vanadate system, the Cobra V-12/20 complements the Nd:YAG and CO2 powered laser marking machines already offered by Electrox (Indianapolis, IN; www.electrox.com). The system is suitable for a range of applications and, in particular, it marks coated materials without damaging sensitive substrates. It is available as either a 12- or 20W laser and has a diode warranty of a true 10,000h. The software is compatible with all current versions of Windows and can import a range of graphic file formats and generate barcodes, two-dimensional codes, and date codes as well as perform automatic serialization, conduct merges with data from external sources, and control up to four axes of motion.
Covering a wide range of power levels, including a 75W laser, the new CO2 lasers from Universal Laser Systems (Scottsdale, AZ; www.co2laser.com) have air cooling or water cooling options. Class IV versions are available for research facilities and universities. The lasers have built-in RF power supplies and are manufactured with patented free space gas slab laser technology.
Thin metal cutting
Lee Laser (Orlando, FL; www.leelaser.com) announces the Model LDPP-50M, a pulsed-diode-pumped Nd:YAG laser that exhibits a pulse decay time that is less than 10 s. The laser is rated at a maximum average power of 50 W. Maximum pulse rate is 1.5 kHz with a pulsewidth range of 30-100 µs. This model will use special, long-life diodes that are expected to yield diode lifetimes in excess of 10,000 h.
DiaExpert XL from Sarin Technologies Ltd. (Ramat-Gan, Israel; www.sarin.com) provides a complete solution for measuring, planning, and marking very large diamonds. The system uses laser scanning technology to map grooves, holes, and any other concave areas on the rough stone surface. An optional XL laser marking module (laser power of 500 mW) accurately marks the stone according to a selected recommendation provided by Advisor software, eliminating discrepancies between the planning stage and the diamond production process.
A program of beam expanders from Laser Components IG Inc. (Hudson, NH; www.lasercomponents.com) has been augmented for 532 nm. Expanders with the factors x2, x3, x4, x5, x6, and x10 are possible. In each case, the maximum input aperture is 6 mm and the maximum output aperture is 23 mm in diameter. All beam expanders for 532 nm are supplied with an antireflection coating and thereby ensure a total transmission of >97 percent. Zoom lenses with variable magnification of 2-8x are available for Nd:YAG (1064 nm) and CO2 (10.6 µm).
The Odin II Series integrated multipass-based Ti:sapphire amplifier system from Quantronix (East Setauket, NY; www.quantronixlasers.com) offers a choice of energy levels at 2.5 mJ and 1 mJ, with pulses as short as 30 fs. According to the company, the multipass amplifier design minimizes material dispersion with shorter beam paths, contains a unique single-pass Pockels cell and patented spatial filtering to deliver <30fs, 1mJ pulses with pre- and post-pulse contrast >100:1 and beam quality of M2<1.4. For high energy, the Odin II HE utilizes the company’s second-stage power amplifier, delivering >2.5mJ, <35fs pulses and M2<1.5.
A new nozzle changer from TRUMPF (Farmington, CT; www.us.trumpf.com) facilitates automated laser cutting operations. The automatic nozzle changer eliminates the need for operator intervention during job setup, enhanced process safety, and provides additional flexibility in unmanned multi-shift operations. The nozzle changer is available on the TC L 3050, TC L 4050, and TC L 6050 machines.
A new optical component, the Adaptive Bending Mirror PL-A90/70, from Kugler GmbH (Salem, Germany; www.kugler-precision.com), is positioned in a beam delivery system of a cutting or welding laser as a 90° bending mirror and replaces a simple flat mirror. Via a control voltage (0-10 V), a small regulator located near the adaptive mirror applies gas pressure (dry air, up to 6 bar) to the adaptive mirror, inducing a controlled toroidal deformation of the mirror surface. The effective focal length changes from infinity to either negative or positive values of a few meters, resulting in a slightly diverging or converging laser beam. According to the company, this is used to compensate beam waist effects due to the stroke of a laser tool and for controlling the focus height at the workpiece.
New from Aerotech Inc. (Pittsburgh, PA; www.aerotech.com) the ACS LP series ultra-low profile rotary stage with integrated ER collet chuck provides automated material handling capability for a range of materials and applications. Reportedly, ER collets provide excellent run-out characteristics for applications requiring high-precision gripping of tubular material and are available in sizes that support tube diameters from 0.5 mm to 16 mm. Air is delivered to the collet or gripper assembly through an integral rotary union using a seal-less, frictionless design.
Fiber-coupled diode lasers
Alfalight Inc. (Madison, WI; www.alfalight.com) has increased the output power of its cooled and uncooled 976nm fiber-coupled diode laser products. The AM4-976-10-203 is a thermoelectrically cooled 14-pin package and provides two watts of output with 25-year MTBF proven to Telcordia standards. The AM-976-10-403 is an uncooled 6-pin package and provides four watts of output with a less than 1000-FIT rate. Both devices are fully hermetic, operate over a wide operating temperature range, and represent a significant increase in output power from the previous generation (1.5 and 3 watts, respectively).
Diode lasers to 3000 W
For fiber-coupled diode lasers from Laserline GmbH (Mulheim-Karlich, Germany; www.laserline.de) up to 3000 W can be achieved from the 600µm fiber, thus increasing output power by more than a factor of two compared to the previous model. According to the company, because of the high compactness and mobility of the system, there are also important advantages for the machine concept in multi-station operation, for example, for welding and brazing in the automotive industry.
The JK450HP and JK600HP from GSI Lumonics Inc. (Farmington Hills, MI; www.gsilumonics.com) utilize a twin-rod oscillator design to increase efficiency and beam quality. They offer rep rates up to 1000 Hz and minimum pulse lengths of 0.2 ms for fast, precise cutting, welding, and drilling applications. Standard features include LaserView control technology, Luminator plug-and-play fiberoptic beam delivery with built-in back reflection protection; pulse shaping; a fast shutter interface protocol; and fully integrated time and energy shares.
High-power diode lasers
Spectra-Physics (Tucson, AZ; www.spectra-physics.com) has added three ProLite diode laser products: two 50W diode laser bars at 808 and 940 nm and a 25W, 880nm bar. According to the company, the 50W bars are ideal for direct diode material processing applications such as industrial soldering, cutting, and welding. They are also appropriate for pumping the higher-power solid-state laser systems used in metal-marking, semiconductor, and research applications. The 880nm bars serve as pumps for solid-state lasers in specialized applications.
Hybrid processing machine
The HV series is the sixth generation of the Hybrid series from Mitsubishi Laser (Wood Dale, IL; www.mitsubishi-world.com). Its open table provides excellent operability and easy maintenance. Reportedly, the machine’s simple beam path is highly stable and its 11.8-inch Z-axis stroke offers an expanded application range. Productivity features include MC Diamond Soft CAD/CAM software. Improved features of the HV series include faster processing speeds, increased machine tool rigidity, and servo-control system.
Compact rotation stages
The URS Series stages from Newport Corp. (Irvine, CA; www.newport.com) feature top-down mounting and a stiff, compact design and aperture. They are available in both closed-loop DC servomotor (URS-CC) and open-loop stepper motor (URS-PP) versions. The DC version is optimal for applications requiring accurate bi-directional positioning. It features 0.0005 degree resolution, 0.002 degree uni-directional repeatability, and an index pulse for precision homing. The URS-PP is a more economic version intended for less demanding applications.
Diode laser systems
The diode laser systems iPulse and iBeam from Toptica Photonics AG (Munich, Germany; www.toptica.com) are available with small beam diameter of 1 mm (1/e2). To replace gas laser systems easily and thus avoid the drawbacks (higher power consumption, larger space, greater heat dissipation), a diode laser must match exactly in wavelength, power, and beam diameter. The following wavelengths are available: 375, 405, 440, 473, 640, 660, and 675 nm. The iPulse offers digital modulation up to 200 MHz plus analog modulation in the kHz range.
A full line of CO2 laser mirrors for low- and high-power industrial lasers that are made from molybdenum and have no coatings that can degrade are available from Laser Research Optics (Providence, RI; www.melleroptics.com). Molybdenum mirrors do not require coatings to achieve >98.1 percent average reflectance at 10.6 µm at 45° AOi, with <1.9 percent absorption and scatter. they are offered in ¼-in to 1-in diameter sizes for low-power lasers and 1-in to 3-in diameter sizes for high-power lasers, with thicknesses from 2 mm to 10 mm. Typical applications include lasers for engraving, marking, welding, cutting, and hole drilling.
Turning mirror mount
New from JP Sercel Associates (JPSA; Hollis, NH; www.jpsalaser.com) is a large-format turning mirror mount for UV laser processing. The new mount is an industrial-grade vacuum UV (VUV) product designed to turn a UV excimer laser beam at a 90-degree angle and direct it through a beam delivery system. It can be used with short-wavelength UV excimer beams, including 157nm, 193nm, and 248nm. The turning mirror is gimbal mounted, such that it pivots exactly at its front surface.
Solid cutting software
Version 5.3.5 of Camtek’s (Malvern, Worcestershire, UK; www.peps.com) PEPS SolidCut CAD/CAM software delivers detail enhancements throughout the suite of applications modules, the most significant of which are the developments to the SolidCut 3D machining modules. New features include improved options for lead-in and toolpath link-move definitions, including features for improved high-speed machining support, a 3D-offsest machining strategy, better Rest machining capability, ‘toolpath smoothing’ options for high-speed machining and improvements to roughing routines with automated flat-area passes, automatic optimum angle calculation and functions to reduce variations in tool loading.
Data matrix decoder
The PIATI_STI from The Value Engineering Alliance (Cambridge, MA; www.The-V-E-A.com) was developed specifically to read ECC200 data matrix codes laser marked on medical/dental tools and instruments in accordance with HIBCC specifications. The unit is housed in a 130mm x 84mm x 132mm, IP54 protection class, anodized aluminum enclosure that meets specified hygiene standards. It uses customized built-in LED illumination to generate the high-quality image data that its embedded digital signal processor analyzes to produce accurate and repeatable decoding results. According the company, the product is most commonly used to facilitate the identification and tracking of surgical tools and instruments.
Flexible cutting system
The PlateLaser Flex from W.A. Whitney (Rockford, IL; www.wawhitney.com) provides fabricators with 7 kW of laser cutting power plus choice and flexibility in cutting bed length. Reportedly, clean, fast cuts are accomplished in stainless steel up to 1 1/4-inch and aluminum by using high-power and nitrogen for the process. Parts can be powder painted without the adherence problems associated with oxygen cutting. 7000 watts of power also reduces piercing time in all thick materials. All machines in the new series incorporate a 10-foot bridge and can be purchased in lengths of 8, 10, 12, 16, and 20 feet. Optical repositioning is available on 20-foot machines to process sheets up to 40 feet in length. Other features include RapidPierce, which offers the ability to pierce with very low heat input; a patented optics system that maintains a constant beam size throughout the entire working area of the machine; and Material Parameter Library, which includes all information required to cut a particular material plus unlimited potential for storing additional parameters.
Fixed focal length lenses
Edmund Optics’ (Barrington, NJ; www.edmundoptics.com) new F-Mount fixed focal length lenses are available in common 35mm and 50mm focal lengths. Their wide angular fields of view and generous working distance ranges offer an economical and easy-to-integrate solution for macro process automation applications. Specifically designed for factory automation, a locking screw prevents system defocusing, even in areas subject to shock and vibration. A click stop iris allows for reliable and repeatable illumination conditions, critical to common vision system image processing algorithms, while a low F/2.8 aperture setting increases overall system sensitivity.
A laser safety lamella curtain from Laservision GmbH (Furth, Germany; www.lvg.com) is tested and approved according to DIN/EN 12254. The material does not transmit any light and is suitable for all common laser wavelengths, from UV lasers starting at 180 nm to CO2 lasers at 10600 nm. The curtain consists of a special silicon structure with highly absorptive and fire-resistant material. The curtain is characterized by good resistance against aging, caustic solutions, and acids. Curtain assembly requires a specific lamella holder to attach it to a steel pipe or curtain hooks. Also recently introduced is a laser safety curtain that comes with a mobile frame. It can be equipped with one or two wings.
The company also now offers the Split-Shield laser protection spectacles, which combine multiple innovative (patent pending) techniques in one product. The Split-Shield provides good lightweight wearing comfort and is equipped with Duoflex temples, adjustable in inclination and length, to offer fast and easy adjustment to any face. The product also can be worn over prescription glasses (goggle-style design) and is fitted with filters in Nanospec technology, reportedly providing the highest protection ratings by dielectric coatings. The filters are said to be more resistant against scratches because of the special design and use of new coating materials.