Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Searching for the perfect laser beam

13.05.2015

Current research in the area of laser beam cutting is focused on increasing expertise in forming fiber-guided laser beams for sheet metal cutting and transferring that knowledge to damage-free glass cutting in the display industry as well as water-jet-guided precision cutting of small parts.

As part of the EU’s HALO project (“High power Adaptable Laser beams for materials processing”), scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT are working on distributing the laser beam’s intensity in a way that meets the highest quality requirements while conserving resources. The project results will be presented at the LASER World of Photonics 2015 in Munich.


Simulated filaments and ablation under variation of the focus position (picture detail: enlarged removal profile).

Source: Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen


Analyzing the cutting process using high-speed videography.

Source: Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen

Today’s lasers for cutting applications are the best-selling industrial laser beam sources worldwide. Current analyses estimate that these lasers have roughly 50 percent of the market, with the most dominant application being the precise, flexible and highly productive 2D cutting used to produce nearly any contour in sheet metal blanks. At the same time, completely new cutting methods – for instance, perforations or the precise shaping of glass displays for mobile devices – are on the verge of entering industrial production.

When it comes to cutting sheet metal, the laser is a well-established tool. Laser performance of up to 8 kW is the industrial technology standard and even permits the cutting of metal sheets up to 50 mm thick. In recent years, in addition to 2D applications, 3D machining of shaped components has been increasing across the board, in part because of the extensive use of the difficult-to-machine, high-strength, press-hardened steel, particularly in the field of car body engineering.

The laser tool has demonstrated its suitability for cutting other materials – such as semiconductors, glass, plastics and composite materials – and has already been introduced in the first applications. Tool wear, which can lead to decreased quality when using conventional cutting methods, does not occur with laser cutting. However, the cut edges of laser-machined components are still rougher than those of milled metal components, for example. This is partly because the laser beam often does not have the right form needed to achieve the best result for the application in question.

Optimization potential for laser cutting

A typical laser beam possesses a very high intensity at its center, which falls away in a bell shape to the sides. But a laser beam with such a Gaussian intensity distribution is not necessarily the ideal tool for every application. For example, while this beam distribution is suitable for quickly cutting a sheet 1 mm thick at a relatively high quality, a sheet with a thickness of 1 cm requires a broader beam with greater intensity distribution at the edges. The latest research activities are focused on defining the right laser beam for cutting material of various types and thicknesses and tapping the resulting potential.

Better cutting quality, higher machining rate and profitability

This is where the EU’s HALO project (“High power Adaptable Laser beams for materials processing”) comes in. Since September 2012, an international consortium consisting of nine research institutes and industrial companies – including TRUMPF and Synova – has been working to develop application-specific beam formations. Under the leadership of Gooch & Hausego Ltd, the project participants are customizing the laser beam’s intensity distribution for each individual use case. Ultimately, the laser systems are to be equipped so that users can perform practical tests. Experts from the Fraunhofer ILT see enormous potential in this regarding cost cutting and processing speed, even as product quality improves.

Adaptive beam shapes

Fraunhofer ILT’s Macro Joining and Cutting group and the Modeling and Simulation group have been studying laser cutting for more than 25 years. In their work, the researchers apply sophisticated diagnostic methods (high-speed videography of the cutting process, streak image technology for melt flow analysis, and schlieren technique for visualizing the flow of cutting gas) and evaluation methods (meta-modelling, QuCut simulation of ripples). The scientists continuously deepen their understanding of this topic and apply appropriate laser methods for the widest range of cutting tasks. Now, as part of the HALO project, selected applications will be used to examine how the laser beam should be constructed to achieve optimal cutting results. Observing the cutting dynamics and the formation of ripples and adherent dross is also relevant.

Using simulation to achieve the perfect laser beam

Fraunhofer ILT’s Modeling and Simulation group is contributing significantly to these efforts by applying findings from computer simulations to help optimize laser processes. The group first simulates the cutting processes on the computer, before calculating the intensity distribution of the ideal laser beam for the individual application. It then designs the optical components based on this information.

The results of the HALO project will presented to the public for the first time as part of the “European Research on Laser Based Technologies” Forum at the LASER World of Photonics 2015:

Prof. Wolfgang Schulz, Nonlinear Dynamics of Laser Processing NLD, RWTH Aachen University
“HALO – Real Time Adjustment of Laserbeam Properties for Optimum Process Results”
Hall A2, Stand 250
June 25, 2015, from 13:00 to 13:20 hours

In addition, Fraunhofer ILT experts will be showing laser beam cutting processes for different materials in the macro and micro area as well as simulations of these processes at the at the LASER World of Photonics (Munich, June 22 – 25, 2015), Fraunhofer Joint Stand – Hall A3, Stand 121.


Contact

Prof. Wolfgang Schulz
Nonlinear Dynamics of Laser Processing NLD, RWTH Aachen University
Telephone +49 241 8906-204
wolfgang.schulz@ilt.fraunhofer.de

Dr. Dirk Petring
Head of the Macro Joining and Cutting Group
Telephone +49 241 8906-210
dirk.petring@ilt.fraunhofer.de

Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT
Steinbachstraße 15
52074 Aachen, Germany

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.ilt.fraunhofer.de
http://www.world-of-photonics.com/supporting-program.html

Petra Nolis | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

More articles from Process Engineering:

nachricht New technology for ultra-smooth polymer films
28.06.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Organische Elektronik, Elektronenstrahl- und Plasmatechnik FEP

nachricht Diamond watch components
18.06.2018 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

The secret sulfate code that lets the bad Tau in

16.07.2018 | Life Sciences

Theorists publish highest-precision prediction of muon magnetic anomaly

16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>