Ultra-fast laser micromachining has been getting a lot of press lately; does it live up to its billing? In my view, ultra-fast micromachining has terrific potential, but I’d like to temper the enthusiasm with a little dose of reality. Amada Miyachi America has a new micromachining applications laboratory set up with a variety of different ultra-fast laser micromachining sources and motion platforms, so I am in a perfect position to show some examples of what ultra-fast laser micromachining can do from a laser independent systems integrator perspective
What do you get when you pair a non-contact, high intensity heat source with a compact, relatively inexpensive high speed motion system? A perfect match! The "ham n' eggs" of laser industry: a micro laser welding system that can push productivity to the max with three key features:
Microsecond fiber and pulsed Nd:YAG lasers have been used successfully for hypo tube and stent cutting for many years. The only downside is that cut parts often require a number of post processing operations, depending on material and part requirements. These additional manufacturing steps can add significant cost; they also add to the handling logistics burden for what, in many cases, are mechanically delicate parts, not to mention the added problem of having to deal with chemical-based processes and the disposal of hazardous waste.
"Ugh - my battery just died!" "Can I use your charger?" "Mind if I recharge my phone?" Batteries are everywhere, and we've become increasingly dependent on them in many aspects of our daily lives: portable electronic devices, cordless power tools, energy storage, and hybrid and EV cars. Thus, the demand to manufacture batteries that meet or exceed quality and production requirements for these products, is great.
Resistance spot welding, micro TIG welding, and laser welding processes all enable high quality volume production. The selection of one technology over another is usually made based on the application's specific requirements and the alignment of the technology to these needs.
Once the commercial justification for bringing laser technology in house is complete, new to laser manufacturers may still have some technical concerns. We’ve recently worked on several very successful collaborations with first-time to laser manufacturers to turn their mountains into mole hills. Now each system is on the floor in production and everyone is wondering what all the fuss was about.
2D Data Matrix TM codes are made up of two parts: the finder pattern that tells the reader the code orientation and array size, and the actual encoded data. If you’re getting no read or a marginal read, you may have an issue with one these read factors. It’s also worth noting that the quality (and price) of the reader can have a significant effect – particularly on small codes, and codes marked on shiny surfaces.
Lately, we’ve been doing a lot of talking about laser cutting. Fine laser cutting, that is. But what, exactly, is ‘fine’ laser cutting? Fine laser cutting applies to the cutting of metals, such as 300 and 400 series stainless steel, aluminum, nickel, titanium, nitinol and copper less than 0.04” (1.0mm) thick. In fact, they can be very thin - 0.0005”-0.002” (10-50 microns) - as the laser imparts no physical force on the part during the process. In addition to the thickness of the part, fine cutting is also defined by cut feature tolerances which can be down to ± 0.0005”.
Got that? OK! Let’s consider a few examples that highlight fine cutting –
Topics: laser cutting
Seam sealing electronic packages is typically the last critical step in the package manufacturing process. Since the completed product performs a vital function and has a high dollar value, creating a barrier to contamination ingress is essential. Whether it’s optoelectronic packages for fiber optic cables transmitting signals in the middle of the ocean, or aerospace RF/microwave packages performing essential functions, the importance of preventing external environmental conditions from penetrating the package just can’t be over-estimated.
Aluminum alloys, are lightweight, possess good thermal and electrical conductivity, and are relatively inexpensive to work with. Therefore, it’s no surprise that they are being used with increased frequency in product manufacturing applications ranging from batteries and electronics packaging, to automotive components and consumer goods packaging. Laser welding aluminum, however, is more difficult than welding steels for three key reasons: high reflectivity, surface oxide layer, and volatile alloying elements.
Laser micro welding of conductive materials like copper has always been somewhat of a difficult proposition due to copper’s high reflectivity at the 1064nm wavelength. 532nm “green” laser welders however, remove this barrier, offering a truly viable method for laser micro welding copper (and other conductive materials) in high volume.