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.
We’ve spent a lot of time this past year talking about our medical tube cutting capabilities, and, as you might guess, we’ve been getting a lot of calls on the subject. Let me start by saying that successful thin wall metal tube cutting is all about the results: excellent precision, superior edge quality, and tight dimensional tolerances - and so it makes sense that our customers and prospects are concerned about getting the “perfect” laser for the job. Achieving these precision cuts, however, isn’t all about the laser – it’s more about its successful integration into a complete system.
What exactly does this integration entail? Well, to start, in addition to the “perfect laser,” each application requires a workstation, focusing optics, assist gas, a motion package with programmable motion, full-featured control software with post processor capability and a user friendly and intuitive interface. Integrators need to develop an entire system in which all of these elements work together to achieve the necessary cut quality, production throughput and minimal downtime.
Solid state laser marking technology has been around since the 1980’s, when lamp pumped, Q-switched Nd:YAG lasers were THE standard laser engines. These lasers were – and still are - well suited to laser marking, producing tens of kilowatts of peak power with sub 75ns pulse durations which made it possible to mark and engrave on both plastics and metals. Over the past 30 years, however, the evolution of solid state markers has seen a number of milestones including; Nd:YVO4 “vanadate” lasers, diode pumping, the utilization of 532nm and 355nm wavelength sources, and, finally, fiber laser technology.
I find that manufacturing engineers tend to devote a lot of energy to thinking about the laser, motion, tooling and process, while overlooking both the laser beam focus and delivery to the workpiece. So, I thought I’d take some time to to review some best working practices for the implementation, standardization and maintenance of optical delivery components, which I firmly believe are key to the manufacturing equation. In a later post, I plan to give you my thoughts on applying this to maintaining high production yields and troubleshooting methods.
Topics: laser welding
Lasers– notably fiber lasers – are particularly well-suited to medical industry laser tube cutting applications. From surgical instruments used in cutting and biopsy, to needles with unusual tips and side wall openings, or puzzle chain linkages for flexible endoscopes, laser tube cutting provides higher precision, quality, and speed than other cutting methods.
Topics: laser cutting
How do you quickly find laser beam focus? The first step is to establish the z distance for the position of focus, and the fastest way to do that is to make a series of spot welds in the z axis, through the focus, using thin shim stock, and then visually observing the level of penetration on the underside. Usually, 0.01-inch thick shim stock will do the trick.
Topics: laser welding
When cutting single-sided features on a tube, a portion of the laser power may pass through the cut, impinging on the opposing wall’s interior surface. Depending on the tube’s internal diameter, this may affect the material, resulting in either a slight color change or material removal that can often be corrected with electro polishing or another, similar post-process.
Fiber lasers come in two flavors: single mode and multi mode. What are the differences and which should you choose for your fiber laser micro welding application?
Wire and sinker EDM are two of the oldest, most widely used traditional precision cutting technologies, but more and more manufacturers and jobshops are replacing or complementing their wire EDM capabilities with laser cutting systems which generally feature a smaller footprint, faster processing times, and lower cost-per-part ratio. Here are 3 reasons for YOU to consider laser cutting: