Our lab gets a lot of calls asking us how to use resistance welding equipment safely, so I thought I would put down a few words on the most common issues affecting safety.
- What is the difference between a Class 1 and a Class 4 laser, and what are the safety requirements for each?
- Which laser safety glasses should I use?
These are legitimate concerns, because even small amounts of laser light can result in permanent eye injuries, and higher power lasers can burn the skin as well. And don't be fooled into thinking that you're safe just because you can't see the laser light - infrared lasers are particularly hazardous, since the eye's "blink reflex" is triggered only by visible light!
Just a few posts ago, I shared some information on online and mobile apps that help take the guesswork out of material weldability. Since that post, I’ve gotten some feedback that leads me to believe a lot of people would like a bit more on the basic questions of “what electrodes should I use for spot welding?” and “can I spot weld (material A) to (material B)?”
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
Laser marking is rapidly replacing older product marking technology, especially for direct marking applications which aid in tracking and traceability. From medical devices to automotive and aerospace parts, part information is showing up everywhere, either in the form of human readable alphanumerics and barcodes or Data-Matrix™ codes. Laser marking is a fast, clean marking technology, which also has benefits like flexible automation, improved environmental profile, and low cost of ownership. There are a few different technologies out there - and the “best” one for your application depends on the kind of mark you’re trying to make, and the material you’re using.
In this era of information overload, we want to take a minute to put in a plug for EWI, a member-based 501(c) 3 organization that supports U.S. manufacturing companies with information and support on material joining of every type, including arc, laser, solid state, resistance, brazing, and micro-joining. As a Corporate member, Miyachi Unitek finds it refreshing to have such a neutral, unbiased organization behind us, and we want to encourage others to join too.
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
Electronic package sealing is a tricky process. It may seem straightforward: place components in a metal package and seal, generally using projection spot welding (aka cap welding). It is very important, however, to prevent moisture and oxygen ingress to the package during sealing, which, over time, will damage the sensitive electronic components housed within. This zero-moisture requirement is most commonly achieved by heating the package in an oven and then moving it into a glove box backfilled with nitrogen, removing both moisture and oxygen. With increasing frequency, however, manufacturers are starting to use xenon to backfill the packages. Why? Xenon is a large molecule with good thermal properties, and, because the outer valence shell contains eight electrons, producing a stable, minimum energy configuration in which the outer electrons are tightly bound, it is inert to most common chemical reactions, including combustion.
You read that correctly – laser micromachining of metals can be faster and cheaper with fiber laser markers. Their superior beam quality can achieve results similar to traditional machining technologies at less than half the cost! Plus – laser markers can…mark things! Who wouldn’t want one piece of equipment to do several things? And do them so well?