White Paper: Test & Measurement
High-Power Industrial Lasers: New Solutions to Old Problems
High-power laser systems are making their way into more and more industrial applications. From cutting steel, to drilling via holes in silicon, to marking plastic, a whole range of processes now make use of the laser to produce results not previously practical. Advances in fiber lasers in particular, with their scalability, beam quality, and wall-plug efficiency, have made laser beams with powers of many tens of KW a common tool available to commercial users. Even processes requiring more modest power levels often use a high-power laser system and distribute the beam to multiple lower-power workstations to benefit from the resulting process uniformity across a production line.
However, ever-growing demands for efficient productivity require the laser process be stable and predictable. Just like any tool used in precision manufacturing, the industrial laser needs to be monitored so that peak performance can be maintained. Even merely detecting a drop in some predefined laser parameter and having that trigger a call for preventative maintenance can save a lot of money — especially when compared to the cost of downtime and scrapped parts. Proper monitoring of correctly defined laser parameters can also enable process control, so that a drifting parameter can be automatically corrected, and the process kept within its specified envelope — ideally, without interruption.
“Proper monitoring” and “correctly defined laser parameters” are key concepts. In this white paper, we will examine both in detail and look at how they impact process output.
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