Another example of a demonstrated benefit of MultiWave Hybrid Technology is laser cutting carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP). Figure 7 shows a sheet of CFRP cut using three different laser technologies. The top circle shows an attempt to cut the material with a 10.6μm laser. In this case, polymer was ablated from the surface of the CFRP, but there is no penetration through the carbon fibers. The middle circle was cut using a 1.06μm laser. This laser cuts completely through the CFRP. However, the cutting speed is low and there is substantial melting of the polymer near the cut edge. The reason for the melting is that the 1.06μm laser only cuts through the carbon fiber. The residual heat from the carbon fiber cutting, then melts the polymer. The cut at the bottom was created using MultiWave Hybrid Technology. Here the two laser wavelengths are combined to create a superior cut quality. The 10.6μm laser ablates the polymer, while the 1.06μm laser simultaneously cuts through the carbon fiber. This allows the CFRP to be cut in half the time (compared to using only the 1.06μm laser), with much less polymer melting. The two microscopic insets at right further indicate that the heat affected zone (darkened area) is substantially smaller for MultiWave Hybrid Technology compared to 1.06μm laser by itself.

Figure 7. CFRP cut with a 10.6μm laser (top), a 1.06μm laser (middle), and with MultiWave Hybrid Technology (bottom).
These examples highlight the benefit of combining just two laser wavelengths. MultiWave Hybrid Technology surpasses this capability by allowing any number of different laser wavelengths to be combined to optimize material processing capability.

MultiWave Hybrid Technology combines multiple wavelengths and allows independent control of each laser beam. The peak power, average power, power density, pulse rate and pulse duration of each laser beam wavelength can be individually controlled.

Furthermore, temporal adjustments to each of these laser beam attributes can be programmed so every step of a material processing operation is optimized. This opens myriad possibilities to the researcher for understanding the nature of laser energy interaction with various materials. It enables the development and optimization of new manufacturing processes that provide quality and efficiency superior to single wavelength processes.

This article was written by Joe Hillman, Strategic Development Manager, Universal Laser Systems (Scottsdale, AZ). For more information, contact Mr. Hillman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit http://info.hotims.com/61057-200 .

References

  1. Steen, W. M., and Mazumder, J. (2010), Laser Material Processing. 90 – 91.
  2. Prokhorov, A.M., Konov, V.I. and Mihailescu, I.N., Laser Heating of Metals, CRC Press, 1990.
  3. Ruettimann, C., Bartlome, R., and Dury, N., “Reproducible Copper Welding”, Industrial Laser Solutions, September/October, 2013.
  4. Klotzbach, A., Furst, A., Kretzschmar, F., Zenger, K., Hauptmann, J., and Beyer, E., “Investigations of Multi-Wavelengths Treatment at Composite Materials”, Proceedings of the 32nd International Congress on Applications of Lasers and Electro-Optics, October, 2013.