A wide selection of laser technologies to enable any process on any material at an economical price point.
Coherent materials processing lasers run the gamut from multi-kilowatt fiber lasers for cutting sheet metal to solid-state, ultrafast lasers for creating micron scale features inside of glass. But, whatever the size and scale of the materials processing task, manufacturers choose Coherent because our lasers are designed and built to support reliable, consistent, 24/7 operation, even under the most demanding conditions.
Customers rely on Coherent lasers when applications require consistent and superior results with the lowest total cost of ownership.
Many materials like fabrics, plastic foils, and papers are processed on the fly using a reel to reel process. Applications may be found in the medical and food industry in the manufacturing of pouches for soups, coffee or beverages, but also in digital printing lines or production lines for grinding paper. Lasers are an established tool in these converting lines. Typical applications are cutting (incl. kiss cutting), scoring and drilling. In one example, the material is processed in the direction of travel or in a down web application. In this case, the laser beam is focused on the web by a fixed optic, while the material is moved underneath by web, allowing the material to be slit to width. In another example, the material is processed perpendicular to the material (web) flow direction. This is referred to as a cross web application. A galvanometric scanner steers the laser beam across the material while compensating for the material flow speed by using a velocity sensor. In most cases, a CO2 laser is used emitting a wavelength of 10.6 µm or 10.2 µm (ideal for PP processing), as mainly organic materials and plastics are processed. This wavelength is absorbed with most of the materials very well. In some special instances such as in the medical segment, UV lasers are used.
In flexible display manufacturing, transistors fabricated on a thin polymer/glass substrate must be detached from the substrate to yield a flexible polymer display. Laser-based lift-off eliminates the use of less selective mechanical or chemical processes, and leverages infrastructure already in place that previously handled rigid substrates. Thus, it is not only friendly at a material level, it is environmentally and cost-effective. Excimer lasers deliver the necessary pulse energy to be highly selective, and to process large areas at industrial speed and with superior quality and yield.
The challenge for Liquid crystal display (LCD) manufacturers is to produce higher performance displays, while simultaneously reducing cost and increasing display size. Excimer line beam annealing of low-temperature polycrystalline silicon thin-film transistor (LTPS-TFT) technology enables both lower cost and higher display performance through lower process temperatures (allowing for thinner substrates) and the superior electron mobility of polycrystalline silicon over amorphous silicon. The basic principle of excimer laser annealing is quite simple in concept, but anything but so in implementation: The excimer laser beam is homogenized and shaped to a line and scanned across the Silicon. Each laser pulse melts an incremental amount of the amorphous silicon. Polycrystalline structure occurs upon recrystallization.
Stereolithography, where 3D Models are created with an extremely high level of detail and a smooth surface finish, is an excellent choice where a close approximation to the finished product is desired.
Stereolithography (SLA) typically uses a low power UV laser to selectively harden a photosensitive epoxy polymer in a bath to form a part. Key benefits of SLA are high accuracy and smooth surface finish of parts. Extreme finish detail capability can be reached with a wide range of materials. SLA is used in various industries like Automotive, Aerospace, Consumer Products, Packaging, Electronics, Architecture, Medical and Government Research.
Coherent delivers unique UV laser technology by offering the Matrix UV DPSS laser. Customers count on Matrix due to its high reliability, excellent mode quality and pulse to pulse stability.
Coherent lasers enable the pattern tracing and hardening process that allows the 3D printer to transform a liquid curable photopolymer “resin” into a finished part.
The selective laser sintering process is ideal for parts that need to be durable, functional and withstand high heat and chemicals.
Selective Laser Sintering (SLM) builds up a part from polymer or metal powder by using a sealed off CO2 laser e.g. a DIAMOND C-Series laser or a 1 µm fiber laser. Key benefits of SLM are high accuracy and smooth surface finish of parts. Consistent part characteristics can be fabricated with a wide range of materials. SLM is used in various industries like Automotive Design, Aerospace, Defense, Heavy Equipment, Medical, Electronics, Consumer Products, White & Sporting Goods, Packaging, Home & Garden Equipment, Government Research.
Achieve permanent high-contrast marks on different types of plastics.
|Laser marking can provide a permanent high-contrast mark on different types of plastics, allowing no direct contact with the plastic other than through the laser beam. A variety of results can be achieved when marking plastics. Depending on the material, the exact color of the mark is highly dependent on the additives in the plastic. A CO2 laser, such as those found in the DIAMOND C-Series that emits a 10.6 µm wavelength, or in the case of PET marking where a wavelength of 9.6 µm is emitted, can engrave without color changes in most cases based on melting of the material. CO2 lasers are mainly used on plastics when no other laser can mark with acceptable quality or when there is no request for a high quality mark. If a high quality mark with high contrast or color change is required, a 1µm wavelength from an end pumped DPSS laser like the Matrix Series is required. engraving/ablating, bleaching or carbonizing the plastic surface. In many applications the surface is melted creating a foam, which transitions to a different color than the base material due to inclusions of the surrounding air. On some special plastics, a black pigment would disappear during the foaming process and a colored pigment would create the mark contrast. In some applications, such as marking of automotive back lit buttons, a color layer is ablated from a component with different color. When bleaching, the plastic surface loses its color, pigments in the matrix would turn white; during carbonization they would burn and turn black. Certain plastics that do not absorb the 1 µm wavelength well are marked with green (532 nm) or UV (355 nm) wavelength lasers. The UV laser offers a unique feature when marking on white plastic which contains Titanium Dioxide. TiO2 turns a dark grey due to a photo chemical reaction. The result is a highly durable, high quality mark while the plastic matrix remains unchanged. UV laser marking is used in medical and electronic applications where hygienic cleaning or visual high quality markings are required.|
|Depending on the plastic material, the laser beam creates a contrast by foaming, engraving/ablating, bleaching or carbonizing the plastic surface. In many applications the surface is melted creating a foam, which transitions to a different color than the base material due to inclusions of the surrounding air. On some special plastics, a black pigment would disappear during the foaming process and a colored pigment would create the mark contrast. In some applications, such as marking of automotive back lit buttons, a color layer is ablated from a component with different color. When bleaching, the plastic surface loses its color, pigments in the matrix would turn white; during carbonization they would burn and turn black. Certain plastics that do not absorb the 1 µm wavelength well are marked with green (532 nm) or UV (355 nm) wavelength lasers. The UV laser offers a unique feature when marking on white plastic which contains Titanium Dioxide. TiO2 turns a dark grey due to a photo chemical reaction. The result is a highly durable, high quality mark while the plastic matrix remains unchanged. UV laser marking is used in medical and electronic applications where hygienic cleaning or visual high quality markings are required.|
Permanently mark an almost endless list of organic materials.
Lasers are used to permanently mark an almost endless list of organic materials including wood, paper, cork, leather, and marble as well as painted surfaces and photographic emulsions.
Typically a CO2 laser with 10.6 µm is used for marking organic materials. The far infrared wavelength burns the surface of wood, paper, cork, leather and horn and typically creates a dark contrast. The CO2 laser also removes paint or discolors fabric effectively. When it comes to the gift and trophy business, many organic materials are marked by engraving systems e.g. engraving of rewards on wooden or marble plaques.
The largest volume marking application of organic material is in packaging industry where food & beverage boxes and bottles are marked with “best before dates” at very high velocity - on the fly. The marking system used for this process is equipped with high speed galvanometric scanners and, by using a velocity sensor, the scanner tracks the product as the mark is being made. Some of these marking systems are operated in food processing lines and need to be water spray resistant.
Cut organics and plastics including wood, acrylic and leather at high processing speeds.
|Organics and plastic materials can be cut with lasers at high processing speeds with exceptional edge quality. Non-metals such as plastics, fabrics, paper/cardboard, wood or leather are used in a wide range of industries including sign/advertising, fashion, automotive, furniture, and packaging. When cutting non-metals, the laser is used to evaporate or melt the material. Thicker material like acrylics for the sign industry or wood for die-board is typically cut with the use of a flying optic. A low pressure gas flow – typically compressed air - blows material out of the kerf and keeps the cut clean. The use of a galvanometric scanner is recommended when cutting acrylics or laser cutting wood when the material to be cut is very thin or very heat sensitive. The scanner moves the laser beam at very high speeds following the required cut contour inducing limited heat to the part. If the material cannot be cut in one pass, a multiple pass cutting process can be used. Scanner head assisted cutting is widely used in the electronics industry for de-paneling of PCB boards, or in laser-cut leather applications. The laser wavelength of 10.6 µm from a CO2 laser offers optimal absorption to cut non-metals. With the DIAMOND series, Coherent offers the broadest portfolio of sealed CO2 lasers ranging in power from 20W to 1 kW.|
Produce highly durable marks without sacrificing the integrity of materials.
When marking metal surfaces, the high peak power of a 1 µm laser, such as a Matrix DPSS laser, engraves into the metal surface and creates a contrast. When using CW laser radiation, most steel, titanium and gold materials turn black creating an annealing contrast. If a green wavelength (532 nm) is used, most gold surfaces turn black and save precious material. Annealing is basically non tactile which makes it the mark of choice for industries such as the medical industry. The absence of grooves meets medical requirements for hygienic cleaning.
Cost-effective, precision cutting of metals at varying thicknesses.
|There are two main cutting processes in metal cutting using laser technologies. These are fusion cutting and flame cutting. In fusion cutting, the laser beam melts the metal while a high pressure inert gas stream blows the molten material out of the kerf. Fusion cutting is used in the cutting of stainless steel and aluminum, leaving the user with a clean, shiny, dross free edge. Depending on the material thickness, up to a few kW of laser power maybe required. the cutting of mild (carbon) steel, flame cutting is used. The laser beam heats up the metal surface above a certain temperature such that a reactive assist gas, such as oxygen, causes an exothermic reaction and melts the metal. Flame cutting is faster than fusion cutting, but leaves an oxide coated edge. Flame cutting is faster than fusion cutting, but the edge quality of fusion cutting is better.|
|In Traditionally high power flowing gas or slab CO2 lasers have been used for both metal cutting processes. CO2 lasers offer better cut quality and can cut a wider range of materials. Coherent serves this market with DIAMOND CO2 lasers and has recently developed the HighLight FL-Series of fiber lasers to meet industry needs. The META 10C is Coherent’s laser cutting tool designed for the sheet metal industry.|
Joining composite materials requires different approaches than when joining metal materials. Laser welding can result in improved weld quality when the correct approach is utilized.
Welding carbon fiber composite materials requires different approaches than when joining metal materials due to its material properties. Bolting or riveting results in damaged and weakened material. Laser welding e.g. with our HighLight FAP system is possible if at least one of the welding partners has a thermoplastic resin and one partner is transmissive to laser radiation – cannot contain fiber. If both welding partners are thermoplastic, regular plastic welding applies (see page on plastics welding). If the CFRP partner is a thermoset, it requires pre-processing. The resin needs to be ablated by a laser so that the fiber structure becomes visible. In order to ablate effectively without impacting the fibers, a Q-Switched CO2 or UV laser e.g. AVIA applies. The open fiber structure enables higher shear strength after welding, as the molten thermoplast of the other welding partner flows around and in between the fibers. The open fiber structure of the CFRP causes swings in laser absorption during the welding process, leading to unreliable welds. A pyrometer controlled adjustment of laser power during the welding process improves weld quality by keeping the welding temperature constant.
By using a laser in the repair of large carbon fiber parts, precise repairs are conducted offering strength similar to that of a new part.
During the manufacturing process or during its final use of composites, damages may happen. While smaller objects might just be replaced and scrapped, larger parts need repair. Examples of these larger parts include an airplane fuselage damaged by a loading truck at an airport or bird damage of wind energy turbine blades. Traditionally, these carbon fiber repairs were done by either bolting a repair composite sheet on top of the damaged area or by manual grinding – scarfing the damaged area and refilling it with repair plys. The grinding process is preferred over the bolting process because it offers higher strength and reliability of the repair. Unfortunately the manual process involved in grinding is not repeatable and it requires high user skills. By using a frequency tripled DPSS laser emitting 355 nm like the AVIA, it is possible to precisely scarf the damaged area – allowing layers of composite to be ablated reliably and repeatedly. Laser repaired damages offer strength similar to that of a new part.
Diode lasers, with wavelengths in the range of 808 nm to 980 nm, are typically used to join various plastic material combinations in plastics welding applications.
Diode lasers are used to weld plastics, applicable for thermoplastic materials only. In one welding geometry example, the laser beam joins two materials by passing through the first transparent heating up the second absorptive joining partner. The latter one starts to heat up and melt. At the same time heat is transferred to the first partner and the two parts are joined. Laser welding of plastics becomes very attractive when particles caused by ultrasonic welding such as is found in the automotive or medical industry should be avoided. The high degree of automation and process control enables a high level of product quality.
Laser welding of plastics processes can be differentiated by contour, simultaneous, quasi-simultaneous and mask technology. By using the contour technology, a diode laser follows the contour in one pass. During simultaneous welding, the beam profile of the laser is shaped like the seam contour. During quasi simultaneous welding, a scanner head scans a higher power, high brightness diode laser beam at high speed along the contour and heats it up simultaneously. By using a mask, multiple small welds can be achieved by scanning a complete area. Coherent participates in the plastic welding segment by offering its HighLight FAP systems and OEM FAP systems.
Increase wear resistance and fatigue strength on the work piece surface.
Laser heat treatment increases wear resistance and increases the fatigue strength due to the compressive stresses induced on the work piece surface. In laser heat treating or case hardening, a spatially well-defined beam of intense laser light is used to illuminate a work piece. This light is readily absorbed near the surface and causes rapid heating that is highly localized to the illuminated area and which does not penetrate very deep into the bulk material. Depending upon the particulars of the part size, shape and material, the bulk heat capacity of the material typically acts as a heat sink for the extraction of heat from the surface therefore enabling self-quenching. The ability to precisely control the physical extent of the illuminated region, together with the short timescale of energy transfer into the material, gives rise to the main benefits of laser surface modification over other techniques. Several key benefits include rapid processing, precise localized control over case depth/hardness, minimal to no part distortion, superior wear and corrosion resistance and increased fatigue strength. Part geometry and carbon content (min. 0.3%) significantly influence the results that can be achieved with a laser heat treat process.
The wavelength of a High Power Direct Diode Laser (HPDDL), like the Coherent HighLight D-Series is very well absorbed by most metals in heat treating. This eliminates the need for surface preparation as well as the environmental compliance costs associated with emissions, clean up and disposal of the chemicals utilized in the painting process needed for other heat treating methods. The shape of the output beam from a HPDDL is also well matched to the needs of many heat treating tasks. Specifically, HPDDLs incorporate an optical design that integrates individual laser “beamlets” into a single beam with uniform power distribution; a typical nominal cross-section would be 3 mm x 24 mm. For the majority of laser hardening applications, the HPDDL output beam illuminates an area that is smaller than the total area to be processed so either the work piece or the beam (or both) need to be moved in order to achieve total coverage.
Laser cutting and scribing of display glass and functional foils are important processes for the Flat Panel Display industry. The contact-free laser processes enable the trend towards thinner glass and advanced material mixes.
Coherent lasers are the ideal source for microstructuring inside glass.
When marking and engraving glass, a high intensity laser irradiance enables a multi-photon process and non-linear absorption effects in transparent material such as flat panel display glass. The high peak power of the Matrix DPSS laser, easily engraves inside the glass.
Achieve optimal cutting speed and cut quality by using lasers to cut carbon or glass reinforced plastic.
Due to the fact that the melting point of fibers is much higher than the melting point of the resin, laser cutting of glass reinforced plastic and carbon fiber is challenging as the plastic tends to char and burn at the cutting edge. Best results have been shown by using lasers with very high peak power and short pulse length e.g. from a HyperRapid ps Laser. If operated at a high rep rate, good cutting quality can be achieved using a multiple pass cutting method. Optimal results were achieved also by using a UV laser wavelength e.g. from an AVIA laser. The downside of the multiple pass method is the low effective cutting speed and slow cycle time. Therefore, the multiple pass method is used mainly with thin materials. If some level of soot at the cutting edge is acceptable, high power fiber lasers like the HighLight 1000FL have shown the best compromise of cutting speed vs. cut quality.
Using lasers for cladding, you will achieve better surface uniformity than with traditional technologies.
|Coherent lasers offer superior overall clad quality, reduced heat input, minimal part distortion and better clad deposition control resulting in reduced dilution, lower porosity and better surface uniformity. Cladding is a well-established process used in a variety of industries for improving the surface and near surface properties of a part (e.g. wear, corrosion or heat resistance), or to re-surface a component that has become worn through use. Cladding typically involves the creation of a new surface layer having different composition than the base material by adding material to the surface. wavelength of a High Power Direct Diode Laser (HPDDL), like the Coherent HighLight D-Series, is very well absorbed by most metals. Its output is particularly well suited to the needs of laser cladding. Since the area illuminated by the laser beam on the work surface is typically smaller than the area to be clad, the beam is usually manipulated across the part. In the case of powder-based cladding with a free-space output system, the long axis of the line beam (up to 24 mm) is oriented perpendicular to the scan direction thereby enabling large areas to be processed rapidly. Alternately, in the case of wire feed cladding, it is usually advantageous to orient the beam such that the short axis is in the direction of travel.|
|The laser-based process offers superior overall clad quality, reduced heat input, minimal part distortion and better clad deposition control resulting in reduced dilution, lower porosity and better surface uniformity than traditional technology. The high quench rate of the diode laser produces a finer grain structure in the clad leading to better corrosion resistance. Finally, the line beam shape of the free-space laser can process large areas rapidly with a high degree of control over clad width and thickness, while also delivering lower operating cost and easier implementation than other methods.|
Cleaning the release agent off CFRP parts prior to painting or adhesively bonding is accomplished efficiently by using an Excimer laser.
Carbon composite parts are formed to their final shape in a mold. Release of the form is simplified by using a release agent, which is based on oil. Unfortunately, this release agent needs to be removed prior to painting or adhesively bonding parts. There are several suboptimal methods for removing the agent, such as manual grinding. Obviously this process is very time consuming and not repeatable. Through manual grinding, some fibers are damaged.
Lasers are able to remove the release agent, but the wavelength of the laser has to be chosen wisely. A 1 µm Nd:YAG laser transmits radiation through the resin and damages the fibers. CO2 laser wavelengths leave heat affected zones.
The most ideal wavelength for cleaning carbon fiber is UV radiation, as it selectively ablates the release agent and the resin surface, but not the carbon fibers. Excimer lasers at a wavelength of 308 nm are the ideal tool for fast and material-friendly cleaning and can achieve cleaning rates of up to 50m2/hour. Shear strength tests have proven that cleaning using an Excimer laser can be done repeatedly and efficiently with equal or better shear strength compared to traditional cleaning methods or longer wavelength lasers.
Laser welding operates economically in many different applications.
Laser welding operates efficiently and economically in many different applications, and can be used in place of many different standard processes.
|Laser keyhole welding is used when material needs to be joined with a higher thickness to width aspect ratio. High beam intensities heat the material upon evaporation temperature resulting in a deep capillary called a keyhole. Inert gas shields the process and protects it during the keyhole welding process from unwanted oxidization. By emitting single pulses with very high pulse intensity, spot welds can be achieved such as is used in the electronics industry. If seam welding is required, the focusing optic is moved after a keyhole is produced. The keyhole follows the weld seam resulting in a clean weld. In some applications such as in welding of car doors or seats in the automotive industry, a series of small welds on thinner material need to be produced within a certain area. In these instances, galvanometric scanner technology is used to steer the beam. The simplified motion of the scanning process combined with faster positioning and lower cost of ownership results in cycle time improvements. Traditionally high power welding applications are served by CO2 or Diode, Disk and Fiber lasers. Coherent serves this application with its HighLight FL series fiber lasers. Fine or spot welding is still served by lamp pumped solid-state lasers.|
|Heat conduction welding is applicable for sheet metal up to a material thickness of approximately 2 mm. A laser beam, focused on the seam, heats the material and that heat is quickly conducted through the sheets causing it to melt and join together. The focusing optic is moved along the seam while it focuses the laser beam to the sample, leaving a high quality weld. For Conduction welding, lasers with lower brightness, like direct diode lasers, can be used for this process e.g. the Coherent HighLight D-Series.|
Coherent partners with medical system builders across the globe to provide the laser technology necessary for them to manufacture a variety of medical components.
Medical devices encompass a broad range of solutions that can host a variety of different laser technologies from the UV to the mid-IR range. Using the right wavelength for a specific material provides efficient machining and throughput. Defined by the level of precision needed, laser solutions range from short pulse (nanoseconds) to ultrashort pulses (picoseconds). Ultrashort pulses minimize heat affected zones and, combined with “cold machining” processes, offer the highest level of precision beneficial for the most demanding applications such as stent manufacturing.
Coherent has locations across the globe that are available to provide support for any product, service or inquiry.
5100 Patrick Henry Drive
Santa Clara, CA 95054 USA
Coherent has locations across the globe that are available to provide support for any product, service or inquiry.
Coherent has locations across the globe that are available to provide support for any product, service or inquiry.
Parc Technopolis 3, Avenue du Canada
91978 Courtaboeuf cedex
Room 1006 – 1009, Raycom Info Park Tower B, No. 2, Kexueyuan South Road Haidian District
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5100 Patrick Henry Drive
Santa Clara, CA 95054 USA
Toyo MK Building 7-2-14 Toyo, Koto-ku
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