Laser beam diagnostic systems for industrial applications
Devices for laser beam analysis from Primes GmbH
Laser beams in industrial applications, whether they be CO2, Nd:YAG, diode or fibre lasers, work with invisible beams in the infra-red or near infra-red spectral range (NIR). Hence changes in beam quality or power cannot be detected visually and only become evident from the outcome of their application. Under some circumstances, this results in very expensive rejects being produced.
If the deterioration in quality is not recognized in the manufacturing process, this usually results in the subsequent failure of the product in use, with consequences for the manufacturer of rectification, replacement and loss of image.
This is where PRIMES beam diagnostics devices for measuring beam quality, focus ability and laser power come in. Process monitoring in production with laser beam diagnostics devices by PRIMES enables consistent quality assurance and allows the timely detection and elimination of malfunctions of laser beams. This is a requirement that should not be underestimated in many industrial areas, such as automotive or laser material processing.
|Compact and portable digital laser power meters|
|Laser power measurements in the multi-kilowatt range|
|Systems with human interface or fieldbus interface for machine integration|
|Diagnostic Devices for focused and raw laser beams|
|2D/3D beam caustic analysis in the focal plane and free-running beam|
|2D/3D presentation of power density distribution|
With PRIMES devices for beam diagnostics, troubleshooting of laser applications is simplified considerably. The beam intensity profile, beam diameter, beam caustic before and after focusing and laser power to be applied are directly measured and analyzed.
For over 20 years, PRIMES has been developing and manufacturing devices for laser beam diagnostics in industrial applications. We began with the FocusMonitor, measuring beam quality.
Today we offer a range of devices for recording beam quality and power of laser beams:
- Devices for laser power measurements
- Devices for focused laser beam diagnostic
- Devices for raw laser beam diagnostic
- Devices for the Integration into an Industrial Environment
In the automotive industry a variety of materials or components with a high value-added proportion are welded and soldered by means of laser beams.
Monitoring of laser parameters in the manufacture of powertrains, in particular transmission parts, axles, clutches, injection pumps, airbags, lighting components, seat mechanisms, car body shell assembly units, and batteries/accumulators is critical for extended service intervals, more consistent product quality, reduction of defective parts and avoidance of rejects.
A laser beam diagnostic system is an essential component in quality assurance in all these cases.
Since 2010 fully integrated systems without human interfaces have been available. In the automotive industry, where many measuring cycles are required, often the integration of laser beam diagnostic device with robots is implemented via fieldbus systems that allow measurements automatization and laser data exchange with the master controller area network.
The beam source is the central component in all laser processing. In the field of high continuous power, mostly CO2 or NIR lasers (fibre, disk, Nd:YAG or diode lasers) are employed. For the manufacturers and purchasers of beam sources, approval of these products is of outstanding importance. With the increasing desire for quality assurance, the measurement of beam parameters has now frequently become a fixed component of internal acceptance inspection or commissioning at the client's site. Above all, the following are critical: laser power, beam dimensions and beam position of the raw beam and the focus, and also beam quality. It is not only in product acceptance that beam diagnostics provide valuable assistance to beam source manufacturers. When it comes to servicing, the measuring systems plan an important role and help to document the current state.
Laser material processing
The quality of the production results is influenced by the beam properties. Beam analysis supplies the necessary beam parameters for this purpose. Beam monitoring during production enables preventative maintenance, so that unplanned outage times can be reduced dramatically.
The characteristics of focused laser beams influence the quality of the processing result as well as the processing velocity, i.e. the efficiency to a great extent. The focused laser beam is, in fact, the actual tool. Monitoring this tool is inevitable when it comes to automated serial production, for example. Therefore, it is recommended to check the laser beam, not only when it comes to the laser beam power chosen for the respective process but also with regard to the minimum or maximum laser beam power. The primary beam parameters are the focus diameter, the position of the focus point in space, the power density distribution and its symmetry, the beam propagation ratio M2 and the beam parameter product. Many processes in the field of laser material processing (welding, cutting, drilling) respond to changes of only one of these parameters. When it comes to laser beam cutting, the edge quality of the cut components changes, for example. With regard to laser beam welding, the welding penetration or the hardness profile of the weld seam changes.
One of the strongest growth markets in the area of laser technology at the moment is the additive manufacturing sector, and in particular the area of Selective Laser Melting (SLM).
In additive manufacturing, components are produced in several layers through the fusing of a powder bed by means of laser. The non-contact process offers the end user many new possibilities with respect to design, construction and functionality of their components.
Plant construction for Selective Laser Melting is generally very compact and does not leave much room for laser diagnostics systems. The camera-based and water-cooled measurement system of the MicroSpotMonitor-Compact, for example, is tailored to this challenge.
This device is particularly compact and combines camera, electronics, attenuation and absorption in one housing. Expandable with various modules, the MSMc can be adapted to the requirements of the most up-to-date SLM plants.
This system allows you to make measurements of the beam distribution of your focus laser directly at process level at nominal power. By using your Z-axis installed in the plant, entire caustics can additionally be produced to determine the most important beam parameters.