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M A R C H / A P R I L 2 019 W W W. I N D U S T R I A L - L A S E R S .

C O M

Ultrashort-pulse
laser drilling
Reducing laser additive
manufacturing costs
Additive manufacturing
in Eastern Europe

Joining plastics
to metals

1903ILS_c1-c4.indd 1 3/6/19 11:59 AM


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1903ILS_c1-c4.indd 1
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2/11/19 11:38 AM
AM
V O L 3 4 I N O . 2

MARCH/
A P R I L 2 0 19

A robot-guided
spot-welding gun for
metal-thermoplastic
connections is
shown. (Courtesy:
Fraunhofer IWS)

P.
18
Features
14 application report 22 application report

Optimized additive manufacturing Laser beam shaping for


for lightweight metallic components innovative applications
Recycled aluminum powder enables a cost- Why laser beam shaping is necessary
effective process AHMED MA AMOUN for microdrilling with ultrashort-pulse
lasers SAMI L AROUI
18 application report

Laser joining process yields metal- 24 technology report

thermoplastic hybrid parts Laser additive manufacturing


Adhesive bonding and laser remote moves forward in Eastern
technology join plastic to metal Europe
ANNET T KLOTZBACH Several companies are adopting the
technology, but more R&D is needed
EVGENY MOLCHANOV

Departments
5 Update

27 Calendar

27 Ad Index

28 My View

Then and now


W W W. I N D U S T R I A L- L A S E R S . C O M

DABbling
A blog by DAVID A . BELFORTE
David shares his insights and opinions on current
activities affecting industrial laser materials processing.
www.industrial-lasers.com/dabbling.html

1903ILS01-04.indd 1 3/6/19 11:59 AM


Localized M
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in
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co
ef
ty

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Laser Manufacturing Facility in Brea, CA th
su

AMADA’s global network


of manufacturing bases
includes facilities in North
America, Europe, China
and Japan.

1903ILS01-04.indd
AmaAme_ILS_1803 21 3/6/19 11:59 AM
d Manufacturing
AMADA is committed to the engineering
and manufacturing of the world’s most precise
and productive machine tools. Our most pop-
ular series of laser machines and advanced
automation systems are manufactured in California
The ENSIS Series is available in
— providing localized manufacturing to meet 3015 and 4020 models and can be
the specific design needs of North American configured with CL automation
fabricators. options to best suit your specific
manufacturing needs.
Laser cutting systems currently being man-
ufactured in California include the ENSIS Series
and the LCG Series. AMADA’s ENSIS Fiber
Laser technology provides continuous process-
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lens change or additional setup. The LCG Series
combines optimal power and cutting speed to
efficiently process a wide variety of material
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Automation systems range from shuttle
tables to the innovative AMS CL — a modular
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shelf tower that can support multiple lasers.
AMADA understands the distinct challeng-
The LCG Series is also available in 3015 and 4020
es today’s manufacturers face. That’s why we models and can be configured with CL automation
provide a complete line of laser cutting systems options to best suit your specific manufacturing
that range from 3kW to 9kW. No other com- needs. (Shown with AMS 3015 CL Cycle Loader)
pany is better positioned to provide you with
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AMADA AMERICA, INC.


180 Amada Court • Schaumburg, IL 60173
www.amada.com/america
877-262-3287

1903ILS01-04.indd 3 3/6/19 11:59


2/21/18 10:41 AM
AM
1903ILS01-04.indd
IIVI_ILS_1903 1 4 3/6/19 11:59
2/14/19 AM
2:27 PM
update
Laser cutting in Southern Africa
The Republic of Zimbabwe, land-
locked in southern Africa and previ-
ously known as Southern Rhodesia
(1898), Rhodesia (1965), and Zim-
babwe Rhodesia (1979), became a
physical entity in 1980. The coun-
try’s economy is mixed with a dom-
inating public sector. It used to have
one of the strongest economies in
Africa—however, political instability
at the administrative level has led
to negative GDP growth. Economic
growth in 2017 was an estimated
2.6% in 2017 driven by strong per-
formance in agriculture, mining,
electricity, and water. Economic
growth in 2018 (a projected 1%)
was likely to be 1.2% in 2019—con-
tinuing to face a challenging politi-
cal environment.
So, what ties Zimbabwe to
Industrial Laser Solutions, lasers,
and new technology? Maybe it’s
the above comment about the Sawpower’s Bystronic BySprint First Cut (Johannesburg, South Africa; www.
country’s prior position as the eco- Fiber 3015 laser has been firstcut.co.za) has been Sawpower’s preferred
nomic leader in Africa. Did all the installed on the company’s saw blade suppliers for 22 years and it has a valu-
bright entrepreneurs flee the coun- manufacturing floor. able relationship with them. The company grew
try over the ensuing years? I wrote its business from cutting consumables into sup-
several years ago that Africa might be the next industrial plying and supporting capital equipment, thus products
growth area, surpassing Asia. It was amusing to speculate and with this its affiliation to Bystronic (www.bystronic.com).
on this and consequently, I started referring to the few ILS Ralph and Greg both come from a manufacturing back-
readers in Zimbabwe as the anointed who would pass on the ground. Unfortunately, due to the nature and decline of the
knowledge gained from the magazine to the rest of Africa. Zimbabwean economy, the country has become largely
It was a light-hearted attempt at some humor, tinged with dependent on imports, which depletes foreign currency
my belief that Africa may be the next fast-growing indus- reserves. This has been the same for Sawpower. Although
trial market for lasers. it manufactures its own range of saw blades in-house, the
I’d like to think Ralph and Greg Stead got the idea about rest of the business relies on such imports.
laser cutting from ILS, but I doubt it because they are not They had been looking at getting back into manufac-
on the magazine’s circulation list. But here’s their story. turing about six years ago, but circumstances at the time
Sawpower Blades (Pvt) Ltd, a family-owned business made it fairly prohibitive. In 2016, together with First Cut
located in Msasa, Harare, Zimbabwe, has been in exis- and Bystronic, Ralph and Greg started learning and under-
tence under that name for more than 23 years. The busi- standing more about fiber laser technology, and at the end
ness was originally purchased as a struggling concern and of 2017, they signed a deal with them to install the first-ever
was resurrected and restructured by Ralph Stead, who fiber laser machine in Zimbabwe.
still plays a major key role in the day-to-day operations. Being able to supply a value-added process to
His son, Greg Stead, joined the business about 16 years raw materials and bring the latest technology in sheet
ago after completing his apprenticeship and further tech- metal processing means it is now able to offer these
nical studies abroad. in Zimbabwe instead of importing them. Additionally,

www.industrial-lasers.com MARCH/APRIL 2019 Industrial Laser Solutions 5

1903ILS05-13.indd 5 3/6/19 11:59 AM


update
Sawpower now represents Bystronic in port received from Bystronic and First Cut cesses. It also means that the company is
Zimbabwe and this machine also serves has been exceptional, as those companies dealing with one supplier when it comes to
as a working showroom. They have are passionate and dedicated to their prod- technical support. Whether it be a minor
already taken on import substitution ucts. Together with the BySprint Fiber 3015 programming or nesting enquiry right up to
work as well as work for the mines and laser, Sawpower also runs a NitraCut nitro- major service work or technical support on
farming industries. Import enquires have gen generator, which it uses to generate its the machine, Bystronic and First Cut have
been received and they hope to pursue own nitrogen assist gas. everything covered.
this vigorously in 2019. According to Greg, the company chose As this is being written, the economic
Greg says the installation, commission- to use Bystronic’s BySoft programming and social news for Zimbabwe is, as the
ing, and running of the Bystronic BySprint software. He says this is a powerful pro- pundits say, fluid. So, I’ll be paying more
Fiber 3015 was, and continues to be, an gramming tool that works in harmony with attention to that country, especially pulling
exciting project (FIGURE). The all-around sup- the laser and all future manufacturing pro- for Greg and Sawpower.—David Belforte

Feasibility study tackles effective laser beam cutting underwater


Recall the old saying “What goes around offers significant advantages compared to jet cutting or sawing techniques—most sig-
comes around”? Many decades ago, I was conventional cutting methods such as water nificantly, control of the binding of the kerf
associated with an offshoot material on the exit side, which is a stan-
of an underwater electron dard laser cutting benefit. The expense for
beam welding program that final cleaning of the water basin floor is sig-
was to cut metals in that nificantly reduced, as the amount of sec-
same environment. This ondary or technology waste is significantly
project didn’t pan out for a lower compared to water jet or sawing tech-
variety of reasons, mostly niques (FIGURE 2). The disposal of this waste
associated with cost-ef- is time-consuming and costly. In addition,
fectiveness. Later, when sawing techniques are prone to jamming of
high-power lasers were the tool, which cannot occur with laser beam
developed, it arose again cutting. Thus, the process times could be
and we looked at the laser shortened. Laser beam cutting would there-
beam as the heat source. fore represent a much cheaper alternative for
Although the technology dismantling of reactor components.
was proven, solving the The AZULa project, in collaboration
cost-effectiveness barrier with Orano (Paris, France), is sponsored
shut things down. by the Federal Ministry of Education and
Now, scientists at Laser FIGURE 1. Underwater laser cutting offers enormous Research under a grant by project coor-
Zentrum Hannover (LZH; potential for dismantling reactor vessels. (Photo credit: LZH) dinator Gesellschaft für
Hannover, Germany), an Anlagen- und Reaktor-
independent, nonprofit research institute, sicherheit (GRS; Köln,
are setting out to answer whether a laser Germany).
beam can be used for efficient reactor dis- Needless to say, I’ll be
mantling by cutting underwater (FIGURE 1). following progress with
This is the scope of the AZULa project interest because glob-
(which stands for “Automated separation of ally, there are 76 nuclear
reactor pressure vessel installations using reactors expected to
underwater laser technology”), a feasibil- retire by 2019, followed
ity study that will involve developing a laser by 183 units in the 2020s
beam cutting process and constructing a and 127 units in the
compact cutting head for use in a radiolog- 2030s. It’s been looked
ically activated and contaminated underwa- at before, but maybe
ter environment. this backlog will be the
This system is supposed to enable the impetus to ease cost-ef-
direct dismantling of nuclear facilities (reac- FIGURE 2. Less-contaminated secondary materials through an fectiveness concerns.
tor pressure vessels), as laser beam cutting efficient laser cutting process are shown. (Photo credit: LZH) —David Belforte

6 Industrial Laser Solutions MARCH/APRIL 2019 www.industrial-lasers.com

1903ILS05-13.indd 6 3/6/19 11:59 AM


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1903ILS05-13.indd 17
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12/21/17 2:21 AM
PM
update
Laser marking technology for QR codes
on tires enters mass production
ALSDORF, GERMANY – 4JET Technolo-
gies has developed a laser marking solu-
tion to individually and durably mark tires
with a machine-readable QR code, which
is now in mass production for automotive
OEMs. Luxury automaker BMW (Munich,
Germany) has been fitting its first-volume
models with the new technology since the
fall of 2018. At the same time, two leading
manufacturers of truck tires have chosen
to introduce QR codes for new projects
that are scheduled to go into mass pro-
duction in 2019.
At the TIRE Technology Expo (held
March 5-7, 2019 in Hannover, Germany),
4JET informed attendees about its sig-
nificant progress. Approximately 20 tire The SCANNECT App software module allows for reading laser-marked QR codes on the
factories on three continents are able to low-contrast black sidewalls of a tire.
meet the requirements for durable and
machine-readable codes at economical being delivered. The technology enables as well as adding graphics or information in
cost, and several automobile and tire man- adding customer-specific sidewall infor- plain writing. For more information, please
ufacturers are planning follow-up projects mation to stock tires after their production, visit www.4jet.de.
at the moment.
The SCANNECT (short for “scan and
connect”) application allows for tires to
be traced throughout the entire life cycle.
Core to the solution is a laser marking 3D printing method uses two kinds
process that allows for the tire mark- of light, making it 100X faster
ing with individual QR codes, which are
engraved into the sidewalls durably and ANN ARBOR, MI – A team of
protected against abrasion. The high con- researchers at the University
trast of the engraving enables the code to of Michigan (U-M) has demon-
be read reliably by optical reading meth- strated a new approach to 3D
ods. Reading systems have been devel- printing (also known as additive
oped for use in tire logistics that ensure manufacturing) that lifts complex
reading rates of >99.9%. shapes from a vat of liquid up to
Furthermore, 4JET has developed the 100X faster than conventional 3D
SCANNECT App, a software module to printing processes.
be integrated in mobile apps that allows The method solidifies the liq-
for reading QR codes on the low-contrast uid resin using two lights to con-
black sidewalls of a tire (FIGURE). The “app- trol where the resin hardens, and
in-app” solution enables easy integration of where it stays fluid. This enables
code reading into mobile applications like the research team to solidify
online shops or fleet management solu- the resin in more sophisticated
tions. For quality control of the process, the patterns. They can make a 3D
company has developed a grading solution bas-relief in a single shot rather A new way to 3D print uses two lights to control
that allows for evaluation of the code qual- than in a series of 1D lines or 2D the solidification of resin, enabling complex shapes
ity inline or by means of a desktop device. cross-sections. Their printing to be pulled from a vat at 100X the print speed
The QR codes can be engraved either at demonstrations include a lattice, of conventional 3D printers. (Image credit: Evan
the tire plant, after the remolding, or before a toy boat, and a block M (FIGURE). Dougherty)

8 Industrial Laser Solutions MARCH/APRIL 2019 www.industrial-lasers.com

1903ILS05-13.indd 8 3/6/19 11:59 AM


1903ILS05-13.indd 19
ElixPho_ILS_1903 3/6/19 11:59
2/25/19 AM
3:57 PM
update
By creating a relatively large region flow fast enough into the tiny gap between which responds to a different wavelength of
where no solidification occurs, thicker res- the newly solidified object and the window light. Rather than merely controlling solidifi-
ins—potentially with strengthening powder as the part is pulled up. This has limited vat cation in a 2D plane, as current vat-printing
additives—can be used to produce more printing to small, customized products that techniques do, the U-M team can pattern
durable objects. The method also bests the will be treated relatively gently, such as den- the two kinds of light to harden the resin at
structural integrity of filament 3D printing, as tal devices and shoe insoles. essentially any 3D place near the illumina-
those objects have weak points at the inter- By replacing the oxygen with a second tion window.
faces between layers. light to halt solidification, the research team U-M has filed three patent applications
An earlier solution to the solidifica- can produce a much larger gap between to protect the multiple inventive aspects
tion-on-window problem was a window the object and the window—millimeters of the approach, and Timothy Scott, U-M
that lets oxygen through. The oxygen pen- thick—allowing resin to flow in thousands associate professor of chemical engineer-
etrates into the resin and halts the solidi- of times faster. ing who co-led the development of the new
fication near the window, leaving a film of The key to success is the chemistry of 3D printing approach with Mark Burns, the
fluid that will allow the newly printed surface the resin. In conventional systems, there is T.C. Chang Professor of Engineering at U-M,
to be pulled away. But because this gap is only one reaction. A photoactivator hard- is preparing to launch a startup company.
only about as thick as a piece of transpar- ens the resin wherever light shines. In the Full details of the work appear in the jour-
ent tape, the resin must be very runny to U-M system, there is also a photoinhibitor, nal Science Advances.

Spectrum supplies laser marking system


for use in manufacturing Mars lander
BRIDGEND, WALES – Lockheed Martin Pasadena, CA) Mars InSight lander, duction to laser-mark, measure, and cut
Space (Denver, CO) used the Nova laser which started its descent toward the wires to length (FIGURE).
marking equipment from laser wire and Martian surface on November 26, 2018. InSight, which stands for Interior Explo-
cable processing technology Spectrum Spectrum Technologies supplied Lock- ration using Seismic Investigations, Geod-
Technologies to process and identify all heed Martin Space with a fully auto- esy and Heat Transport, is designed to
the wiring in manufacturing the complex mated Nova UV laser wire marking sys- explore the deep interior of Mars. Lockheed
electrical wiring system for the NASA tem in 2014. The system is used in the Martin Space is the InSight prime contrac-
Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s (NASA JPL; initial stages of electrical harness pro- tor responsible for the complete space-
craft system. Following landing,
the mission will survey the sur-
rounding area and deploy the
mission critical instruments. It will
then begin its mission of observ-
ing Mars, which is planned to last
for two years.
Apart from using the equip-
ment for the InSight program,
Lockheed Martin Space utilized
the equipment for many other
different programs, including
the wiring produced for the Ken-
nedy Space Center in Florida for
the Orion program. The Nova
800 product range was specifi-
cally designed for complex aero-
space wire harness manufactur-
ing applications.
The Nova UV laser wire marking system was used in electrical harness production to laser-mark, For more information, please
measure, and cut wires to length. visit www.spectrumtech.com.

10 Industrial Laser Solutions MARCH/APRIL 2019 www.industrial-lasers.com

1903ILS05-13.indd 10 3/6/19 11:59 AM


update
Augmenting growth in additive manufacturing, EOS acquires Vulcan Labs
NOVI, MI AND BENTON, TX – Additive manufacturing technology experts in powder bed fusion technology. The Vulcan Labs team
developer EOS North America has acquired Vulcan Laboratories members bring decades of industry experience into both EOS’
(Vulcan Labs), expanding its bench of additive manufacturing technical center in Pflugerville, TX, and its Advanced Laser Mate-
rials (ALM) materials research and production facility in Temple,
TX, further strengthening its ability to ensure customer success
in industrial 3D printing (FIGURE).
With the acquisition of Vulcan Labs’ team, EOS North Amer-
ica has now formed an entirely dedicated engineering services
group, says Glynn Fletcher, president of EOS North America.
In addition to the new engineering services group, other for-
mer Vulcan Labs engineers have been charged with helping
lead the further development and commercialization of the new
Integra P 400 polymer 3D printer, which is designed for the pro-
duction of high-quality, mid-temperature additive manufacturing
applications. Launched in December 2018 and currently avail-
able only in North America, the Integra P 400 is engineered and
manufactured in Texas and has already seen orders from nearly
a dozen organizations.
Former Vulcan Labs CEO and industry veteran David Leigh will
now serve in the role of chief operating officer at EOS North America.
EOS North America and the Vulcan Labs team. (Courtesy: EOS) For more information, please visit www.eos.info.

Award-winning programmable fiber laser


revolutionizing thin and thick metal processing.

www.nlight.net

www .industrial-lasers
NLight_ILS_1903 1 .com MARCH/APRIL 2019 Industrial Laser Solutions 11
2/15/19 1:42 PM

1903ILS05-13.indd 11 3/6/19 11:59 AM


update
Renishaw opens additive manufacturing centers in Spain and Italy
WOTTON-UNDER-EDGE, ENGLAND – To

accelerate the adoption of laser powder


bed fusion for series production appli-
cations, engineering company Ren-
ishaw has expanded its global network
of additive manufacturing Solutions Cen-
tres. The company has opened facilities
in Barcelona, Spain and Torino, Italy
to allow local companies to access its
equipment and expertise at a fixed and
predictable cost.
Launched in 2016, Renishaw’s Solu-
tions Centres enable businesses a secure
development environment to build their
knowledge and confidence using addi-
tive manufacturing technology (FIGURE).
The facilities are equipped with the latest
additive manufacturing systems, includ-
ing Renishaw’s multilaser machines, The interior of one of Renishaw’s additive manufacturing Solutions Centres is shown.
alongside all the metrology, finishing and
machining equipment required to make a specialists, who work closely with cus- prises over 70 offices in 36 countries. It
functional part. tomers on the engineering projects. The has recently expanded to new, larger loca-
Users of the company’s Solutions Cen- company offers support throughout the tions in Barcelona and Torino, which has
tres run projects to build their knowledge investigation and business case develop- enabled the establishment of the new Solu-
of the additive manufacturing process, ment process, so companies can opti- tions Centres that join those already opera-
understand the product performance mize their designs and gain the required tional in India, Canada, the U.S., China, Ger-
impact, and assess the capability and evidence to make investment decisions. many, and the UK.
costs of the technology. The centers are The company has invested significantly For more information, please visit www.
staffed by local additive manufacturing in its subsidiary network, which com- renishaw.com/solutionscentres.

X-ray laser pinpoints how defects ufacturers have been using a trial-and-er-
ror approach with different types of metals

occur in additive manufacturing and lasers to seek to reduce the defects.


Research shows that these vapor depres-
sions exist under nearly all conditions in the
PITTSBURGH, PA AND LEMONT, IL – A known called laser powder-bed fusion (LPBF), in process, no matter the laser or metal. Even
problem in additive manufacturing (also which lasers are used to melt and fuse more important, the research shows how to
known as 3D printing) is tiny gas pockets in material powder together. predict when a small depression will grow
the final product, which can lead to cracks The lasers, which scan over each layer into a big and unstable one that can poten-
and other failures. Recognizing this, a team of powder to fuse metal where it is needed, tially create a defect.
of researchers from Carnegie Mellon Uni- create the finished product. Defects can By using highly specialized equipment
versity and the Argonne National Labora- form when pockets of gas become trapped at Argonne’s APS, the researchers watched
tory has identified how and when these gas into these layers, causing imperfections that what happens as the laser moves across
pockets form, as well as a methodology to could lead to cracks or other breakdowns the metal powder bed to create each layer
predict their formation, which could dramat- in the final product. of the product.
ically improve the 3D printing process. Until now, manufacturers and research- Under perfect conditions, the melt
The scientists used the extremely ers did not know much about how the laser pool shape is shallow and semicircu-
bright high-energy x-rays at Argonne’s drills into the metal, producing cavities lar, called the conduction mode. But
Advanced Photon Source (APS), a DOE called vapor depressions, but they assumed during the actual printing process, the
Office of Science User Facility, to take that the type of metal powder or strength high-power laser, often moving at a low
ultrafast video and images of a process of laser were to blame. As a result, man- speed, can change the melt pool shape

12 Industrial Laser Solutions MARCH/APRIL 2019 www.industrial-lasers.com

1903ILS05-13.indd 12 3/6/19 11:59 AM


update
to something like a keyhole in a warded Ross Cunningham, a recent graduate from This, in turn, reveals the critical importance
lock: round and large on top, with a nar- Carnegie Mellon University and one of the of the laser focus in the additive manu-
row spike at bottom (FIGURE). Such key- co-first authors of this paper. “Our research facturing process, an element that has
hole mode melting can potentially lead to shows that you can predict the factors that received scant attention so far, according
defects in the final product. lead to a keyhole—which means you can to the research team.
“Based on this research, we now know also isolate those factors for better results.” The keyhole phenomenon was able
that the keyhole phenomenon is more The research shows that keyholes form to be viewed with such details because
important, in many ways, than the powder when a certain laser power density is of the scale and specialized capability
being used in additive manufacturing,” says reached that is sufficient to boil the metal. developed at Argonne, explains Tao Sun,
an Argonne physicist and an author on
This image, the paper. “The intense high-energy x-ray
taken under the beam at the APS is key to discoveries like
synchrotron at this,” he adds.
Argonne National The research team believes this
Laboratory, shows research could motivate makers of addi-
a keyhole void tive manufacturing machines to offer more
forming during flexibility when controlling the machines
the metal 3D and that the improved use of the machines
printing process; could lead to a significant improvement
during laser in the final product. In addition, if these
powder bed fusion, insights are acted upon, the process for
a 3D printer drills 3D printing could get faster.
a hole into the Full details of the work appear in the jour-
metal. nal Science.

The 1st of its kind Additive Manufacturing


Ensure Laser Performance
and Stability

When knowing your process


is a must
Focal spot shift during start-up

Focal spot size, laser power

and power density at the build plane
Changes in spot size & power density over time

The First 3D-Printed Aircraft Airbus
•Real-time M2: ISO 11146 compliant
debuted Thor in June 2016,
a mini-plane which is the first of • Air cooling – no water needed
its kind to fly successfully.
Call for an on-site measurement of your lasers performance
Question:
How much does Thor weigh?

46 pounds.

1903ILS05-13.indd 113
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2/21/19 10:15 AM
AM
a p p l i c a t i o n r e p o r t

Optimized additive
manufacturing for
lightweight metallic
components
RECYCLED ALUMINUM POWDER ENABLES Optimal processing window of the as-built
aluminum alloy parts fabricated by SLM

A COST-EFFECTIVE PROCESS Distance Distance


tolerance (mm) tolerance (mm)
AlSi10Mg 0.18 0.2 Al6061 -0.03 0.03
alloy Surface Ra (µm) alloy Rel. density (%)
AHMED MAAMOUN 5.5 9 98.6 98.7
Rel. density (%) Surface Ra (µm)

T
Scanning speed 99.3 99.8 Speed (mm/s) 3.2 6
(mm/s)
Decrease rel. 1300 Increase Ra
1400 density Undersize
Decrease rel. Potential
1300 Increase density decrease
Ra Ra
he upcoming industrial revolution 1200 1000
known as Industry 4.0 promises a Undersize
new age of advanced manufactur- Oversize
1000 Potential 800
ing. Industry 4.0 is powered by the 200 240 280 320 decrease Ra 250 280 310 Potential
Power (W) Power (W) increase rel. density
current development in some fields,
such as additive manufacturing (also FIGURE 1. The effect of the SLM process parameters on the
known as 3D printing), autonomous quality of as-built AlSi10Mg parts is shown.
robots, predictive maintenance and analytics, software inte-
gration, and cybersecurity. Additive manufacturing of metals
offers a variety of solutions to reduce current design and man- Recently, some significant contributions to improve the qual-
ufacturing limitations, and therefore will improve part perfor- ity and reduce the production cost of parts produced using
mance and customization. SLM were achieved by the author during his Ph.D. research.
Selective laser melting (SLM) is the commonly used tech- The work focused on optimizing the quality and cost of addi-
nique for the additive manufacturing of metals, using a laser tively manufactured aluminum parts applied in some critical
beam to melt each powder layer according to the slices gen- applications specifically for the metal mirrors of high-power
erated from the 3D CAD model. The technique can provide laser system or wide-view space telescopes.
near-net shape objects compared to subtractive manufactur- The primary goals of this research focused on reducing or
ing (CNC machining), and thus will have a significant impact eliminating the defects derived from the as-built parts such as
on workpiece development. microstructure inhomogeneity, porosity, and surface defects.
SLM can also be used to produce efficient tools for forming These targets were achieved through five comprehensive stud-
and die casting technologies. ies followed by a case study of a typical TMA telescope mirror.
Additive manufacturing of aluminum alloys promises a pro-
duction of efficient, flexibly designed, and lightweight parts Cost-effective recycled powder
using the SLM technique. However, some challenges to widen A full characterization of both fresh and recycled aluminum alloy
SLM applications, such as obtaining consistent material prop- (AlSi10Mg) powder, according to ASTM F3049-14, shows the
erties, improving the quality of fabricated parts, and reducing possibility of reusing it to be part of a cost-effective additive
their production cost, are an active research issue. manufacturing process using the SLM technique.1

14 Industrial Laser Solutions MARCH/APRIL 2019 www.industrial-lasers.com

1903ILS14-17.indd 14 3/6/19 11:59 AM


The recycled powder was reused for As-built
18 previous builds after providing proper
recycling procedures. The powder char- µm 148
60 400
acterization results showed similar prop- 30
erties between both fresh and recycled 0
AlSi10Mg 50 µm
powders, and there was no loss in the -30
-50
quality of parts fabricated using the recy-
cled powder. It is worthwhile to note that µm
60 189
the size of the sputtering particles of this 30
aluminum alloy exceeds 100 µm, and thus 0
356 50 µm
helps to exclude these particles after siev- Shot-peened -30
-50
ing with a mesh size of 75 µm. This work
has a significant impact on the production
Microhardness (HV) Residual stress (MPa)
cost reduction of each build process by
170 50
hundreds of dollars. As-built
160 0
Customization of the 150
Shot-peened -50
product quality 140
A comprehensive study regarding the -100
130 Shot-peened
effect of SLM process parameters on As-built
120 -150
the quality of parts was presented. A 2, 3

process map was established to opti- 110 -200


0 100 200 300 400 500 600 100 200 300 400
mize the performance characteristics Depth from the surface (µm) Depth from the surface (µm)
of the as-built aluminum parts fabri-
cated (FIGURE 1). FIGURE 3. The influence of shot peening on AlSi10Mg parts fabricated by additive
The process map was developed for manufacturing is shown.
Al6061 and AlSi10Mg alloys according
to the design of experiments (DOE) analysis using a full facto- Since some critical components, such as those used in aero-
rial technique. The developed map investigates the behavior space applications, need higher quality than that obtained from
of relative density, surface roughness, and dimensional accu- the as-built parts, it is necessary to apply post-processing treat-
racy along the selected range of the SLM process parame- ment to satisfy the design requirements of these components.
ters, in addition to characterizing the parts’ microstructure and
mechanical properties. Thermal post-processing of parts
It was found that AlSi10Mg is a more compatible alu- fabricated using recycled powder
minum alloy to be used for the SLM process than Al6061 FIGURE 2 illustrates the developed microhardness map after
alloy because of the relatively lower coefficient of ther- thermal post-processing of the as-built parts using recycled
mal expansion of AlSi10Mg, which prevents crack for- AlSi10Mg powder. The influence of thermal post-processing was
mation and part contraction after solidification. The opti- studied under different conditions, including annealing, solu-
mum relative density of 99.7% of parts is achieved using tion heat treatment (SHT), and T6 heat treatment (T6 HT). The
energy density of 50 J/mm 3 through a laser power of results showed a significant improvement in the microstructure
370 W, a scan speed of 1300 mm/s, and a 30 µm layer thickness. homogeneity under specific conditions with a variety of selec-
tion for the desired mechanical properties.
Additive manufacturing Thermal post-processing The developed map assists in the selec-
Inhomogeneous microstructure Homogeneous microstructure tion of optimized thermal post-processing
Fine grains Coarse grains Recrystallization
parameters, which could satisfy the design
As-built Annealing SHT T6HT requirements.1
y
Fresh x Shot peening improvement
powder
Shot peening was also applied to the
120
AlSi10Mg SLM Hardness Top area as-built part as a cold working process
(HV)110
Recycled
100 that bombards the part surface with
powder 90 spherical beads using high pressure.
Bottom
z 80 area Shot peening of the as-built AlSi10Mg
70
60 surfaces resulted in the elimination of the
0 100 200 300 400 5001 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Temperature (°C) Time (h) surface defects, microstructure refine-
ment, surface hardening, and the appli-
FIGURE 2. A microhardness map for thermal post-processing of AlSi10Mg samples shows cation of high compressive stress into a
a cross-section fabricated by SLM. specific depth from the sample surface

www.industrial-lasers.com MARCH/APRIL 2019 Industrial Laser Solutions 15

1903ILS14-17.indd 15 3/6/19 11:59 AM


a p p l i c a t i o n r e p o r t

(FIGURE 3).4 The increase of surface microhardness is extended properties. The method was studied as a localized treatment
along a specific depth from the sample surface up to 500 µm. on a large surface area of the as-built and hot isostatic pressed
The compressive residual stress generated along the peened (HIPed) AlSi10Mg parts using multiple FSP tool passes. The
area could lead to an improvement of the mechanical proper- influence of FSP on the microstructure, hardness, and residual
ties and fatigue strength of the sample surface. stresses of parts was investigated.5 FSP transforms the micro-
structure of parts into an equiaxed grain structure. A consistent
Friction stir processing for deep microstructure homogenization was achieved over the processed
localized surface treatment surface after applying a high ratio of tool pass overlap of ≥60%.
Friction stir processing (FSP) is considered to be an intense FIGURE 4 shows a map of microstructure and hardness that was
plastic deformation process that could change the material prepared to assist in the selection of the optimal FSP parame-
ters for attaining the required quality of
SLM (as-built) the final processed parts.
It is worthwhile to note that the pro-
cess maps developed in the studies
could help to customize the fabricated
z Hardness (HV)
part characteristics according to the
110
AlSi10Mg 100 desired quality to achieve its design
90 requirements. The ongoing efforts in
80
70 the R&D sector of the additive manufac-
60 turing field promise more considerable
50
40 achievements to overcome the as-built
FSP As-built HIP FSP FSP FSP
FSP defects completely. After that, additive
90% 25% 60% 90%
Tool overlap manufacturing could supply a qualified
part that satisfies both design and qual-
FIGURE 4. Friction stir processing of AlSi10Mg parts produced by SLM is shown. ity requirements.

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1903ILS14-17.indd 16 3/6/19 11:59 AM


Additive manufacturing reduces part
weight, improves its performance
A novel mirror structure is developed using the design for additive
manufacturing (DFAM) concept. This design achieved a weight
More Flexibility for
reduction of 50% as compared to the typical mirror structure.6
Moreover, the developed design offers an improvement of the mir-
Packaging and Textiles –
ror cooling performance due to the embedded cooling channels powerSCAN II
in the mirror surface (FIGURE 5). The ultraprecision machined sur-
face of the additively manufactured AlSi10Mg part showed a sur-
face roughness that
reached 2 nm using a) b)
the single-point dia-
mond turning (SPDT)
technique.
In general, addi-
tive manufacturing
will offer a cost-ef-
c) d)
fective production
process of an effi-
cient, customized,
and high-quality
product. The smart
factory 4.0 will pro-
vide many solutions FIGURE 5. The results of an optical
for existing produc- metallic mirror case study show a typical
tion limitations using design (a), developed design (b, c), and
additive manufactur- machined mirror surface (d).
ing and automation
systems. Current
achievements undoubtedly will lead to an increase in the produc-
tivity and the growth of various applications in different fields, such
as aerospace, automotive, biomedical, military, and beyond.
The new age of advanced manufacturing will start once the
underlying technology issues have been solved. At this time, con-
ventional design and production strategies will be changed towards
more flexible, productive, and smarter production systems. ✺
3D Scan System for Industrial Laser Cutting
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
• Designed for high-power CO2 lasers
The author would like to acknowledge Dr. Mo Elbestawi, Dr. Stephen Veldhuis, Dr. Julia Dosbaeva,
and Mr. Jack Xue for their contribution in the current work achievements.
• Perfect cutting results thanks to smallest laser spots
REFERENCES
1. A. H. Maamoun, M. Elbestawi, G. K. Dosbaeva, and S. C. Veldhuis, Addit. Manuf., 21, 234–247 • Variable scan field enabled by FLEX option
(2018); https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addma.2018.03.014.
2. A. H. Maamoun, Y. F. Xue, M. A. Elbestawi, and S. C. Veldhuis, Materials, 11, 2343 (2018); https:// • Light weight mirrors for highest cutting speeds
doi.org/10.3390/ma11122343.
3. A. H. Maamoun, Y. F. Xue, M. A. Elbestawi, and S. C. Veldhuis, Materials, 12, 12 (2019); https://
• Compact, sealed housing
doi.org/10.3390/ma12010012.
4. A. Maamoun, M. Elbestawi, and S. Veldhuis, J. Manuf. Mater. Process., 2, 40 (2018); https://doi.
org/10.3390/jmmp2030040.
5. A. H. Maamoun, S. C. Veldhuis, and M. Elbestawi, J. Mater. Process. Technol., 263, 308–320
(2019); https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmatprotec.2018.08.030.
6. A. H. Maamoun, “Selective laser melting and post-processing for lightweight metallic optical
components,” Ph.D. Thesis, McMaster University (Jan. 2019); www.researchgate.net/profile/
ahmed_maamoun5.

DR. AHMED MAAMOUN (maamouna@mcmaster.ca) is a research assistant in the www.scanlab.de


Additive Manufacturing Group (AMG) and the McMaster Manufacturing Research
Institute at McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada; www.eng.mcmaster.ca/
mcmaster-manufacturing-research-institute-mmri.

www.industrial-lasers.com

1903ILS14-17.indd 17 3/6/19 11:59 AM


a p p l i c a t i o n r e p o r t

Laser joining process


yields metal-
thermoplastic
hybrid parts
ADHESIVE BONDING AND LASER REMOTE

TECHNOLOGY JOIN PLASTIC TO METAL

ANNETT KLOTZBACH

L
oad-adapted hybrid con-
nections made of metals
and thermoplastics have
become more important
as they are used for sev-
eral industrial applica-
tions, especially in the area
of lightweight construction. For efficient process
chains and specific load cases, an optimized pre-
FIGURE 1. Laser surface
treatment and joining technology, as well as adapted An industrial bonding process also has its dif-
pretreatment of mild
tools for process simulation and characterization of ficulties, though. While in mechanical connec-
steel before thermal
properties, are required. For this purpose, the laser tions, the transfer of loads is achieved by means
direct joining is shown.
can be the key to success. of a pure form and force fit, but bonding requires
With a strict implementation of function-inte- an optimized material contact between the sur-
grated lightweight construction, local load differences influ- faces. The adhesive forces acting on the boundary layer of both
ence the use of materials of different classes. The connection materials, which is only a few microns thick, react very sensi-
of the various subcomponents places special demands on tively to changes. Contamination by oils and preservatives or
the joining technology. For example, metal inserts and screw flatness tolerances can lead to drastic losses in strength. To
bushings are bonded onto plastics during the injection mold- achieve transmission strength comparable to that of a screw
ing process. Preferred joining processes are the attachment connection, large surfaces are bonded.
of clips, screw connections, or rivets. However, gluing has also However, bonding proves to be uneconomical due to the
increasingly found its way into the automotive industry, espe- process sensitivity, the required connection area, and a large
cially where plastic fairing parts are bonded with metallic stiff- number of individual process steps. Typically, both joining part-
ening structures. ners are cleaned or pretreated before bonding, followed by the
Consider the tailgate of a BMW i3, for example, where application of the adhesive, fixation of both joining partners,
more than 11 meters of adhesive seam provide structural and the curing of the adhesive (chemical reaction).
strength, improved crash performance, and simple toler- Efficiency increases of the industrial bonding processes
ance compensation. have, for example, been achieved by using a laser pretreatment.

18 Industrial Laser Solutions MARCH/APRIL 2019 www.industrial-lasers.com

1903ILS18-21.indd 18 3/6/19 11:59 AM


CW lasers to produce coarse struc-
tures with ablation depths up to 200
µm, so that fibers and highly viscous
plastic melt can also penetrate and
anchor themselves.
FIGURE 2 shows the cross-sec-
tion of a thermal direct joined con-
2 mm nection. The structures were com-
pletely filled with matrix and fibers.
Depending on the type of load, dif-
FIGURE 2. A cross-section of a
ferent ablation regimes are used.
metal-thermoplastic connection
200 µm Simple line and cross structures
(mild steel and glass fiber-reinforced
offer a good possibility to fill the
PA6), which was accomplished by
cavities completely with plastic.
thermal direct joining and laser
The combination of ablation and the
macrostructuring, is shown.
Here, the surfaces are cleaned from contamina- melting process provides an addi-
tions and simultaneously roughened, mostly by tional undercut due to melt adhe-
pulsed lasers to increase the area reacting with the adhesive. If sion. Using a solid-state laser with high beam quality (for
this ablation process is intensified—for example, by using con- example, 3 kW laser power), ablation rates of 100 to 500 mm2/s
tinuous-wave (CW) power lasers in the kilowatt range, deep (typical) are achievable.
trench structures can be created (FIGURE 1). Filling the result-
ing cavities with adhesives or plastic melt, a macroscopic form Laser structuring is not everything
closure is created. Thermal direct joining only proves to be efficient if the metal
This pretreatment strategy now offers the possibility of join- is heated and cooled very quickly. This can be done flexibly
ing materials more reliably by means of combination of adhe- by short-term heating using laser radiation. Similar to a sur-
sive bond and form fit. face-hardening process, the metal is heated from the side fac-
ing away from the joint. The rapid heating of any surfaces is
Fast joining due to controlled heating possible by the combination of a fast, controllable power laser
Another approach to simplify the production of hybrid connec- in the 800–1100 nm range and a scanner optic. FIGURE 3 shows
tions is thermal direct joining, in which metal and thermoplas- the stiffening structure of a middle armrest made of fiber-re-
tic are pressed together. Rapid heating of the metal causes inforced PA6 and mild steel. Here, the welding assembly and
melting of the thermoplastic in the contact area, which wets the cover plates were connected to an organo sheet by means
the surface and solidifies during cooling. This principle can be of laser heating.
applied to surfaces of any size and to various material com- Since the joining interface is not directly accessible, the
binations. Due to the clearly different coefficients of thermal sheet thickness and the temperature gradient generated in
expansion, high shear stresses occur in the boundary layer. the metal are specific because the melting temperature of the
To be able to absorb these stresses in addition to the loads
occurring during the use, either the plastic must be modified
or the metallic surface must be pretreated.
An industrially preferred process is the coating of the sheets
with adhesion promoter systems in the coil coating process.
The metallic semi-finished products are coated, formed, and
punched. Subsequently, thermoplastic fiber composite parts
can be bonded onto the metal by hot pressing.
Here, it can also be shown that brilliant-power lasers sim-
plify pretreatment. The macrostructures produced on the metal
surface are filled with the molten thermoplastic during thermal
direct joining. During solidification, the thermoplastic shrinks
and thus hooks into the metal structure.

Laser ablation ensure optimum plastic anchoring


Currently, various approaches to topography design for opti-
mized thermoplastic bonding are being investigated. For
example, ultrashort-pulse lasers generate specially shaped
microstructures that can be penetrated by the low-viscos-
ity plastic melt. In contrast, the approach by researchers at FIGURE 3. A stiffening structure of a middle armrest
the Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology (feasibility study) made from joined mild steel and glass fiber-
(Fraunhofer IWS; Dresden, Germany) is based on the use of reinforced PA6 is shown.

www.industrial-lasers.com MARCH/APRIL 2019 Industrial Laser Solutions 19

1903ILS18-21.indd 19 3/6/19 11:59 AM


a p p l i c a t i o n r e p o r t

thermoplastic must be maintained. The contact pressure also plays can easily be adapted to different heat dissipation conditions by
an important role, as it balances the tolerances so that the cavities scanner systems, inductive heating requires a geometry-adapted
can be filled by plastic and fibers. coil design. Corresponding finite element simulation tools have
However, there are also disadvantages with the laser process. therefore been developed and validated at Fraunhofer IWS. They
The principle of thermal direct joining is based on simultaneous are based on the COMSOL Multiphysics platform, and consider
pressing of the parts against each other and heating. Therefore, a the local energy coupling as well as the material-dependent heat
direct accessibility to all joints must be guaranteed. With complex conduction. Since in most cases it is only possible to work in the
parts, this is often impossible. outer field of the coil, it is also necessary to use field concentrators.
With a suitable design, the coupling efficiency can be increased up
Fast heating by induction to a factor of 10. FIGURE 4 shows the basic principle of eddy current
In the case of complex accessibility, short-term heating by induc- guidance using field concentrators.
tion offers many advantages. An electromagnetic alternating field is
created by a geometry-adapted current-carrying coil, which gener- Induction or laser heating: which is the best?
ates eddy currents and thus heats the electrically conductive joining Comparative studies with both laser and inductive heating have
partner. Depending produced comparable joint strengths. To compare the results
on the frequency obtained with bonding, tensile shear tests were carried out on
range used, either single overlapped joints in accordance with DIN EN 1465 (join-
volume heating takes ing surface: 12.5 × 25 mm2). The strength of material combina-
Inductor Inductor
place or the heat is tions of continuous glass fiber-reinforced PA6 with stainless steel,
generated directly in aluminum, or mild steel was approximately 25 MPa. The fracture
the boundary layer occurred almost exclusively in the base material of the composite.
by exploiting the When using higher strength materials such as carbon fiber-rein-
skin effect. FIGURE 4. The basic principle of eddy forced polyetherketoneketone (PEKK), strengths of up to 30 MPa
In contrast to current guidance using field concentrators with partial fiber breakage could be achieved. The strengths deter-
laser heating, which for heat efficiency increase. mined are in the range of systems joined or bonded with adhesion
promoters. The resistance of the joint to alternating climatic loads
was also successfully validated.
If, on the other hand, the load limits in oblique or head tension are
considered, it must be stated that there is still a need for research.

FIGURE 5. A robot-guided spot-welding gun for metal-


thermoplastic connections is shown.

20 Industrial Laser Solutions MARCH/APRIL 2019 www.industrial-lasers.com

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1903ILS18-21.indd 20 3/6/19 11:59 AM


LITTLE TO
NO-DEFECT
COPPER
WELDING
FIGURE 6. Fixation of composite structures for local stiffening using HPCI technology is
shown (also see http://s.fhg.de/hpci-clip).

This results from the adhesion mechanism, them to die-cast aluminum. Additional
From foils...
consisting primarily of a form-fit with small flanges for a screw connection, as well
amounts of adhesion bond. as seals, can thus be omitted.
When considering the achievable join- In addition, the technology has been
ing times, significant differences between further developed so that automated
inductive and laser heating could be deter- point-like joining is also possible. With the
mined. Therefore, induction enables more technology marketed as HeatPressCool- 40 x 10µm foils
targeted heating so that, for example, the Integrative (HPCI), the joining partners are
above-mentioned standardized joining sur- pressed together similar to a conventional
faces of mild steel with 1–2 s heating time spot-welding gun (FIGURE 5). A ring induc-
was required. In the case of laser heating, tor arranged around the punch heats the To 1mm copper
3–5 s had to be applied to heat the mild joining area. The thermoplastic melts and
steel through without locally risking melt- binds to the metal. The special feature of
ing of the surface. this technology is the possibility of locally
Thermal direct joining has been devel- connecting plastic panels to metal inserts
oped and qualified by research institu- for use in, for example, kitchen utensils,
tions and companies for several years. lamps, and other consumer products. 1mm Copper thick
However, the industrial applications in Furthermore, larger components can
series production are still very limited. be flexibly pre-fixed to overall structures
The reason for this is the complex com- or directly bonded. Due to the compact
ponent design leading to function-inte-
grated hybrid designs. The choice of the
design of the system technology, the tools
are designed in such a way that conven-
...AND
right material in the right place requires
the innovative viewpoint of the designers.
tional handling technology can be used
(such as industrial robots), and thus the
FAST
The pure substitution of a metal compo- HPCI technology can be integrated into
nent by a plastic or composite part leads complex assembly chains (FIGURE 6). This is
to weight savings on the one hand, but at the best precondition for a comprehensive
a significantly higher cost. Nevertheless, introduction to industrial manufacturing. ✺
certain areas of application for the tech-
nology have already crystallized. For ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
example, laser structuring before injec- HPCI is a registered trademark of THE BLUE LASER
tion molding is used as an alternative to Fraunhofer IWS.
primer application or plastic modification
COMPANY™
for small series production. In thermal ANNETT KLOTZBACH (annett.klotzbach@iws.
fraunhofer.de) is Group Leader, Bonding and
direct joining, the industry aims to man-
Composite Technology at the Fraunhofer
www.nuburu.net
ufacture housing components or con- Institute for Material and Beam Technology
necting elements from temperature- and (Fraunhofer IWS), Dresden, Germany; www.
media-stable thermoplastics to connect iws.fraunhofer.de.

www.industrial-lasers.com MARCH/APRIL 2019 Industrial Laser Solutions 21


Nuburu_ILS_1903 1 2/19/19 2:28 PM

1903ILS18-21.indd 21 3/6/19 11:59 AM


a p p l i c a t i o n r e p o r t

Laser beam shaping


for innovative applications
a hundred thousand
WHY LASER BEAM SHAPING IS pulses per second).
The standout fea-
NECESSARY FOR MICRODRILLING ture of these lasers
is that they concen-
WITH ULTRASHORT-PULSE LASERS trate the luminous
intensity of a pulse
SAMI LAROUI 30 µm
in an extremely short
duration of time—

M
on the order of a
FIGURE 1. A fuel-injection head hole picosecond (10-12 s)
drilled by femtosecond laser pulses is down to a few tens
shown. (Credit: TRUMPF) of femtoseconds
icrolaser drilling is one of (10-15 s). Each pulse
the most common and carries a certain amount of energy, but its briefness allows it
frequently used laser pro- to attain considerable peak power (up to several terawatts). In
cesses by industry. The the case of USP lasers, the pulses are so short and energetic
wide variety of laser source that they cause a near-instantaneous removal of the material
types makes it possible to being irradiated. Rather than removing material by having their
process a diverse range energy absorbed as heat like more conventional lasers, the
of materials (metals, ceramics, semiconductors, polymers, ultrashort pulses of these lasers cause the ionization of mat-
organic materials, etc.) with unprecedented reproducibility, ter without thermal effects. This effect is known as cold abla-
accuracy, and speed. Microdrilling is prominent in many indus- tion, allowing minimal internal stress, cracks, burrs, and other
tries, such as automotive, aerospace, and electronics, and even defects normally caused by heat absorption.2 USP lasers make
for laser surgery and in the food industry. For example, the abil- it possible to quickly drill up to several thousand holes per
ity of this process to drill high-aspect-ratio holes down to the second7 with diameters smaller than with any other process (a
micrometer scale has recently led to the development of new few micrometers; FIGURE 1). In addition, because this process
injection nozzles for the automotive industry, improving engine requires little to zero post-processing of the machined mate-
fuel efficiency up to 30%.1 rial, high-speed lasers can provide a high production rate at
lower costs,4 and the availability of increasingly compact and
Ultrashort-pulse lasers economical commercial USP lasers justifies their use for more
Drilling smaller holes, increasing the drilling rate, enhancing and more industrial applications.
the accuracy and quality of the holes, and reducing the energy
consumption of the process led to a constant need to increase Laser beam shaping
the output and quality of the industrial processes. This, in line However, to truly maximize the effectiveness, quality, resolu-
with new, specific needs, leads to the regular development of tion, and efficiency of the process, it is necessary to apply a
new laser drilling techniques. One of the latest major innova- laser beam shaping technology adapted to the given appli-
tions is the use of what are known as ultrashort-pulse lasers cation. A laser beam naturally has a non-uniform transverse
(USPs; see Editor’s Note) micromachining tools. energy distribution (FIGURE 2), which can lead to unnecessary
Ultrashort-pulse lasers deliver short and intense pulses of energy losses, inaccuracies, and drilling irregularities. The
light, generally at high repetition rates (sometimes more than type of material, the parameters of the holes, the quality of the

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Industrial Laser Solutions International Editorial Advisory Board decided, by consensus, to use the term
ultrashort-pulse (USP) lasers for industrial laser material processing with pico- and femtosecond pulses. It may be more
common to see ultrafast-pulse (UFP) lasers used in some markets, but Dr. Geoff Shannon (Coherent), a leading femtosec-
ond process developer and ILS Editorial Advisor, makes a good case for the USP laser acronym: http://bit.ly/2HZD9Ed.

22 Industrial Laser Solutions MARCH/APRIL 2019 www.industrial-lasers.com

1903ILS22-23.indd 22 3/6/19 11:59 AM


drilling, and the production rates are all fac- are typically used on an industrial scale, increasing number of applications. Long
tors to be taken into account, and require but they tend to be limited in terms of the reserved for prototyping and microma-
optimization of the way in which the inten- type of shapes that can be chining applications with small pro-
sity of the laser pulses is distributed in the duction volumes, this technique is
material being treated. a) increasingly used as a top method
Depending on the application-specific Intensity for a growing number of applications
needs, it may be necessary to concentrate on a larger scale, such as the manu-
the laser energy uniformly, to shape the facturing of arterial stents, OLED pan-
beam into a certain profile, or even to gen- els, and injection heads9 with greater
erate several beams to treat several areas Processing threshold and greater productivity. To ensure
simultaneously4,5 and multiply the produc- sufficient production rates with opti-
tivity of the process. For example, one fre- Wasted energy mum machining quality, laser beam shap-
quently used beam shape is the flat-top Transverse ing maximizes the efficiency of the pro-
profile (FIGURE 3a), which makes it possible Spot diameter position cess. This is why it is necessary to have
to obtain a laser spot of uniform intensity
b) Propagation distance (µm)
and thereby pierce with better resolution 13 µm
200 150 100 50 0
and regular depth.6
Another frequently used shape is the 25°
Bessel beam, which enables the propa-
gated energy to be intensely focused in
a small but elongated zone over a long 30°
distance (FIGURE 3b). It is therefore par-
ticularly useful for the drilling of small-di- I/Imax
ameter holes (sometimes under a microm- 20 35°
µm
eter in diameter) with a high aspect ratio 0 1
(holes with a depth-to-diameter ratio much
greater than 10:1). This shape is notably FIGURE 3. A flat-top beam profile (a) and the experimental intensity profile of a Bessel
used for the machining of transparent beam (b) are shown. (Credits: CAILabs and P. Boucher et al., respectively)
materials8 such as glass or sapphire. For
more specific applications, it may be nec- obtained, suffer from a shallow depth of a beam shaping technology that is able to
essary to produce beams of more specific field (useful depth for drilling), and may meet the challenges of new microlaser drill-
geometries, such as for machining pho- have a reduced efficiency and a high price, ing applications, accompanying the evolu-
tonic crystals or electronic microcompo- depending on the application. tion of the process. ✺
nents using mask-free lithography. More recently, Multi-Plane Light
It is therefore necessary for optimization Conversion (MPLC) technology provides a REFERENCES
of the process to integrate a laser beam great amount of freedom in terms of beam 1. M. Mielke, Laser Focus World, 49, 11 (Nov. 2013); http://bit.
ly/2RJY0eg.
shaping unit in laser microdrilling systems. shaping while presenting a high conversion
2. K. Sugioka and Y. Chang, Light Sci. Appl., 3, e149 (2014);
There are several types of beam shap- efficiency (>95%). Developed by CAILabs https://go.nature.com/2UN2ouN.
ing technology, such as refractive optical since 2013, MPLC technology has achieved 3. K. Sugioka, Nanophotonics, 6, 2, 393–413 (2017); http://bit.
elements (ROEs), diffractive optical ele- record results in shape parameters, depth of ly/2MTc1p6.
4. S. Sullivan, Industrial Laser Solutions, 31, 3 (May/Jun. 2016);
ments (DOEs), and spatial light modulators field, and energy efficiency. It makes it pos- http://bit.ly/2Gvpr9w.
(SLMs). These technologies sible to generate standard shapes for 5. E. Mottay, Industrial Laser Solutions, 32, 4 (Jul/Aug. 2017);
the laser industry, such as flat-top and http://bit.ly/2TIrRFP.
6. K. Fuse, Laser Tech. J., 12, 2, 19–22 (Apr. 1, 2015); http://
Bessel beams (FIGURE 3), as well as
Gaussian bit.ly/2MYpLz2.
Intensity intensity profile customized shapes for more specific 7. M. K. Bhuyan et al., Appl. Phys. Lett., 97, 081102 (2010);
applications, regardless of the wave- https://doi.org/10.1063/1.3479419.
8. F. Courvoisier, J. Zhang, M. Bhuyan, M. Jacquot, and J.
lengths used. In addition, it offers new
M. Dudley, Appl. Phys. A, 112, 29–34 (2013); http://bit.
features such as the combined shap- ly/2Gs6wwq.
Processing threshold
ing of several beams, enabling the 9. B. Peatman, Industrial Laser Solutions online (May 3, 2017);
generation of complex shapes. http://bit.ly/2RMhgaQ.

Wasted energy
SAMI LAROUI (sami@cailabs.com) is a pre-sales en-
In the future
Transverse gineer at CAILabs, Rennes, France; www.cailabs.com.
Spot diameter position The constant evolution of USP laser There, he contributes to the development and com-
sources, especially in terms of power, effi- mercialization of innovative optical solutions that opti-
FIGURE 2. Non-uniform distribution of the ciency, and cost, makes USP laser micro- mize the quality and performance of laser machining
intensity of a laser beam is shown. drilling a process that can be used by an processes.

www.industrial-lasers.com MARCH/APRIL 2019 Industrial Laser Solutions 23

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t e c h n o l o g y r e p o r t

Laser additive
manufacturing
moves forward in
Eastern Europe
SEVERAL COMPANIES ARE

ADOPTING THE TECHNOLOGY,

BUT MORE R&D IS NEEDED

EVGENY MOLCHANOV

T
he Eastern European countries
Poland, Czech Republic, Romania,
Slovenia, Slovakia, Livonia, Latvia,
and Estonia are a part of the European
Union (EU) and are deeply involved in FIGURE 1. Using
the European scientific society. The SLM, it is possible 2015-2020” roadmap that 3D printing is
main research and development to make stainless one of the most important trends for R&D
(R&D) program is Horizon 2020, a program that is working to 316L components and education.
develop Industry 4.0 and localized additive technologies. with many angles. The education of IT engineers for this
Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia have independent academic industry has already started. Many play-
backgrounds and their own R&D centers. Over the last 10 years, ers see huge potential in joining IT industrial platforms at com-
substantial investment was made in the technological 3D print- panies that are producing, developing, and designing new
ing base in universities and corporations that only found a few products because this offers the possibility for efficient coop-
success stories for industrial production. eration. Using production capacity is an open question for
many companies and focuses on main advantages for every
Company adoption business, as it is not always necessary for companies to buy
On March 19, 2018, SondaSys (Ogrodzieniec, Poland; www. their own machines or hire specialized staff.
sondasys.com) began production using stereolithography (SLA) Russia, the biggest economy in Eastern Europe, has huge
and selective laser melting (SLM) 3D printers in cooperation potential, but needs a lot of R&D for every application. Many
with the Chinese 3D printing company ZRapid Tech (Suzhou, of the Russian Government’s corporations have announced
China; www.zero-tek.com). At the Seventh International programs for developing industrial technologies and have
Conference on Lasers in Medicine (held July 13-13, 2017 in invested in it—however, moving it into the industrial phase
Timisoara, Romania), interest was shown for new applications remains a challenge.
in medicine with laser-based additive manufacturing meth- One of the metal powder suppliers to the Russian market
ods for metal-ceramic. The Transport and Telecommunication is Polema JSC (Tula, Russia; www.polema-rus.com), which
Institute (Riga, Latvia) includes in the “Research program for mastered production of materials for metal 3D printing in 2014.

24 Industrial Laser Solutions MARCH/APRIL 2019 www.industrial-lasers.com

1903ILS24-26.indd 24 3/6/19 11:59 AM


In 2018, the company commissioned and question is certification for using implants
started the unique equipment stock. The in daily surgical practice.
project is remarkable because the com- Major interest for laser additive manu-
pany not only started production of the facturing came from turbine and jet engine
traditional materials for additive manu- manufacturers because of the big advan-
facturing, but also has the possibility for tages that GE (Boston, MA) brought to QUALITY OPTICS FOR OVER A CENTURY
industrial production of spherical pow- this business. United Engine Corporation
ders of refractory metals such as tung- (UEC; Moscow – www.uecrus.com) is
sten, molybdenum, chromium and close involving R&D academic partners and
sizing. The research work at the company investing in a program of interest in addi-
is also developing new powdered materials tive technologies like SLM for production
with unique properties that are on the way and laser cladding for repairing and pro-
to the market. Polema sees great potential duction. Efforts for developing processes
in the additive manufacturing market and and issues with certification for aviation
presented powders for 3D printing at the need to be done before we can see printed
Formnext 2018 trade fair (held November turbine blades in aircraft. Use of ceram-
13-16, 2018 in Frankfurt, Germany). ics for jet engine components and print-
The main technology equipment pro- ing them is very positive news.
ducers like EOS (Krailling, Germany), 3D printing for space applications is
SLM Solutions (Lübeck, Germany), and very interesting for economic issues.
TRUMPF (Ditzingen, Germany) want to The Russian Government offered several
find the best suitable business models R&D grants for equipment and processes
with local corporations and R&D part- and this is still in the development phase.
ners for adaptation of their processes to The same situation exists in the nuclear
local requirements. industry, with huge potential and regula-
HIGH PERFORMANCE
Conmet (www.conmet.ru), an implant tion limitations.
producer from Moscow, has its roots from
worldwide titanium producer VSMPO
The United Company RUSAL (Moscow;
https://rusal.ru), the world’s second larg-
Laser Debris
AVISMA (Verkhnaya Salda, Russia; www.
vsmpo.ru) and previous owner Tetuhin
est aluminum company by primary pro-
duction output, is trying to find new Shields
Vladislav. Conmet started with a TRUMPF markets for aluminum powder through
machine to develop processing for produc- additive technology development. Many
AVAILABLE IN DIAMETERS:
tion of personal implants. It is not easy to activities are focused on business diversi-
meet medical regulations for implementing fication with aluminum printing. The com- 50 m m
new technologies everywhere. The open pany has its own facility for aluminum
55 m m
134 m m
Custom Si z es

at www.unitedlens.com
or call 508-765-5421

N EXT-DAY S H IP P IN G
FOR S ELECT ORD ERS

DDTC
REGISTERED
9001:2015 Made in USA

FIGURE 2. An assortment of stainless steel 316L parts, ready for polishing, made using
SLM are shown.

www.industrial-lasers.com MARCH/APRIL 2019 Industrial Laser Solutions 25


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1903ILS24-26.indd 25 3/6/19 11:59 AM


t e c h n o l o g y r e p o r t

Best uses
Flexibility is one of the
largest advantages in 3D
printing fit to Industry 4.0
paradigms. Additive tech-
nologies have almost 100%
flexibility in design, so the
next step is to fit them
with other production pro-
cesses and get more flexi-
bility for all of them.
As an example, sheet
processing technolo-
gies such as laser, water
jet, plasma cutting, and
punching also have a very
high level of flexibility, but
are limited because after
cutting, many parts go
to bending. Press-brake
bending technology can
be automated, but it is not
a flexible solution due to
the limitation of bending
tooling and the combina-
tion of 3D printing and fully
automated sheet process-
FIGURE 3. Holes of different diameters in 316L stainless steel printed using SLM are shown.
ing running manufacturing
powder production and the best way to commercialize alumi- to Industry 4.0 bending force. The idea is to move designing sheet
num powder. metal products with requirements for production with flexible robot-
Sovremennoe Oborudovanie (Solver Group; Moscow – www. ized press-brake cells. It is possible to make technological pro-
solver.ru) is an integrator of solutions with additive technologies. cesses with a fully automated design and production chain. This
The company business involves modernizing manufacturing com- production is possible because a theoretical bending model cal-
panies with additive technologies. Owners and management of culates all material spring-back and spring-forward for complex
production companies are increasingly interested in additive tech- bending geometrics and raw material verification.
nologies that are complicated enough for their own high-quality Additive technologies can be successfully integrated into pro-
implementation. It is a big advantage in reducing production time duction when all issues, such as processing, economics, and man-
for changing one product’s specification to another, technologi- agement, are considered. One of the main issues is production
cal and assembly operations, facilitating the designs of the parts, cost estimation in the development stage because it is the easiest
and assemblies being developed can be accomplished with addi- for cost reduction. When product development is complete and
tive technologies. Complex projects require integrators with a high it enters the production phase, it is very complicated and expen-
level of competence in a wide range of basic and auxiliary tech- sive to change production costs.
nological processes. International experience shows that the best way to use 3D
Rena Solutions (Tolyatti, Russia; www.rena-solutions.ru), an printing is to develop new business models and optimize it.
automation processing integrator, has experience in develop- Companies that successfully integrate additive technologies in
ing solutions for many automotive companies, including Tier 1 production first find advantages in business processes. There
(FIGURES 1-3). The big change in the last two years has been more are other ways to satisfy customers with new products or advan-
inquiries for automation and quality control for 3D printing parts tages, activities in universities and associations with workshops,
from big industrial players. This company is developing technical conferences and exhibitions, and shows. In Eastern Europe, there
vision for checking roughness after 3D printing on the surface. This is a huge potential for 3D printing in industrial businesses and
application needs to have new algorithms for analysis with high res- it is one of the most attractive technologies for new business,
olution and different geometry in millisecond time. A very import- but it needs to show how to bring the economy to another level
ant issue in this task is using artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to be effective. ✺
to detect deviations and creating a base with part photos. At the
moment, there is not an understanding of how to scale technology EVGENY MOLCHANOV (evgeny.molchanov@rena-solutions.ru) is the commercial
for big verification applications. director at Rena Solutions, Tolyatti, Russia; http://rena-solutions.ru.

26 Industrial Laser Solutions MARCH/APRIL 2019 www.industrial-lasers.com

1903ILS24-26.indd 26 3/6/19 11:59 AM


CALENDAR

MARCH 29-31 Laser Safety Officer Training,


18-21 International Laser Safety Orlando, FL; https://www.lia.org/training/
FOR SUBSCRIPTION INQUIRIES: Toll-free: 1-800-869-6882; International Callers: non-medical/classroom-courses/laser-
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IN EUROPE: Mailfast, JFK/BOS/850858, P.O. Box 66, Hounslow, United Kingdom
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Group Publisher Alan Bergstein photonics-china.com Analysis Training, Orlando, FL; https://
(603) 891-9447 • alanb@pennwell.com www.lia.org/training/non-medical/
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(603) 891-9116 • leed@pennwell.com waset.org/conference/2019/03/dubai/ 4-6 Advanced Laser Applications
Editorial Assistant Virginia E. Belforte icalmp Workshop (ALAW 2019), Plymouth, MI;
International Editorial http://alaw.fmanet.org
31-April 4 Additive Manufacturing Users
Advisory Board Bo Gu – PhD, MA, MsC (laser processing in China)
Geoff Shannon – Ph.D., BS (laser welding, micromachining) Group Conference (AMUG 2019), Chicago, 24-27 Lasers in Manufacturing (LiM)
Stan Ream – MS, BS (laser materials processing) IL; www.amug.com/amug-conference 2019, Munich, Germany; www.wlt.de/lim
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Brian Victor – MS, BS (laser materials processing) www.blechindia.com/2019/english photonics.com
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29-May 2 AeroDef Manufacturing JULY
Creative Director Meg Fuschetti Conference (AeroDef 2019), Long Beach, 9-11 SEMICON West 2019, San Francisco,
Production Manager Sheila Ward CA; www.aerodefevent.com CA; www.semiconwest.org
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Taiwan Diana Wei Elixir Photonics.................................................................................................................................. 9
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President and Mark C. Wilmoth Johnson Plastic Plus ....................................................................................................................... 16
Chief Executive Officer
Laser Mechanisms, Inc. ..................................................................................................................C3
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Nuburu Inc....................................................................................................................................... 21
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1903ILS27.indd 27 3/6/19 12:00 PM


my view

Then and now

S
everal widely promoted applica- where they caused the CO2 laser beam to ‘blos-
tions, very high power (10 kW+) som’ and lose focus right in the middle of a pro-
thick-section fiber laser cutting and cess. This generated consternation among visiting
laser cutting underwater, prompt- manufacturing engineers and there was always
ed me to recall that I have been in- a lot of excuses as the ambient air cleared. We
volved in the field of high-energy density materi- alibied answers to questions about it from our
al processing for a long time, as these were ‘goes potential customers, many of whom returned to
around comes around’ processes. Actually, I’ve their industrial companies with tales of the secret
been involved for a very long time, as I will cele- laser experiments they had overheard.
brate 50 years in industrial laser material process- Well, that was then and this is now. It’s 2019,
ing next year. And prior to this, I also had seven and the more-than $5 billion laser industry contin-
years in electron beam welding. My laser back- ues to deliver advanced laser solutions to today’s
GROWING LASER
ground was entwined with that of laser weapons, processing problems. A qualified group of authors
which were brought back to mind in a recently has contributed feature articles on current hot
INDUSTRY published, very readable book written by friend topics: additive manufacturing, joining plastics
and associate Jeff Hecht—Lasers, Death Rays, to metals, controllable beam shaping, and black
CONTINUES TO and the Long Strange Quest for the Ultimate marking of medical devices.
Weapon (Prometheus Books). Ahmed Maamoun (McMaster University)
Back then, as a member of the Research Staff addresses concerns with expensive cost and the
SOLVE PROCESSING
at Raytheon Company, I was part of a ceramic fabricated part’s quality in additive manufacturing
engineering group charged with growing ruby aluminum parts by sharing his research on solu-
PROBLEMS crystals to make the rods for high-output-power tions to some related challenges by using recy-
solid-state lasers, in a company bid for substan- cled aluminum powder and how process maps
tive government funding. Jeff covers this laser can be generated for additive manufacturing and
development period nicely in his book, although post-processing treatments to achieve desired
he passes on this early Raytheon effort. But he quality (see page 14).
does mention how material processing lasers, Companies in Eastern Europe may find this use-
those I eventually worked with, were at one point ful, as Evgeny Molchanov (Rena Solutions) reports
considered as an alternative to unproven new that laser additive manufacturing is in a catchup
laser technology. mode because user companies there are slowly
Jeff also discusses a then-secret, high-en- finding cost-effective solutions (see page 24).
ergy laser that was being tested in a lab adja- Perhaps hotter in Europe than in the U.S. is
cent to the industrial high-power CO2 application laser joining plastics to metals. Annett Klotzbach
lab when I was Director of Applications at Avco and peers (Fraunhofer IWS) have achieved self-de-
Everett Metalworking Lasers. Every time they fined goals of developing productive solutions for
fired off a pulse, it was followed by a giant blow- direct and form-fit joining (see page 18).
down of byproducts that prompted its then-se- And Europe also seems to be leading the
cret name—Thumper. Industrial Laser Solutions charge with adaptive beam shaping to simultane-
Editorial Advisor Stan Ream, who was our appli- ously improve laser drilling process results, writes
cations engineer then, today still remembers that Sami Laroui (CAILabs; see page 22).
“It used to scare the c..p out of us and dust fell off
the walls.” These gases were sucked up by our David A. Belforte
air conditioners and fed into our laser enclosures, belforte@pennwell.com

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