Specialists in fiber laser technology from Germany and Israel are holding experiments on a newly developed fiber laser for industrial use. The basis of the fiber laser system is the Coherent Beam Combining (CBC) method, which is still new for high-power fiber lasers.
According to scientists, the 13-kilowatt fiber laser can quickly create different energy distribution patterns within operations and in this way process even demanding materials precisely and quickly. The researchers aim to develop this innovative fiber laser technology available to most companies and manufacturers all over the world in the future. They hope that all the experiments result in finding new laser applications. This fiber laser would make a significant contribution in such spheres as medical technology, aerospace, etc.
Now the research team is working on the investigation of laser beam shaping, which is accelerated by a factor of 1000, for the first time for additive manufacturing. The scientists apply the Coherent Beam Combining where the Dynamic Beam Laser unites many individual laser beams into one powerful, high-quality laser beam. The fiber laser can quickly create completely different energy distribution patterns in the resulting processing laser beam due to tiny phase shifts in the particulate laser beams.
The new fiber laser system can create energy patterns on the workpieces, for example, in the form of a horseshoe or a ring. In contrast, a usual fiber laser releases most of the energy in the center of the laser beam. In fact, the creation of the new fiber laser system‘s opportunities was already possible in the past by applying beam-deflecting optics or fast oscillating mirrors. However, even the fastest oscillating mirrors still needed milliseconds to restructure the energy patterns in the laser beam. While the new fiber laser is 1000 times faster and can operate within microseconds. This operation speed gives an opportunity to apply this fiber laser system for additive manufacturing of metals.
Scientists have a goal to develop a modern fiber laser system for additive manufacturing of titanium and aluminum alloys, which are mostly applied in the creation of space components, implants, etc. The partners are planning to produce dynamic laser beam shaping to remove defects and achieve higher quality 3D printing results. They also hope to use novel laser beam shapes to overcome challenges in crack-sensitive materials.
The experiments will demonstrate whether the new fiber laser system can be applied for additive manufacturing of metals. Anyway, the already demonstrated quality and speed advantages make this fiber laser technology very interesting for production in the metal-working industry, electromobility, aerospace, etc.
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