Science has always had an aim to develop more efficient manufacturing fiber laser technology. That is a crucial element of the new industrial revolution, called Industry 4.0 technologies. One of its aspects is ultrafast fiber lasers that give an opportunity to perform processes at high speeds. And 3D printing is the field where ultrafast fiber lasers can be well applied.
German scientists are going to demonstrate how 3D-printed components can be welded with a fiber laser. Their aim is to create an expert system that could optimize additive manufacturing processes. The printed units can subsequently be welded with a fiber laser.
Fiber laser transmission welding is already considered to be an acknowledged industrial joining process for plastic components. However, for the 3D printer’s components, there is a difficulty. The reason is cavities and boundary layers in the 3D-printed components that prevent the creation of a uniform weld. The components can be totally similar outside but have different internal structures. That is why researchers are going to design a fiber laser system with unified process knowledge in it. The enterprises will not have to make a full analysis of every component in detail to weld it with a fiber laser.
For fiber laser welding, researchers are studying fused deposition modeling. In this process, thin strands of molten plastic are superimposed layer by layer. The developing fiber laser system will give information on the material, layer thickness, etc. That provides the highest possible permeability for the laser beam.
Moreover, the research team is going to design a way to measure the transmission with spatial resolution. It includes measuring at which points the laser beam is transmitted and other important aspects. This information will be applied to control the fiber laser transmission welding process with the expert fiber laser system. Their aim is a process control fiber laser system that can regulate the fiber laser power. If the laser beam is less transmitted at a certain point, the fiber laser power should be increased. If the component is more light-transmissive, lower fiber laser power is enough.
Fiber laser transmission welding can be produced to connect the units made from thermoplastics. Two joining elements from different materials (transparent and non-transparent plastic, for example) can be welded with the help of a laser beam. The laser beam penetrates the transparent joining part, and when it gets into the non-transparent plastic, the fiber laser light is absorbed and turned into thermal energy. Finally, the plastic in the joining area melts, and a weld seam is made.
This newly developed fiber laser design is going to make easier optimization of manufacturing processes for enterprises by using a fiber laser.
Optromix Inc., headquartered in Cambridge, MA, USA, is a manufacturer of laser technologies, optical fiber sensors, and optical monitoring systems. We develop and manufacture a broad variety of Fiber lasers, СО 2 lasers, Ti: Sapphire lasers, Dye lasers, and Excimer Lasers. We offer simple Erbium laser and Ytterbium laser products, as well as sophisticated laser systems with unique characteristics, based on the client’s inquiry.
We manufacture laser modules using our technologies based on the advanced research work and patents of the international R&D team. Laser processes are high-quality, high-precision, easily automated manufacturing solutions that provide repeatability and flexibility.