Breakthrough solutions in fibre-based delivery system for pulsed laser beams

Summary

The goal of the NEW-DELI’s solution was to be the key enabling factor effective and efficient processing technologies for tailoring the surface quality properties of Additive Manufacturing parts by laser ablation and surface-structuring. Because of this, the sectors of applications have been identified in the aerospace, automotive and Medtech ones, and materials to be treated in Aluminium alloys, Titanium alloys and Steel. Moreover, scribing processes on thin film photovoltaic modules have been identified as further possible fields of application of NEW-DELI, showing the application of the delivery system also for those processing cases where there is a need for short-pulse beams for material treatments. So far, the delivery of these ultra-short pulses has been through free-space systems, an approach that poses many limitations to machine designers. Very recently, however, innovative fibre based delivery solutions have been reported exploiting a new type of speciality fibre able to route high peak power pulses with minimal distortion and, especially, no fibre damage. OPI has prototyped an industrial grade cable system based on the fibres mentioned above. BUAS has validated the cable performance, and IRIS owns processes and machines for the cable testing in a real industrial environment focusing on advanced laser-based manufacturing processing. 

The delivery cable for ultra-short pulses enables, first, the possibility to detach the laser source and power supply from the processing area providing much more design flexibility for processing machine builders and integrators. Second, it enables wide working area given the possibility to move the processing head (e.g. on a gantry system). And finally, the developed innovative cable open the possibility to equip a robot with micromachining capability thanks to the fibre based delivery, thus enabling new dynamic processing for the micro-machining field and all the applications where high energy and/or high peak laser power is required.

This USP delivery cable system is targeting as a key application the Additive Manufacturing sector, where the fibre transport of high-energy, ultra-short, pulses (for surface finishing by cold ablation) in parallel with highpower, high-brightness, CW light delivery (for powder sintering) are required to enable new features in next generation of processing machines. In such application, the processing head has to move in a wide working area thus the fibre delivery (already existing for continuous beams) is absolutely necessary for the pulsed laser processing. The developed solution is thus the only possible one (unless the pulse width is so long that traditional fibre can be used, but this excludes all the ultra-short pulse processing).

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Demonstration level: Level 0 - Level not specified
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