High-resolution cross-sectional images and topographies for process control
Process control and traceability solutions are of great importance in industrial laser processing. ARGES offers its customers long standing experience in the integration of imaging methods or sensors such as cameras, pyrometers and many more.
In order to offer an even wider range of options for process control, ARGES has developed its own OCT system for creating high-resolution cross-sectional images and topographies during laser materials processing. The compact system is integrated directly into the process beam path of ARGES scan systems, for example Fiber Elephant or Tiger, so that spot misalignment or scaling errors can be avoided.
Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) is based on the technology of low-coherence interferometry, which makes it possible to capture 3D images of surfaces. OCT can be used to measure, amongst other things, gap dimensions, weld depths, or component surfaces, and simultaneously control the laser machining process accordingly. This contactless technology is employed in a wide variety of laser applications, such as welding, for 3D measuring of surface structures and micro bore holes, or to control the height of the layers of built-up material in additive manufacturing.
Because ARGES needs to fulfill a diverse range of requirements in various customer projects, the OCT system was designed to accommodate the broadest possible spectrum of applications. It can be used, for example, for high-quality visualization of filigree surface topographies, or materials with low back reflection or very steep flanks.
The OCT system also offers a high level of flexibility with regard to integration into industrial facilities. The ultra-compact OCT-Base control component measures only 200 x 146 x 77.5 mm, and can be integrated either directly into the Arges System Controller, or into the control system of the customer. Data is exchanged using the UDP Ethernet protocol, so the OCT data obtained can also be evaluated using the customer’s own software.
By combining laser material processing with the integrated OCT measurement technology for simultaneous process control, it is possible to set up closed loop processes in industrial manufacturing that guarantee a high level of process reliability.
Article „Microproduction”, issue 3/2018