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Application and materials laboratory for successful process development

Application and materials laboratory for successful process development

Application and materials laboratory for successful process development

Laser processes in top form

The laser process development department places its comprehensively equipped application and materials laboratory at your disposal. With a large selection of different laser sources, scan heads and handling systems to choose from, we can develop laser processes that are perfectly tailored to a wide variety of customer-specific products, components and materials. Working together with our in-house materials laboratory, we can efficiently produce test assemblies, samples and technically-sound workpiece analyses. Our customers receive a detailed report on the achievable quality and processing times that is directly applicable to the later manufacturing process and therefore provides greatest possible planning and investment certainty.

Our key competencies

FEASIBILITY STUDIES AND PROCESS DEVELOPMENT

technolgy consulting

We can evaluate the feasibility of new machining processes and performance requirements by conducting a variety of trials in close consultation with you. The knowledge and experience gained during the trial is applied directly in designing and fine-tuning a laser scan system that is tailored to your specific requirements. We can also assist you with custom solutions, e.g. in relation to the design or software.

MATERIALS TESTING

Through accompanying analyses of the laser process in our in-house materials analysis department, for example the preparation of sections and examination of them under a scanning electron microscope, we can provide accurate information about the achievable quality and any material changes occurring during processing. The results can be used during laser process development to determine the optimum process parameters.

LASER-SPECIFIC TUNING AND SYSTEM ACCEPTANCE

As a technology partner we can offer you manufacturer-independent advice on the selection of suitable laser sources, and can carry out customer-specific tuning of lasers and scan heads as well as system acceptance testing in our demo rooms. We invite integrators and trade partners to utilize our demo rooms to conduct trials and acceptance tests for their customers with the assistance of our application engineers.

TRAINING AND SUPPORT

Our application team will assist you with your project right through to successful system acceptance testing and is also happy to assist with any technical issues that may arise. We can support your users with a flexible, requirements-based training program that will enable them to successfully operate our scan heads and laser scan systems in their day-to-day work.

Process development steps

Prozess development

Equipment and applications

APPLICATION LABORATORY

Our application laboratory has a comprehensive selection of different laser sources, ARGES scan heads and system controllers that you can use. This equipment can be flexibly combined according to the application to precisely and practically address your requirements. A variety of handling systems, such as robots, XYZ portals and conveyor belts, enable samples to be produced in a suitable manner for your manufacturing process, thereby simplifying the transfer of the solution to your own manufacturing facilities at a later time.

EQUIPMENT IN THE APPLICATION LABORATORY

Laser

  • Nd:YAG Laser
  • Fiber laser
  • CO2 laser
  • Diode laser
  • Excimer laser
  • Ultrashort pulse laser

Wavelengths

  • UV
  • VIS
  • NIR
  • FIR

Mechanical handling systems

  • Robots
  • XYZ portals
  • Rotary handling systems
  • Customer-specific special setups

Scan heads

  • ARGES product range
  • “Customer specials”

Operating modes

  • Continuous wave (CW)
  • Pulsed
  • Q-switched
  • Millisecond
  • Microsecond
  • Nanosecond
  • Picosecond
  • Femtosecond

DEMO ROOMS

Our application laboratory includes 4 demo rooms that can be utilized for the preparation of samples, test setups and system acceptance testing. If required, you can book individual demo rooms for customer-specific projects to enable you to assemble your own laser scan system. You have the option to conduct acceptance testing or test processes with your project team or with your customer. You can also provide your own specific components which we will integrate into the system as part of the commissioning or testing process.

Demoraum 1

Setups and acceptance in particular for micromachining with USP lasers
Demoraum 2

Tailored, customer-specific setups and acceptance
Demoraum 3

Tailored, customer-specific setups and acceptance and test setups for research projects
Demoraum 4

Robot-controlled applications in particular for welding and cutting, incl. in the high power range up to 6 kW

MATERIALS LABORATORY

After preparation of sample workpieces in the application laboratory, the laser-machined samples are examined using various measurement equipment and microscopes in order to make a detailed assessment of the quality of the processing. If necessary, the laser machining parameters can be further refined to achieve the best-possible results. In particular when developing novel laser processes, where an iterative process is essential, our combination of in-house application and materials laboratories facilitates an especially efficient and precise process development.

EQUIPMENT IN THE MATERIALS LABORATORY

  • Scanning electron microscope with EDX
  • Stereo and digital microscope
  • Laser scanning microscope
  • White light interferometer
  • Microhardness tester
  • Digital high-speed camera
  • Roughness testers (tactile, optical)

APPLICATIONS

LASER CUTTING

Laser cutting primarily involves vaporization of the material being cut. As much energy is introduced into the workpiece as is required to cause a change in state of matter from solid to gas. Depending on the process, a heat-affected zone may also be produced in which the material briefly forms a molten phase. 

Laser cuts can be produced either with a pulsed or a continuous laser beam, however the underlying principle is always the same – the gas pressure resulting from the rapid state transition is utilized to eject the material from the kerf.

Processes

  • Sublimation cutting
  • Fusion cutting
  • Laser flame cutting
  • Precision cutting

Applications/fields

  • Precision and micromachining in electronics or medical technology
  • Industrial textiles
  • Stickers
  • Packaging materials
  • Solar industry
  • Automotive interiors and exteriors
  • Manufacturing technologies in general

Materials 

  • Wide variety of metals
  • Ceramics 
  • Plastics
  • Textiles
  • Wood
  • Glass

Example ARGES applications

  • Cutting of rubber or textile samples
  • PCB cutting
  • Manufacture of ultra-high quality components for optical applications
  • Cutting of sensitive metals using an ultrashort pulse laser
  • Precision cutting of metals in the area of design
LASER WELDING

In laser welding, the materials to be joined are brought into a molten state through the targeted application of energy. The subsequent solidification produces a permanent bond between the joined materials. Depending on the process, the welds are produced either with a pulsed, but in most cases a continuous laser beam. The advantages of laser welding include the very high process speed, the quality and user-selectable shape of the weld seam, its general flexibility, and the broad range of materials that can be processed.

Processes

  • Precision welding
  • Heat conduction welding
  • Deep welding
  • Deposition/repair welding
  • Remote welding
  • Plastic welding (transmission welding)
  • Welding with variable seam shapes

Applications/fields

  • Sheet metal forming
  • Electronics and precision engineering
  • Medical technology
  • Chassis and gear manufacturing
  • Steel construction
  • Automotive
  • Mold construction
  • Design and model-making

Materials

  • Almost all metals and plastics

Example ARGES applications

  • Thin sheet welding 
  • Stainless steel/aluminum/nickel foils
  • Valve tappets (head and stem)
  • Fuel cells 
  • Heat exchangers
  • Rechargeable battery packs
  • Battery housings
  • Electronic components
  • Medical technology
  • Sensor technology
  • Plastics in automotive and filter applications
Laser marking

Laser marking is one of the most widely used laser processes. The creative possibilities are almost endless as almost all materials can be marked with the wide variety of beam sources and processes available. In general, the laser is used to apply a specific amount of energy to the workpiece surface and, depending on the period of exposure and the operating mode of the laser, thereby produces the desired marking. The most commonly used processes are scanner marking and mask marking. The key advantages of laser marking include the quality, the throughput and the durability of the markings.

Processes

  • Engraving
  • Annealing marking
  • Marking by color ablation
  • Marking by color change
  • Intra-glass marking
  • Foaming
  • Discoloration

Applications/fields

  • Electronic components and housings
  • Semiconductors
  • Foil marking
  • ID cards
  • 2D codes 
  • Barcodes
  • Automotive interiors
  • Medical technology
  • Design
  • Manufacturing technologies in general
  • Chemical industry

Materials

  • Plastics
  • Metals
  • Varnishes
  • Ceramics 
  • Foils 
  • Wood 
  • Paper 
  • Glass 
  • Leather 
  • Textiles 
  • Foodstuffs

Example ARGES applications

  • Aluminum tubes
  • Marking of housings and components
  • Marking of implants
  • Finger protection caps
  • Emergency-stop signs
  • Electronic component housings using the color change process
  • Micromarking of optical components
  • Hologram foils
  • Ceramic marking
  • Barcode marking
  • Intra-glass marking
  • Portraiture on wood or metal
  • Foodstuffs: biscuits, fruit, vegetables, baked goods in general
Laser perforation

Laser perforation is a process that is very similar to laser drilling, in particular single pulse drilling. Holes produced by perforation typically have a diameter of a few µm up to 2 mm. The process is generally configured in such a way that the energy from a single pulse is sufficient to produce the drill hole. This makes it suitable for high processing speeds and many “on the fly” applications. A CO2 laser system is usually used for the range of applications in which laser perforation is employed.

Processes

  • Single pulse perforation
  • Percussion perforation

Applications/fields

  • Packaging industry
  • Furniture industry
  • Luxury food industry
  • Filter technology
  • Data and counterfeit protection

Materials

  • Paper
  • Plastic and metal foils
  • Fiber composites

Example ARGES applications

  • Furniture industry (kitchen panels)
  • Packaging foils
  • Identity documents
Laser drilling

Laser drilling - similar to laser cutting - involves the fast application of enormously high amounts of energy into the workpiece surface. This produces plasma, whereby the vapor pressure resulting from the state transition from solid to gas ejects the material thereby producing the hole. The latest laser technologies enable the implementation of drilling processes that do not involve thermal effects. A melt is no longer formed, so burr-free holes with very sharp edges can be produced. Depending on the particular application, the key advantages of laser drilling include the fast processing time, the absence of forces, and the production of drill hole diameters and geometries that would otherwise not be possible by mechanical means.  

Processes

  • Single pulse drilling
  • Trepanning
  • Percussion drilling
  • Laser drilling and cutting

      Applications/fields

      • Automotive interiors and exteriors 
      • Aviation industry
      • Engine manufacturing 
      • Solar industry
      • Glass industry
      • Optical and precision engineering components
      • Chemical industry
      • Medical technology
      • Filter technology

      Materials

      • Metals
      • Ceramics
      • Diamond
      • Plastics
      • Foils
      • Paper
      • Cardboard
      • Glass

      Example ARGES applications

      • Injection nozzles (drilling of different geometries and conicities)
      • Medical technology products
      • Precision engineering parts
      • Pipettes
      • Panels
      • Filters
      • Wafers
      • Optical components
      • Plastic rollers
      Laser structuring

      Laser structuring is a process whereby a structure, usually only a few micrometers in size, is incorporated into a surface. Using suitable beam deflection systems and, in most cases, pulse lasers, arbitrary structures can be achieved. These structures often fulfill a very specific purpose, however, for example to modify the reflectivity or to influence the friction properties. The amount of energy applied is tailored to the desired result and normally lies within a range just below the vaporization threshold of the material.

      Processes

      • Single pulse structuring
      • Surface structuring
      • Line structuring

      Applications/fields

      • Automotive
      • Engine manufacturing
      • Adhesive technology
      • Laser cleaning
      • Implant surgery
      • Mold construction and forming technologies

      Materials

      • Metals
      • Plastics

      Example ARGES applications

      • Structuring of wafers
      • Structuring of engine parts to improve their friction properties
      • Structuring of adhesive surfaces
      • Structuring of tools to improve coating adhesion
      • Structuring of components to create a specific tactile finish
      • Structuring of medical products (e.g. prosthetic devices for improved tissue growth properties)
      SURFACE TREATMENT

      Laser surface treatment refers to the targeted modification of specific mechanical properties such as hardness, roughness or reflectivity. The surface characteristics produced on the workpiece can be influenced by a large number of parameters. All common wavelengths, modes of operation (pulsed, continuous), pulse shapes, pulse lengths and pulse geometries are used.

      Processes

      • Laser hardening
      • Laser remelting
      • Laser coating
      • Laser conditioning
      • Laser oxidation
      • Laser polishing
      • Laser etching

      Applications/fields

      • Automotive (mainly engine components such as crankshafts, camshafts, cylinder walls, conrods)
      • Medical technology
      • Manufacture of fittings and apparatus
      • Mold construction
      • Textile industry
      • Aviation industry
      • Components and surfaces subject to wear

      Materials

      • Cast materials
      • Carbon steels
      • Corrosion-resistant steels
      • Titanium
      • Aluminum

      Example ARGES applications

      • Laser conditioning of cylinder walls
      • Laser conditioning of fittings (sealing surfaces)
      • Laser oxidation of aluminum components (extreme wear resistance)
      • Laser hardening of miniature parts (micro shock hardening)
      Processing-on-the-fly

      On the fly processing is employed in almost every field of automation nowadays. Generally speaking, it refers to the laser machining of moving parts. It is predominantly used for marking and perforating, but also for cutting and welding. These laser processes are usually performed in conjunction with object detection systems such as cameras or light barriers that detect the object prior to processing and transmit the collected position data to the laser processing station via software programs.

      Processes

      • Laser labeling
      • Laser perforation
      • Laser marking
      • Laser welding
      • Laser cutting

      Applications/fields

      • Automotive industry
      • Aviation industry
      • Electronics industry
      • Manufacturing technologies in general
      • Automation technologies

      Materials

      • Plastics
      • Metals
      • Foils
      • Paper
      • Glass

      Example ARGES applications

      • Foils with security features applied
      • CFK perforation
      • Remote welding