Standardized production systems which can be implemented, programmed, maintained and sourced in a simple and efficient way are key for a successful global production of automobiles or related parts at component suppliers. This is also valid for systems, which are built by laser based processes. One of the key applications is remote laser welding (RLW) of “Body in White” (BIW) parts (such as hang-on parts, B-Pillars, side frames, etc.), but also builtin components (such as car seats, batteries, etc.). The majority of RLW applications are based on the implementation of a 3-D scanner optic (e.g. the PFO 3D from TRUMPF) which positions the laser beam on the various component surfaces to be welded. Over the past 10 years it has been proven that the most efficient way to build up the RLW process is to have a system where an industrial robot and a scanner optic are combined in one production cell. They usually cooperate within an “On-The-Fly” (OTF) process as this ensures minimum cycle times. Until now there are several technologies on the market which can coordinate both the robot and scanner in the OTF mode. But none of them meet all requirements of global standardized production solutions. With the introduction of the I-PFO (Intelligent Programmable Focusing Optics) technology the situation has changed. It is now possible to program or adopt complex remote processes in a fast and easy way by the “Teach-in” function via the robot teach pendant. Additionally a 3D offline designer software is an option for this system. It automatically creates the ideal remote process based on the part, fixture, production cell and required process parameters. The I-PFO technology doesn’t need additional hardware due to the fact that it runs on the controller within the PFO 3D. Furthermore it works together with different types of industrial robots (e.g. ABB, Fanuc and KUKA) which allow highest flexibility for the production planning phase. Finally a single TRUMPF laser source can supply up to six I-PFOs. This guarantees maximum beam-on time at the production line. Within this report the concept of the I-PFO technology (with mentioned functions) is described and is compared to the other existing ways for Remote Laser processing.
In the last decade diode pumped solid state lasers have become an important tool for many industrial materials processing applications. They combine ease of operation with efficiency, robustness and low cost. This paper will give insight in latest progress in disk laser technology ranging from kW-class CW-Lasers over frequency converted lasers to ultra-short pulsed lasers.
The disk laser enables high beam quality at high average power and at high peak power at the same time. The power from a single disk was scaled from 1 kW around the year 2000 up to more than 10 kW nowadays. Recently was demonstrated more than 4 kW of average power from a single disk close to fundamental mode beam quality (M²=1.38). Coupling of multiple disks in a common resonator results in even higher power. As an example we show 20 kW extracted from two disks of a common resonator.
The disk also reduces optical nonlinearities making it ideally suited for short and ultrashort pulsed lasers. In a joint project between TRUMPF and IFSW Stuttgart more than 1.3 kW of average power at ps pulse duration and exceptionally good beam quality was recently demonstrated.
The extremely low saturated gain makes the disk laser ideal for internal frequency conversion. We show >1 kW average power and >6 kW peak power in multi ms pulsed regime from an internally frequency doubled disk laser emitting at 515 nm (green). Also external frequency conversion can be done efficiently with ns pulses. >500 W of average UV power was demonstrated.
Within the past couple of years one can see a general trend in high power diode lasers among others towards the highest possible brightness. The product portfolio of TRUMPF high brightness diode lasers with output power < 1kW will be presented. The architecture of these diode lasers, their main specifications as well as the main features of the control unit are shown. Some examples of the applications of these lasers in such advanced material processing techniques as welding of plastics and welding of thin metal sheets is also presented.
Though the genesis of the disk laser concept dates to the early 90's, the disk laser continues to demonstrate the
flexibility and the certain future of a breakthrough technology. On-going increases in power per disk, and
improvements in beam quality and efficiency continue to validate the genius of the disk laser concept. As of today,
the disk principle has not reached any fundamental limits regarding output power per disk or beam quality, and
offers numerous advantages over other high power resonator concepts, especially over monolithic architectures.
With about 2,000 high power disk lasers installations, and a demand upwards of 1,000 lasers per year, the disk laser
has proven to be a robust and reliable industrial tool. With advancements in running cost, investment cost and
footprint, manufacturers continue to implement disk laser technology with more vigor than ever.
This paper will explain recent advances in disk laser technology and process relevant features of the laser, like pump
diode arrangement, resonator design and integrated beam guidance. In addition, advances in applications in the
thick sheet area and very cost efficient high productivity applications like remote welding, remote cutting and
cutting of thin sheets will be discussed.
The continued advances in high power, high brightness solid state laser has necessitated new tools for use with laser
material processing. Some of the challenges of higher power lasers have been met with Reflective Focusing Optic to
combat Thermal focus shift and new fiber optic cables to more efficiently deliver the higher power. Conversely the
improved brightness has led to new opportunities with patented dual core fibers, advances in remote scanner welding
devices and calibration devices for them. This paper will explain recent advances in beam delivery and processing
optics for high power, high brightness solid state lasers.