Lasers are the ultimate example of the tool for Industry 4.0. As well as transforming data directly into shapes, they also provide a wide variety of measurement and operating data for the digital process chain in smart factories.
3D printing is booming – Industry is reaping serious benefits from the new technology, which is also commonly known as additive manufacturing. Main ingredients: a laser, and a fine metal powder that has the peculiar effect of seeming to be neither liquid nor solid!
Mankind’s greatest enemy is tiny, brown, and very hard to catch. But now researchers have developed a new weapon which they hope will finally give them the edge they need to defeat the aggressors.
How lasers are making us virtually immortal
Reliable guide-star lasers are revolutionizing astronomy. The “Guide Star Alliance” development team led by Wilhelm Kaenders, Wallace Clement and Domenico Bonaccini Calia made it onto the podium at the Berthold Leibinger Innovation Prize.
Tokyo-based LPS Works develops new microprocessing methods for unusual materials. And as if that wasn’t enough, the 18-strong knowledge cell can also take the next step of providing customers with the right machine for industrial mass production.
How do laser metal deposition and laser metal fusion actually work? Two simulations help clarify the physical processes involved. The goal? To improve reproducibility and surface quality in both methods.
A Swiss start-up prints the most secure keys in the world: the Stealth Key. Alejandro Ojeda, cofounder of UrbanAlps, wonders why nobody else came up with the idea earlier.
Designers need to rethink their approach to unlock the huge opportunities offered by this relatively new manufacturing technology. The experts in coolant systems at Grindaix and Bionic Production did exactly that.
Digitalized manufacturing in terms of Industry 4.0 promises speed, directness and flexibility − so it needs a tool to match. Fortunately, the right tool has been ready for action for quite some time: laser light.
ELFIM, a supplier from southern Italy, manufactures entire components using laser metal deposition (LMD). As a result, the company saves a heap of waste and is more flexible in the geometric forms it can create.
For a long time, laser therapy was too risky to use inside the body. If the fiber failed during the procedure, it would cause serious injury. Now, a little box in the beam path is offering a ray of hope for these applications.
Where weld seams have to be durable but also practically invisible, the automotive industry opts for laser brazing – and in the future, this will apply to hot-dip galvanized sheet metal, too. Laser brazing is presented below.
Weld joints and adhesive bonds in powertrain components must comply with strict quality standards. To obtain first-class results, the joining surfaces must be perfectly clean. Lasers are efficient cleaning tools, capable of removing all traces of oily residues.
3D scanner optics work autonomously. Welding optics control the temperature of the plastic melting process, and fixed optics monitor the state of the process. In Industry 4.0, optics have their own minds, too.
Walter Sticht has been devising high-tech automations for 44 years now. No laser systems ever passed muster with him – all not suitable for automation. Now he has changed his mind.
Femtosecond laser pulses weld glass without any additional material. The process is economical and ready for industrial practice.
Cutting semiconductor material on a wafer scale requires optics that work with maximum precision - and that’s exactly what Ingeneric has developed.
When chips are disassembled, a process known as depaneling, precision down to the micrometer is required in both processing and positioning. iC-Haus meets this challenge with a combination of confocal optical measuring sensors and an ultrashort pulse laser.
A new software-based service from TRUMPF monitors critical laser data and provides maintenance recommendations to ensure laser process stability and high availability.
For some couples, artificial insemination is the only way to have children of their own. Researchers are constantly improving the methods used in reproductive technology—and lasers are providing assistance in key areas.
Turbulence researcher Eberhard Bodenschatz fires lasers at clouds to help him solve the mystery of why it rains. Meanwhile Jean-Pierre Wolf, an expert in nonlinear optics, is hoping to use his lasers to make his own weather.
Femtosecond lasers are storing data in quartz crystals. Once inside, the information can live on for eternity.
The automotive industry has long enjoyed the benefits of lasers − rail vehicle manufacturers are increasingly following. Photon AG and its subsidiaries have been using lasers successfully for years. Now in a prestigious large-scale project.
Harvard physics professor Eric Mazur reflects on the discovery of black silicon and the art of serendipity.
The Laser Metal Fusion (LMF) generative process is ready for batch production. Daniel Lichtenstein, Head of Sales and Marketing Development Additive Manufacturing at TRUMPF, talks about promising applications of LMF and well thought out process chains.
The pharmaceutical industry wants to know: How do you remove the shell from a chicken egg without damaging the egg inside ? Laservorm has the answer: with a laser !
At first, it is always science fiction. Until someone comes and gets down to business with the idea.
Physicists, doctors, chemists – all are waiting for shorter and higher energy laser pulses. The research of Dr. Hanieh Fattahi shows how it is done.
More and more cities around the globe are opting for electric buses made by BYD. One of the strengths of this Chinese company is its in-house expertise in high-performance batteries. Laser technology is used to weld their highly sensitive components.
Dr. Antonio Candel-Ruiz explains why laser metal deposition is evolving into an additive manufacturing technique in its own right, and how even small and medium-sized businesses can benefit from the technology.
Magnesium alloys could be a dream solution for lightweight construction. Unfortunately, welding them is still a nightmare – but maybe not for much longer.
Weighing 20 tons and up to 200 millimeters thick. The sheets TRUMPF welds in Austria are the biggest ever tackled by a hybrid laser welding head from Fronius International GmbH. The TRUMPF plant in Austria uses a fully automatic process to produce huge frames for press brakes.
Eight ways to cut and join the lightweight materials aluminum, plastics and CFRP using lasers.
Aluminum, CFRPs and plastics are tomorrow’s most promising candidates for lightweight design. But what plans and visions do their makers have ? Read on to find out.
Oliver Schauerte, head of materials research and manufacturing processes at the Volkswagen Group, discusses the latest trends in lightweight construction, gun licenses for production staff, and the next big thing among materials.
Ultradur LUX is a plastic that is particularly suitable for laser welding. BASF product developer Peter Eibeck explains why crystalline seeds are the key to success.
Micro fusion cutting is the alternative to cold ablation with scanners.
Microfibers are small, but supermicrofibers are miniscule. Anne Feuer used an ultra-short pulsed laser to pave the way for the longest and finest cellulose fibers in the world.
First cut, then weld. At THE Machines lasers are used to ensure that the coil never ends.
A comparison of various joining technologies for thick metal plate welds: positive life-cycle assessment for laser arc-hybrid welding
Doc Brown’s biggest letdown
Dr. Ulf Quentin uses ultrashort pulsed lasers to produce surface structures on a nanometer scale. He recently received an award for his work from the German Scientific Laser Society (WLT).
A newly developed pulsed green laser welds copper with high reproducibility and little spatter – regardless of the nature of the surface.
Laser beams detach sensitive OLED film displays from the carrier glass. Here solid state lasers work extra efficiently and with low maintainance.
Fiber-reinforced composites are increasingly popular, but tough to machine. Production engineers are increasingly turning to laser light as a wear-free, high-precision and highly productive choice of tool.
Instead of cutting glass by ablation, just take a laser and generate a tension inside the pane so it fractures in a controlled fashion. And with the right optics this happens at a speed of one meter per second.
Thin aluminum and copper tubes protect the optical fibers in submarine cables against huge volumes of water. Nexans welds the tubing using a diode laser – with a seam 100,000 meters long!
Dr. Shuang Liu (28) earned her doctorate in the laser processing of materials. We asked her what drew her to light.
The automotive industry has greatly accelerated development of the laser as a cutting tool. Lasers can now process 3D components so quickly that machine operators are practically left behind. Hujer Lasertechnik GmbH, however, is keeping pace.
Automotive giant GKN Driveline started welding drive components with lasers 14 years ago. Now the tried-and-tested system is moving to the next round — featuring disk lasers — on three continents.
Microstructuring of materials using brilliant laser light is one of the key topics now being investigated by the Laser Center (LFM) at the Münster University of Applied Sciences. The center’s founder and director, Professor Klaus Dickmann, specializes in structuring surfaces and lending them new functions.
Professor Shuji Nakamura was awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics and has devoted his entire research career to light. In this essay, he explains why inexpensive light is invaluable.
LCR Systems is planning to use lasers as a gentler and more efficient means of removing paint from aircraft.
Hypodermic needles are disposable products. With its clever tube forming process and diode lasers, Nexans is ensuring the needles doctors discard will soon be much more cost-effective.
Pro-beam, TRUMPF and the ifs are moving the process for the low-pressure, spatter-free laser welding of powertrain components into industrial application.
May 4th is Star Wars Day! Here you can arm yourself with some specialist knowledge: TRUMPF laser experts gave thoughts to lightsabers.
Users expect laser cutting machines to be able to handle two and three-dimensional components in an increasingly wide array of metals. That poses a challenge for machine manufacturers.
In 1978, William Lawson founded one of the first laser processing companies in America. In the following interview, he shares with us how he built up a customer base back when laser technology was still in its infancy.
For joining coils, a machine made by Belgian company Malex switches flexibly between resistance welding and laser welding depending on the type of steel, and also uses the laser source for cutting.
Solid or powder filled, open type or laser welded. The comany Bühler Würz Kaltwalztechnik sees a huge market for welding wires.
Physicist Charles Hard Townes was a pioneer in the world of lasers. The scientist and Nobel Prize winner passed away last week at the age of 99.
Prof. Ulrich Wittrock, head of the Photonics Laboratory at the Münster University of Applied Sciences, seeks out the ultimate boundaries of laser technology
The EVA Group always has a solid-state laser in operation to make sure that its copier frames are both precise and strong.
Smartphones, tablets and phablets have changed our lives. With the next generation of all-in-one mobile devices well on its way, it is lasers that are driving innovation for each and every component.
Close to Prague, a unique laser center is being developed to open up completely new research possibilities for physicists, medical scientists and materials scientists.
Helmut König worked at Audi AG in Ingolstadt for an incredible 50 years. Here the master of efficiency and lord of machines talks about the past and the future of automation.
The laser is a ray of light guiding us into an even more intelligent future. Without light, the booming electronics industry would stagnate.
Anyone who wants to turn ultra-high-power lasers from a research topic into a research tool needs pump sources that cause as few headaches as the pump modules found in today’s laser tools.
Imagine the possibilities … an anti-corrosion coating made of graphene no more than four atomic layers thick and that can be realized using industrial solid-state lasers.
Having proved its capabilities in cutting, the TruLaser Cell 3000 now demonstrates its welding skills, too.
Anyone intent on making Industry 4.0 happen has to keep an eye on the details. One such detail is that the success of the smart factory actually comes down to a “talkative” product. The ML1 marking laser leads the way
Bold audacity — and the ability to see the forest in spite of the trees. Laser pioneer Paul Seiler recalls his experiences in the wild years of the 60s and 70s, when the laser era dawned.
Pressure is growing to achieve more with fewer resources. Suppliers with laser know-how stand to gain
Keeping pace with the requirements of the automotive industry puts efficiency front and center. This is why Dr. Hur Yoon-Ho, Vice President of Daewon Precision, favors using high-tech laser technology.
Prof. Ferdi Schüth, jury chairman for the German Future Prize, is convinced that the push for resource efficiency will become industry’s new innovation driver.
Tomorrow’s new models will be lighter than their predecessors. Not only will that boost mileage, but also reduce weight and the amount of material used. This is due primarily to the increased use of laser light.
Geiss AG is the first company worldwide to laser-cut thermoformed components. Two mega-trends are helping.
A simple example illustrates how lasers are faster and more energy-efficient than milling machines at cutting sheet metal.
The manufacture of mechanical watches has always demanded extreme accuracy. So it is no surprise that the watchmaking industry relies on laser tools for nearly every subassembly.
“What’s to stop us doing what the big manufacturers do?” thought industry suppliers Walter Haimerl and Harald Keller. So they started to weld with lasers.
Haas Equipment GmbH has found an alternative way to clean its industrial waffle irons by replacing dry ice, chemicals and brushes with light.
An MIT team is using a special camera to look round corners – with the help of the femtosecond laser
TRUMPF Scientific Lasers works on efficient beam sources for attosecond pulse generation
Joining materials that have long been considered unweldable is one of the biggest challenges in lightweight engineering. The laser offers some promising solutions.
German knife manufacturer Zwilling really wanted to use laser cutting, but there were obstacles to be overcome first.
Copper on aluminum: With a cycle time of 72 seconds and high tensile strength, Viessmann has got itself precious breathing space.
Seiwald is a jobshop and offers laser hybrid welding. Deputy general manager Dieter Achleitner explains why the move paid off.
Dr. Yongfeng Lu’s spiritual home is the international laser community. Here, he talks about everything except his presidency of the Laser Institute of America.
Klaus Löffler, current president of the Laser Institute of America (LIA), sees marked regional differences in laser safety and explains how the LIA is working to raise standards.
Everyone agrees: Additive processes such as 3D printing and laser deposition welding are the future of manufacturing. We had a look around to see what this future looks like now.
A thousand holes per second, with micron-scale precision in both depth and breadth – only ultrashort pulse lasers can meet the latest requirements for drilling PCB contacts.
Selective laser melting and laser metal deposition are the two laser-based additive manufacturing methods. Here you can read about the current status of both methods.
Additive manufacturing via laser deposition welding has chalked up its first concrete successes: at BMW in prototype construction and at Lufthansa Technik in repairs.
Dr. Bernhard Müller and Prof. Reimund Neugebauer on the near future of additive methods.
Plastic compounds and the laser seem to be made for one another. Marking has become standard, cutting applications are moving forward, and even welding has taken off. New beam sources are driving this development.
perma-tec marks plastic housings by laser. A new software module saves a lot of time – especially with small batches.
Researchers from TRUMPF, Bosch and the University of Jena won the Federal President's German Future Prize 2013. The team cleard the way into mass manufacturing for ultrashort pulse lasers.
An operating table must be adaptable to every need and at the same time totally reliable. That is why the company that was to become TRUMPF Medical Systems adopted laser welding long before it joined the TRUMPF Group.
Whether 3D printers will some day be found in every home shop remains to be seen. But one thing is certain: generative processes are well on their way to maintaining health and saving lives.
High quality, no tool wearing, significant advantages in terms of productivity and costs – these are only a few reasons to mark metal with the laser. Find out more about applications and processes.
How does one become professor of quantum physics at the best university in Switzerland at the age of 33? For Ursula Keller it was grit, talent - and a bit of luck.
Induction is proving to be an ideal partner for laser welding: for pre-heating, cleaning and hardening
Thanks to new PFO 3D programmable focusing optics, the focus spot now enjoys more freedom of movement than ever before. What’s more, “CalibrationLine” is on hand to ensure that the laser hits the spot each and every time.
“Power of Choice” is the slogan that best describes the numerous new laser beam sources for material processing TRUMPF will be presenting at the LASER World of Photonics 2013.
Dr. Dietrich Freiherr von Dobeneck explains his driving passion for electron beam welding and his determination to compete with lasers.
The next generation of ultra-short pulsed (USP) lasers will enjoy broad acceptance as a standard tool, says laser physicist Thomas Südmeyer.
As a pioneer in attophysics, Professor Ferenc Krausz observes electrons as they move through atoms. We asked him what motivates him.
The co-managing directors of LaserJob tell us how the ultra-short pulsed laser matches up to the hard reality of job-shop operations.
Microchips are getting ever faster and smaller, driving mechanical fabrication methods to the edge. Now the laser is taking over.
Dow Corning is using a laser miniature fab to research the solar cells of the future.
To make electric drives affordable, we need to work out details such as how to produce millions of laminated cores cost-efficiently.
A look inside the multi-faceted future of hybrid laser welding.
Uwe Stadtmüller, in his middle-market business, has adopted laser welding in three-dimensional space to manufacture fan guards.
A parallel universe exists in which the laser is admired as a rough-and ready tool in the field of material processing.
The wobble method is taking the automotive industry by storm. It offers all the advantages of remote welding, plus it bridges gaps between the surfaces being joined. That cuts down on costs and above all weight.
A simulation project at Fraunhofer ILT is advancing the use of picosecond laser ablation as a cutting technique.
New ultrashort-pulse laser generates previously unattainable output power.
High-tech materials such as glass, sapphire, ceramics and high-performance plastics are on the rise and light is almost the only way to work them.
Marking ever more information onto an ever smaller space on a microchip is something only lasers can do. Plus, they can be integrated into the quality control process.
Get smaller! In the microchip industry, that is the law. Lasers are just the thing for such mini-universes, and are proving their worth in wafer dicing.
At this year’s Euroblech TRUMPF will be highlighting its TruLaser Robot 5020 welding cell. This unit features numerous innovations that will not only make getting into laser welding considerably easier. They will also increase productivity significantly for customers who manufacture in large quantities.
The boom in high-strength steels triggered a second boom — in job shops able to cut them. In Mexico, Gerardo Oaxaca was one of the people who forged his own success.
Extreme ultraviolet light is the lithographic key to tomorrow’s tiny circuit patterns – all thanks to TRUMPF CO2 lasers.
An innovative diode laser that delivers more brightness and more power. Co-developer Dr. Tso Yee Fan explains the concept of very dense wavelength beam combining (WBC).
Gentle, non-contacting laser systems create a stir in surface finishing: A collection of practical applications from BMW to archeology
Restorers have discovered the laser for themselves and relieve precious Celtic relicts of layers of corrosion.
Checkered aluminum and roughened CFRP - modern materials want to be glued. The laser assists.
Tires or solar cells - 4JET bets on laser processing of surfaces. If you call it cleaning, de-coating, ablation or activating - is secondary.
Using its TruLaser Robot 5020 laser welding cell, the Dutch company Groku Kampen can now weld sinks into stainless steel countertops in just one-tenth of the time taken by conventional methods.
Who would have thought that combining the costly vacuum technology of electron beam welding with the beam of a solid state laser could be so effective?
On hand once again at this year’s Euroblech, TRUMPF will be showing machine tools, laser systems and services, all developed in the interest of flexible machining for sheet metal.
After becoming an Emeritus Prof. Dr. Schuöcker founded a new research center in Austria. Here he tells us, what he is up to.
What is going on Down Under? Annaliese Kloe from Headland Machinery names the trends driving Australia's laser industry.
On September 14, about 550 guests were invited to Ditzingen to witness the award ceremony for the Berthold Leibinger Innovationspreis and the Berthold Leibinger Zukunftspreis.
Traceability, individualisation and design: Laser marking has established a permanent place in industry as a reliable tool for marking applications.
“That won’t work” is a phrase that has no place in scientific research, says Dr. Franz Trieb.
It would be so convenient during remote welding for the laser to position the necessary cut-out using the same scanner optic. It is time for a new process.
Machines from the TruLaser Series 5000 can cut stainless steel up to 50 millimeters thick - potential applications are making blanks for later machining.
For all the usefulness of coatings, they can be an impediment when welding. Which is where the cleaning power of short-pulse lasers comes in.
The only thing capable of controlling lightning-fast remote welding in real time is an even faster camera.
Up to date electronic manufacturing without laser? Unthinkable! Many products would be quite simply impossible.
“Wherever production is high, there’s a similar need for lasers and laser systems. This increasingly applies to China, now and in the future,” says Günther Weinmann, General Manager Laser Technology at TRUMPF China.
An international team of researchers cooled an object to its lowest possible energy state - using laser light. Jasper Chan explains this giant leap.
It doesn’t get any tougher: Dirt, vibrations, heat — laser welding machines do their work reliably at the entry to the cold rolling mill. Nonstop. Coil by coil.
Physicists from the University of Tübingen created a laser using only gas and light. Dr. William Guerin explains why this laser is different from all others.
Prof. Reinhart Poprawe calls himself a photon entangler. We asked him to explain what that means.
The food industry wouldn’t be the same without the laser.
What advice does automotive laser expert Hongping Gu have? “Don’t be limited by machine capabilities. Lasers gives you freedom for new designs.”
Powder deposition by laser is setting new standards in knife blade technology at Stanley, where sharper for longer is the new mantra.
Remote laser welding and cutting are not typically used to produce ovens. Electrolux decided to break with tradition.
Bernhard Lang’s customers reap some real competitive advantages from the ingenious packaging he creates using CO2 lasers.
Material requirements reduced by 90 percent, costs reduced on a similar scale: Companies in numerous sectors, from machine tools to aerospace and marine engineering, are profiting from the value-creating potential of laser metal deposition.
Ultra-short pulsed lasers mix and deposit the ingredients of complex coating systems on flat panel displays and solar cells in a single step.
A single solution for multiple applications: The highly versatile TruLaser Cell 3000
New concepts in the design and construction of structural elements of the car body save weight, time, costs and installation space.
photonic crystal fiber holds great promise: It guides far more power than today’s fibers and would even be able to guide the light of industrial CO2 lasers. The trick: the light moves between the glass instead of in the glass.
So you think only heads of state get to have their face on coins? Think again! With marking lasers, a coin can feature anyone at all.
If the founding family of Hayden had a motto it would most likely be: “Get tough.” Dan Hayden, the fourth generation to lead the family firm, explains why laser technology is one of the best ways to achive this
Prof. Ernst Peter Fischer explains, why the break-through came when the new light shone on old technology.
Laser welding is advancing into railroad car manufacturing on a wide front – a 16-meter-wide front to be exact.
Whatever method you use, aluminum is very difficult to weld. So Thomas Schnekenburger decided the laser was his best option.
The next generation of scanner optics will release the focus spot from the working plane. Here’s how users will benefit from this three-dimensional dance.
A small part makes a huge difference: the gasket silencer from KACO has put an end to loud water pumps
How do you get a high-tech company off the ground ? We asked someone who should know - the German Founder of the Year 2011.
Each time the glass surface is damaged, there is hell to pay in the production process. So wouldn’t it be nice if there were a cutting process that did not damage the glass?
Corporate planning is redundant - and damaging - asserts the long-term controller and now management consultant Niels Pfläging.
The car of the future should still be fast, comfortable, safe and able to go the distance. The car of the future should have very low CO2 emissions. But how?
If you want to push the practical use of laser technology, you have to ‘soak’ young academics with experience in the first place — says professor Jyoti Mazumder.
Two Nobel Prize winners say: “Your idea is rubbish and it’s a waste of the faculty’s money.“ Prof. Charles Townes explains why one should take this as a good sign.
JST switchgear boxes must store insulating gas for 30 years. Engineers have come up with a creative way to make that happen.
The road to fiber-reinforced plastics in mass production is via the laser, says Dr. Uwe Stute, who reviews the opportunities and challenges ahead.
Two materials, one marking step — Hansgrohe AG manages the balancing act with the UV laser
Laser diodes are tiny, robust and powerful — and can be had for increasingly affordable prices. The trend will continue, says Dr. Guido Bonati.
There’s no way to use the laser without ripples, spatters and vapors. But maybe there is? New research is attempting to tame the beast.
What is so special about the third dimension ? And how do you work through a 350,000-part series ? Erhard Hujer is the man who knows
Tiny and cost-effective laser diodes have been around for 20 years. If we are successful in achieving the beam quality necessary for key industrial applications using diode lasers, everything will change.
Scarcely anybody produces stainless steel components as precisely and in such a material-savings manner as LASER & more in Wels, Austria. Company founder Reinhard Aumayr reveals the secret of the company‘s success
GM decides to contract out a central aluminum part of its SUVs and pickups. Van Rob decides to redevelop the part in steel