Lasers Are the Basis of New Manufacturing Process
Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories (website) in New Mexico, in conjunction with a consortium of 10 companies that includes Eastman Kodak, Laser Fare Inc. and Allied Signal, has launched a campaign to commercialize a computer-controlled laser manufacturing process.
Dubbed LENS -- laser-engineered net shaping -- the process involves computer-controlled lasers that weld air-blown streams of metallic powders into custom parts and manufacturing molds. The purpose of the technique is to produce shapes close enough to the finished product to eliminate rough machining. When perfected, the new technique should enable companies to manufacture products such as tools more efficiently.
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