IPG Unveils CO2 Gas Lasers
OXFORD, Mass., May 15, 2008 -- Fiber laser maker IPG Photonics of Oxford, Mass., said it has developed a line of CO2 gas lasers that will allow it to enter new markets and applications.
IPG said it expects to market the new lasers starting in the first quarter of 2009. It said the lasers, with output powers from 1 to 3 kW and operating in the 10.6-µm spectral range, are more efficient and compact than conventional CO2 lasers for applications including processing nonmetal materials such as polymers.
They will be unveiled during the Automotive Laser Automation Workshop at an open house today from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at the Inn at St. John's in Plymouth, Mich.
“Fiber lasers remain the best choice for a large variety of applications,” said CEO Valentin Gapontsev, PhD. “In fact, fiber lasers are replacing conventional lasers, including CO2 lasers, in many applications such as metal welding, cladding, sintering and brazing. However, some nonmetal materials like polymers and organic materials could be processed better by the 10-micron spectral range of CO2 gas lasers.”
Gapontsev said the billion-dollar CO2 sealed market is growing at a rate of six percent, with 5800 units projected worldwide this year and more than 33,000 high-power CO2 lasers currently in use.
IPG's line has a patented laser generator that allows the output power to increase without affecting the high optical quality of the beam. The lasers can produce modes from TEM00 to TEM01 as well as “D” modes for high quality and precision cutting.
“Although fiber lasers have started to replace CO2 lasers in metal cutting, there is room in this large market segment for the coexistence of two complementary technologies. We believe that the tandem of our innovative fiber lasers and gas lasers can accelerate IPG’s penetration in cutting applications. Numerous customers expressed interest in replacing their conventional CO2 lasers with more modern products. With the improvements in CO2 lasers that IPG is introducing today, we hope to meet such customer needs,” Gapontsev said.
The multikilowatt gas laser is the size of a suitcase and weighs 120 lbs, IPG said, and features overall wall-plug efficiency of 12 to 15 percent at all power levels and low gas consumption.
“Our new CO2 laser should open up new applications for gas lasers because it can withstand accelerations of up to 1 G, and it is lightweight and compact,” said Bill Shiner, IPG vice president of industrial markets. “For example, with the IPG gas laser’s compact size, users can now put the resonator on an overhead gantry rather than use complex free-space optics to deliver the laser’s power to the workspace.”
For more information, visit: www.ipgphotonics.com