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PolyBright to Advance Polymer Welding

Photonics.com
Mar 2010
AACHEN, Germany, March 22, 2010 — New high brightness laser sources in the near-infrared (NIR) range are being developed for the welding of polymeric materials without the use of an IR absorber under the European Union's PolyBright program.

Since October, 18 partners from seven countries (Germany, France, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Denmark, and Finland) have been working together under the auspices of PolyBright. Over its 48-month lifetime, the project aims to develop high-power, high-brilliance lasers with wavelengths between 1500 and 1900 nm, which are adapted to the absorption properties of polymers. The European Union has allocated €6.6 million (about $9 million) of public funding to this project with an overall budget of €10.2 million (about $13.8 million).

Materials containing polymers will be easier to weld using lasers under the Polybright program, which began in October. (Images: Fraunhofer ILT)


 The objective is to provide high-speed, flexible laser manufacturing technology and to expand the limits of current plastic part assembly. The project aims to enable completely new concepts for polymer welding that will eliminate additional costs related to the current need to modify the plastics in order to make them laser weldable.

New laser polymer joining processes for optimized thermal management in combination with wavelength-adapted polymers and additives will provide processing speed up to 1 m/s. Key innovations are high-brilliance, mid-IR-wavelength fiber and diode lasers with powers up to 500 W, high-speed scanning and flexible beam manipulation systems, such as dynamic masks and multikilohertz scanning heads.

The project covers the whole process chain for laser-based plastic part assembly and includes laser companies, optics suppliers, and material and processing specialists as well as machine suppliers. The machine equipment developed and the new laser process approaches will be validated by end users from the medical, consumer goods and automotive industries.

For more information, visit: www.polybright.eu
 



GLOSSARY
absorption
The transfer of energy from an incident electromagnetic energy field with wavelength or frequency to an atomic or molecular medium.
beam
1. A bundle of light rays that may be parallel, converging or diverging. 2. A concentrated, unidirectional stream of particles. 3. A concentrated, unidirectional flow of electromagnetic waves.
polymer
A material whose molecular structure consists of long chains made up by the repetition of many (usually thousands) of similar groups of atoms.
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