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  • Laser Materials Processing
May 2011

AACHEN, Germany, May 23, 2011 — The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT has developed a monitoring system that can precisely measure the position and speed of the laser beam processing point on the surface, minimizing deviations from the set contour and speed, and stabilizing the energy input.

The use of modern solid-state lasers has resulted in an increase in operational speed in laser materials processing. Whether with scanners or fixed optics, high speeds — in various axes at the same time — have almost become the norm. Although the movement of the optic is precisely calculated, the position of the processing point can deviate from the planned contour. The process monitoring system precisely tracks the relative movement of workpiece and optic, and it enables acceleration-related deviations from the set contour and speed to be measured exactly and the numerical control system to be adjusted accordingly.

The camera-based system analyzes the movements of the workpiece through the optical axis of the laser beam before or during processing. It doesn’t matter whether a fixed or scanner optic is used. The system measures the movement of the processing point on the workpiece and documents deviations from the set contour during machine setup or operation.

It uses image sequence frequencies of up to 10 kHz. Contours have been measured with a processing speed of up to 10 m/min (fixed optic) and up to 15 m/s (scanner optic), with deviation from a reference system of <3 cm/min. The measured data are evaluated separately.

The system is designed for use in laser cutting and welding, soldering, drilling, ablation, microjoining and hardening.

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