Winners of Innovation Award for Laser Technology Crowned in Aachen

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AACHEN, Germany, May 11, 2022 — PRIMES GmbH, a beam diagnostics company that develops measuring devices that enable reliable recording of beam parameters and ongoing documentation of beam properties for quality assurance purposes, is the first-place winner of the 2022 Innovation Award for Laser Technology. PRIMES took this year’s award — and €10,000 ($10,520) prize — for its ScanFieldMonitor (SFM). The principle used in the SFM enables the measurement of laser beam parameters during the movement of a scanned vector. The resulting laser-scanner characterization provides all geometrical and laser-related parameters relevant for remote applications.

The Innovation Award for Laser Technology is presented every two years to laser manufacturers and users, as well as researchers and developers who have spearheaded a laser technology innovation from application-oriented research to successful industrial implementation. It is organized by the Arbeitskreis Lasertechnik (AKL) eV, a network of around 180 laser experts, and the European Laser Institute (ELI) eV, a platform that brings together expertise and knowledge of optical technologies.

The 2020 and 2022 winners were celebrated May 4 at a ceremony in Aachen.

SFM was developed by Stefan Wolf, head of R&D at PRIMES, as a tool for laser scanner characterization. The development was prompted by many new applications in the field of additive manufacturing and e-mobility. The measurement principle enables measuring laser beam parameters by scanning vectors. The resulting laser scanner characterization provides all geometric and laser-related parameters relevant for remote applications. In the same operation, beam position and movement of the laser scanner unit in the scan area are determined. The quality of the SFM's measurement principle becomes apparent whenever the behavior of a dynamic laser plays a role.

The PRIMES ScanFieldMonitor (SFM) enables the measurement of laser beam parameters during the movement of a scanned vector. The solution was named the winner of the 2022 Innovation Award for Laser Technology. Courtesy of PRIMES GmbH via Thomas Umschlag.
The PRIMES ScanFieldMonitor enables the measurement of laser beam parameters during the movement of a scanned vector. The solution was named the winner of the 2022 Innovation Award for Laser Technology. Courtesy of PRIMES GmbH via Thomas Umschlag.
The 2020 award-winning project was "Active Speed Control: Camera-Based Sensor System for Closed-Loop Feed Regulation in Laser Cutting." Boris Regaard and the team at TRUMPF Werkzeugmaschinen GmbH + Co. KG developed a system that features a camera-based sensor system in the cutting head, whereby real-time image processing analyzes the camera data. Based on the data analysis, the feed rate is constantly monitored for optimal results. This ensures maximum cutting speed and a more reliable process. The system has potential for controlling or monitoring other process parameters and is thus a milestone toward the future development of a fully autonomous laser cutting machine.

Second place in 2022 was awarded to the project "Innovative Surfaces Using High-Speed Laser-Biomimetics" by Tim Kunze of Fusion Bionic GmbH. Whereas functional technical surfaces are produced mainly by coatings and lithographic processes, Fusion Bionic developed high-throughput manufacturing systems based on direct laser interference patterning (DLIP) that are up to 10 times faster than established processes. 

Second place for 2020 was awarded to "New Laser Solution for Defusing Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) by the Use of a Disposable 3D Printed Tool Head." The solution was developed by Oliver Meier of LASER on demand GmbH, together with the Laser Zentrum Hannover eV and the explosive ordnance disposal service of the Hamburg Fire Department. The approach involves creating a defined weakening in the cylindrical section of a bomb casing through a laser notching process, which then reduces pressure and thus the detonation force of the bomb. Subsequently, a controlled low-energy input triggers a deflagration that is designed to rupture the shell at the notch and eject the detonator.

Finalists Innvoation Award Laser Technology 2022, from left to right: Martin Zeitler (Blackbird), Dr. Uwe Megerle (SCANLAB), Volkan Türetkan (on smartphone) and Thibault Bautze-Scherff (both Blackbird). Courtesy of ScanLab GmbH.
Innovation Award Laser Technology 2022 finalists (from left): Martin Zeitler (Blackbird), Uwe Megerle (SCANLAB), and Volkan Türetkan (pictured on smartphone) and Thibault Bautze-Scherff (both of Blackbird). Courtesy of ScanLab GmbH.
"Finally United: OCT-Based Process Control and On-The-Fly Remote Laser Welding in One Tool" took third place this year. The project, by Thibault Bautze-Scherff, head of sales at Blackbird Robotersysteme GmbH, and jointly developed with SCANLAB GmbH, combines multiple monitoring tasks in laser welding in one tool. The combination of on-the-fly functionality, a main scanner, and an OCT sensor is accessible via a common user interface. The system provides the flexibility that is increasingly in demand in production lines — for example, to weld different parts, each with its own process monitoring requirements, in one station.

"Unlimited Flexibility for Short Pulse Laser Applications" won third place for 2020. The project is enabled by the neoMOS "SMART" laser system developed by Maik Frede of neoLASE GmbH. The system implements the philosophy of developing new applications in laser micromachining through the flexible use of short-pulse lasers. The integrated ultrashort-pulse laser for materials processing enables pulse durations from nano- to femtoseconds, or a combination of different pulse durations in the same process. Combined with a modular master oscillator power amplifier platform, the open-source philosophy makes it possible to exchange only a part of the laser — the seeder — to set up completely new laser parameters.

Published: May 2022
BusinessGermanyLasersInnovation Award for Laser TechnologyEuropeawardsScanlab GmbHPrimes GmbHTrumpfFusion Bionic GmbHLaser Zentrum HannoverLaser Zentrum Hannover e.VLASER on Demand GmbHBlackbird Robotersysteme GmbHneoLase GmbHlaser solutionslaser weldinglaser welding applicationse-mobility

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