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Industrial Photonics
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EDITORIAL COMMENT
Latest Issue
Oct 2017

From Oil Fields to The Surgical Suite

MARCIA STAMELL, ASSOCIATE MANAGING EDITOR, marcia.stamell @photonics.com
Laser sintering has proved its worth in industrial applications for making parts too complex for conventional manufacturing processes. Its move into the medical market promises patient-specific titanium implants that can shorten surgery times and hasten recoveries. As Christoph Gayer of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology writes, cutting-edge research is currently underway to make biodegradable patient-specific implants out of fine polymer powder. The polymer requires sophisticated processing to achieve the necessary particle size, viscosity and adhesion. Process parameters must also be in place to protect against thermal degradation of the material. Don’t miss “Laser Sintering Moves Into the Medical Market,” (read article).

The precision that laser sintering brings to the manufacture of medical implants is a quality that lasers bring to their many industrial applications. Two additional stories this month highlight the technology’s vast range and usefulness, particularly on the growing capacities of fiber lasers.

In our cover story, Coherent’s Wolfram Rath and Frank Gaebler write about the use of both CO2 and kilowatt fiber lasers for the heavy metal cutting tasks required by the oil industry. Of particular value are the lasers’ capacity to cut slots in the pipe liners that sieve particulates during well operation. Slab discharge CO2 lasers, the authors write, deliver precision, flexibility and consistency at relatively low cost. The introduction of high-power fiber lasers into the field of slot cutting offers new possibilities for system integration as well as for lowering maintenance and electrical costs. “In the Oil Industry, Lasers Make the Cut” (read article).

Herman Chui and Raj Patel of MKS Spectra-Physics write about the applications of hybrid fiber lasers to the needs of precision micromachining for medical, consumer electronic and automotive manufacturing. Hybrid fiber lasers combine the machining quality of diode-pumped solid-state lasers with the fiber laser’s capacity for pulse tailoring and high repetition rates. In recent years, the authors write, the quality of the lasers has improved to accomplish machining of fine features with precision, consistency, high throughput and low cost. “Hybrid Fiber Lasers Create New Capabilities for Micromachining” (read article).

Elsewhere in this issue

• Johannes Hiltner of MVTec Software GmbH writes about the role of embedded vision in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT). The rise of compact mobile devices, he says, opens the way for a more flexible use of machine vision on the factory floor. Equipped with industrial-grade processors, high-resolution cameras and powerful memories, user-friendly mobile devices can expand the reach of conventional embedded vision systems because they do not have to be permanently installed. “Embedded Vision Finds a Role in the IIoT” (read article).

• For our Picks column, Huyen Vu of Laser Components outlines procedures for cleaning laser optics. Contamination can cause distortion, false data and even destruction of the system. To avoid these pitfalls, don’t miss “Cleaning Your Laser Optics Can Bolster Efficiency and Safety,” (read article).

Enjoy the issue.
Karen Newman
Group Publisher Karen Newman has had a career in business-to-business and association publishing, much of it spent covering technical, scientific and life sciences subjects.
Mike Wheeler
An award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, Managing Editor Michael D. Wheeler oversees editorial content for Photonics Spectra, EuroPhotonics, BioPhotonics and Industrial Photonics magazines.
Marcia Stamell
Associate Managing Editor Marcia Stamell is the editor of BioPhotonics and Industrial Photonics. She has worked for general interest newspapers, the business press and national magazines as a writer and editor.
 
Justine Murphy
Senior Editor Justine Murphy is an award-winning journalist with nearly 20 years of experience. She serves as editor of EuroPhotonics, host of Light Matters and producer of podcasts. She also leads development of magazine special sections and marketing projects.
Autum Pylant
News Editor Autum C. Pylant is an Air Force Veteran with 10+ years of award-winning broadcast journalism experience. She is responsible for the steady flow of news and new product announcements to web and print and is the producer of the Light Matters video newscast.
Robin Riley
Multimedia/Web Editor Robin Riley has 30+ years of experience in communications and marketing for a range of technical industries. She is a regular contributor to web content and social media, and organizes and produces custom and editorial webinars.
 
Hank Hogan
Contributing editor Hank Hogan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from the University of Texas at Austin. Hogan worked in the semiconductor industry and now writes about science and technology.
Marie Freebody
Contributing editor Marie Freebody is a free-lance science and technology journalist with a master’s degree in physics and a concentration in nuclear astrophysics from the University of Surrey in England.
Valerie Coffey
Science writer Valerie C. Coffey holds a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s in astronomy. She has covered optics, photonics, physics and astronomy for a variety of industry and academic publications since 2000.
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