In truth, trying to define laser applications is an endless pursuit. There is virtually no place in our world today untouched by them. Our computers, sporting goods, dishware, airplanes…they all have lasers as a significant part of their development, and in the massive technological improvements seen over the past 30 years. Each day engineers and scientists are finding new applications and new ways to use lasers in industry.
There are some industry applications, however, that have rapidly adapted to using lasers. These are several significant laser applications that have become industry standards for businesses across the globe.
Lasers have a broad base of uses in cutting. They can cut huge pieces of metal, diamonds, microprocessors, human tissue, and everything in between. Laser cutters are used in virtually every industry in some part of the production process. They provide unequaled cut quality, accuracy, speed, and ROI.
Laser cutting can be achieved on almost any material, due to the expansive range of laser wavelengths and beam powers available. A material might reflect visible light, but absorb ultraviolet or infrared. This means you can continue to source the best material for your products and still take advantage of the many benefits that laser cutting offers.
Laser drilling is also widely used on material as varied as stainless steel and pharmaceutical pills and tablets. Depending on the size of the hole, and the tolerances it must meet, drilling can occur by simply boring a hole through the material or trepanning, where the laser makes and initial hole and then increases the size by spiraling in ever-widening circles until the proper size is reached. This method can happen on the fly at extreme speeds while materials pass through. For instance, our tablet drillers can trepan into pharmaceutical tablets at rates exceeding 150,000 pieces per hour.
There is no more effective way to mark parts and products than with a laser. Whether marking, etching, engraving, or ablating, lasers can do more materials, faster, with less rejection and increased throughput than any other method of marking. CMS Laser can mark wire at speeds exceeding 700 feet per minute, do lettering at greater than 1000 characters per second, and mark serial numbers and bar code in sizes so small that the human eye can scarcely detect them.
From engraving golf club heads, to marking serial and batch numbers of miniaturized semiconductors, the ability to place the beam within microns of the same place each and every time makes laser marking the most repeatable process available. That means less bad parts, less down time, and more time making the products that drive your business.
Much like laser cutting, the uses for laser welding cover massive applications like ship building and automobile frame construction, to microwelding with beads as small as 0.02 mm. CMS Laser has also developed plastic welding system which achieve significant advantages in speed and join size over ultrasonic methods.
Laser welding can reach places that human hands cannot, with smaller bead and seam sizes, and with speeds that can exceed 200 welds per minute. With the extraordinary repeatability offered by automation, this can increase throughput, lower your manufacturing cost per part, and largely eliminate rejected parts down the production line.
Lasers have the unique ability to affect surface materials in very controlled, very minute ways. The capability of a laser to sublimate materials means you can literally vaporize material from the surface. The removed layer can be as shallow as 2-3 microns and as small as 10 microns in diameter. Done at very high speeds, this can do anything from resurfacing to ablation to creating molds and tools where precise specifications must be met.