Laser School: Part 2 – The differences between different laser beams
In the first part of the laser school, you got an insight into the different types of lasers used in the manufacturing industry. In this article and video, we’ll take a closer look at the world of laser technology by explaining the difference between different laser beams, how lasers have helped to develop things like 3D printing, and why laser welding is quicker than many other welding solutions.
Lasers have many different applications
It is not only in industry that laser technology has been successful. The technology can be used in many different ways and offers benefits in a variety of different applications. Lasers can be found in products that many of us use on a daily basis, such as DVD players, mobile phones for facial recognition, and telecommunications for home broadband connections. Another key application for lasers is medicine, where they are used for things like skin care, teeth whitening, and tattoo removal.
Power and wavelength vary depending on the type of laser
The laser beam is created in the same way regardless of what it is to be used for. What distinguishes an industrial laser from a laser used in a laser pointer, for example, is its power and wavelength. The power of a laser pointer beam is around one milliwatt, while the power of a laser beam in a fibre optic cable is many kilowatts. Industrial lasers are therefore millions of times more powerful than lasers used in the home.
When it comes to wavelength, there are visible and invisible wavelengths. A laser pointer consists of a visible wavelength, enabling you to see the beam. An industrial laser, on the other hand, is outside of the visible light spectrum, consisting instead of infrared light. Since the light cannot be seen with the naked eye, it is impossible to know when your eyes are in contact with the light, so you cannot protect yourself simply by closing your eyes or looking away. Consequently, to make it safe to work with this technology, industrial lasers are housed in a machine.
In the film, Erik Vännman, a sales executive at Permanova, explains more about how to decide whether laser technology is right for you, when lasers may be appropriate, and the materials that are suitable for laser processing.
3D printing has come on by leaps and bounds thanks to laser technology
Laser technology is a major contributing factor in the development of industry. Laser welding is quicker than many other methods, for example. Thanks to the concentrated intense light spot, it is possible to weld both thick and thin materials that can be tricky to weld using other methods.
3D printing has come on by leaps and bounds thanks to laser technology. The laser beam makes it possible to build up complex industrial components from scratch using only the material needed thanks to the layer-by-layer method. This is incredibly efficient compared with casting a large piece of metal and then working most of the material away to achieve the desired product, which is not only complicated but also expensive, as most of the material is wasted. Today we can see huge demand for 3D printing in the aerospace industry, as well as huge potential in, for example, the automotive industry in the manufacture of battery-powered vehicles.
Do you want to find out more about the industrial benefits of lasers or the ways in which lasers can streamline your business? Please contact me or visit our website for more information. And make sure you don’t miss “Laser School: Part 3”, where we will describe the different laser methods.