Laser School: Part 6 – Requirements for staff and premises in order to use lasers in the engineering industry
Home » Laser School: Part 6 – Requirements for staff and premises in order to use lasers in the engineering industry
The sixth part of laser school looks at the knowledge and conditions required in order to use different laser methods in the engineering industry. In the article and film, we discuss the knowledge that the company’s staff need to have, where they can acquire this knowledge, and the requirements of the premises where laser processing takes place.
A wealth of knowledge and information on well-established laser methods
The basic knowledge required to work with lasers in the engineering industry is generally the same regardless of the laser method. On the other hand, there is a great deal of information available on the different laser methods, depending on how established they are.
Laser welding and laser cutting are two very established laser methods. There is a lot of equipment available for these methods that is both accessible and user-friendly. In addition, a lot of data has been collected on these methods that describes which parameters work well in which situations. Although laser hardening is not as well established, it is a relatively simple laser method that involves only a few parameters. Laser soldering and additive manufacturing (AM) using lasers involve more parameters than do the other methods as the processes involve additives, often in the form of wire. In addition to having more parameters, additive manufacturing is a relatively new process. Consequently there is less data available compared with the more established laser processes.
Laser safety officer – laser safety training
At Permanova, we often find that factory staff with some kind of laser training are more efficient and achieve higher product quality compared with factory staff without any laser training. Trained staff also have fewer rejects, as their knowledge of the laser process means they notice early on if something isn’t right in production.
We recommend having the support of an experienced supplier, who can share the knowledge required about a specific laser process and the industry in which it is being applied. Suppliers often offer general laser training on equipment and safety. Sometimes more specific training may be needed, whereby the supplier will visit the production facility and provide training on the specific equipment on site.
Pursuant to §15 of the Swedish Work Environment Authority’s regulations on artificial optical radiation (AFS 2009:7), every workplace that uses optical radiation must appoint someone who is well acquainted with the use and risks of the process and the regulations regarding it. An excellent way of acquiring knowledge is to undergo laser safety officer (LSO) training. As the knowledge that is required according to the Swedish Work Environment Authority deals with laser safety, LSO training is equally relevant, regardless of the laser method used.
Ventilation is needed to handle smoke and dust particles
Because the laser process is housed within a laser station, there are no particularly stringent requirements for the premises where the laser process takes place. All that is needed is an extractor connected to the laser station. Since some laser processes produce a certain amount of dust and smoke, the extractor must collect the particles from the process to keep the production facility clean.
The equipment required to perform a laser process is often compact and adaptable. Laser welding is one example of an automated laser method than can often be easily integrated into a production line. Compared with manual welding, which is often carried out in booths, laser welding is a more efficient solution that also takes up less space.
Laser processes can be small scale and simple
A common myth about industrial laser processes is that they are costly and complicated and that they are not suited to smaller companies. However, this is not necessarily the case. Most laser processes can be adapted to be small scale and simple. Although industrial laser processing has developed at different rates in different industries, it offers a variety of advantages for both production and products.
Permanova offers several different laser training courses, including LSO training. Visit our website or contact me directly for more information. Also, keep an eye out for “Laser School: Part 7”, which is about the environmental aspects of using lasers as a processing method.