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LASER 2003: Tuesday

25 Jun 2003

Trumpf introduces a 4 kilowatt thin-disk laser and a scanner for high-power remote-welding at the Munich show.

Trumpf, the Germany-based laser system maker, has unveiled a prototype 4 kilowatt continuous-wave thin-disk laser.

The laser, which can be coupled to a 200 µm fiber, provides the highest power available from such a source. The system contains four Yb:YAG disks and is designed for sheet-metal cutting and aluminum welding applications.

Peter Leibinger, who takes over as the chief executive of Trumpf Laser on 1 July, told Optics.org: “We are absolutely convinced that thin-disk lasers will replace lamp-pumped rod lasers in many applications.”

“We can build up the [thin-disk] platform by adding more units, with virtually no deterioration in beam quality,” added Leibinger, whose father Berthold is the president of the Trumpf Group.

The high beam quality arises from the small size of the active medium, which almost eliminates thermal lensing.

With a reduced beam diameter at focus, the intensity threshold needed for aluminum welding is reached at a lower power compared with other laser systems. In sheet-metal cutting, the smaller focus means that cutting speed is increased.

The beam quality of the thin-disk source also makes remote-welding possible.

In another announcement at the LASER show, Trumpf said that car manufacturer BMW is using its laser scanners for remote-welding of car body parts.

The scanners, which are designed for use with carbon dioxide lasers, has a positioning speed of 700 m per minute and is said to drastically reduce the time required for laser welding.

Michael Hatcher is technology editor of Opto & Laser Europe magazine.

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