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Handheld laser device hardens tools

09 Oct 2006

Hand-held device supports laser processing up to 4kW - but without complex CNC or robot programming.

Laser Zentrum Hannover and a group of industry partners have developed a new type of handheld laser-based tool designed for the hardening of cutting and forming tools. A prototype of the device is to be demonstrated at the EuroBlech trade fair, at Hanover Messe, between October 24-28.

"A disadvantage of conventional laser beam hardening systems is that typically they can be used only in conjunction with CNC machines and robots, which require considerable programming or teach-in work," says an LZH spokesman. "In contrast, our new device allows for timesaving and cost effective processing."

The tool has a maximum feed rate of 500 mm/min. One particular advantage is the accessibility it enables for complex component geometries, made possible by a combination of drive design and compact beam delivery. It can be integrated easily with many industrial solid state lasers with output powers up to 4 kW.

Besides the hardness results, the safety of the device during operation is critical. LZH says that extensive safety measures are designed in to prevent laser radiation leakage.

The development project for the tool was supported with funds from the German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AiF) through the European Research Association for Sheet Metal Working (EFB).

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