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Hamamatsu launches laser thermal processor for quenching

02 Mar 2021

Processing system combines direct diode laser with a six-axis robotic arm, allowing high degree of freedom.

Hamamatsu Photonics has developed new laser thermal processing equipment for laser quenching that combines a direct diode laser, based on the firm’s own diode technology, with a six-axis robotic arm that operates with a high degree of freedom.

The system delivers a laser beam with an output power of 2.5 kW, which is described as “ideal for surface quenching onto steel materials of various shapes and sizes.” It also offers a low running cost, which will lead to wider use of laser quenching, Hamamatsu is hoping.

The heating temperature can be precisely adjusted by setting the laser irradiation time per shot to any desired period from continuous to pulsed irradiation, with a minimum pulse width of 4 ms, enabling the use of laser quenching on materials that are less resistant to heat.

This equipment was designed and developed in a project called “Development of Advanced Laser Processing with Intelligence Based on High-Brightness and High-Efficiency Next-Generation Laser Technologies” supported by NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization), a major Japanese national research and development agency.

Other key features

  • Stabilizes the temperature of the irradiated area by temperature monitoring and feedback.
  • Measures the temperature of the irradiated area in the range from 100°C to 2000°C contactlessly.
  • Emits a laser beam in 35 irradiation patterns with a uniform intensity distribution over the irradiated surface, enabled by Hamamatsu’s own optical design technology.
  • Allows adjustment of the irradiation distance from the DDL to the target object in the range from 100 mm to 500 mm.
  • Expected to promote the spread of laser quenching and expand its applications to materials with low heat resistance.

Multiple applications

Hamamatsu has already developed and produced various DDL designs and sells them for applications such as surface quenching, welding and brazing. This time, by applying the LD technology and experience gained over many years, the firm has developed a new DDL with an irradiation time and delivery area that can be flexibly adjusted as required. This is combined with the six-axis robotic arm to design and develop new laser thermal processing capabilities.

The launch statement added, “To drive the newly developed DDL, we also designed a power supply circuit from scratch that is optimized for laser output conditions. The DDL irradiation time can be set as needed from continuous irradiation to pulsed irradiation.

“Laser output power is also automatically adjusted to stabilize the temperature of the irradiated area by monitoring the radiation temperature 500 times per second, without any physical contact, so that the temperature of the irradiated area can be precisely adjusted.”

Hamamatsu will be working in collaboration with the TACMI Consortium to open up new applications for laser processing by continuing to give demonstrations of this processing technology together with the member companies involved with the materials processing industry.

TACMI stands for the Consortium for Technological Approaches toward Cool laser Manufacturing with Intelligence. The TACMI Consortium is managed mainly by the University of Tokyo to make the materials processing platforms provided by NEDO project participants widely available to industry, while aiming to promote manufacturing with new lasers that will meet the needs of the coming IoT era.

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