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Polybright unveils laser polymer welding systems

04 Sep 2013

Three-year European project yields prototypes based on high-brilliance lasers.

The pan-European PolyBright FP7 project, which had the objective of extending the process limits of laser polymer welding with high-brilliance beam sources, has presented its final results.

Three laser welding prototype machines based on fiber lasers have been developed, two of which will be exhibited from October 16-23 at the K 2013 plastic trade fair in Düsseldorf, Germany.

The first prototype is a high-flexible dynamic mask welding unit developed by Leister Technologies, Switzerland, which is described as “a real novelty in laser polymer welding”, since it allows the weld contour to change within minutes due to its application of a Liquid-Crystal-on-Silicon (LCoS) reflective mirror.

Additionally, with the build-in scanner and beam shaping facility using transmissive diffractive optical elements, contour welding and quasi-simultaneous welding is feasible as well. The beam source is a polarized fiber laser, emitting at 1070nm with 70W maximum output power (above left, in main image).

The second welder is described as a “scanner + axes” QSLW machine developed by Cencorp, Finland, which allows to the application of a range of laser contour welding methods (contour, contour TWIST, or quasi-simultaneous) along a large working area, depending on conditions (above mid).

The third machine is the TWIST prototype developed by a German partnership of Arges, IPG Photonics and the Fraunhofer ILT.

The TWIST’s 1567 nm fiber laser wavelength and wavelength-adapted scanner employs a contour welding process; its use of 1567 nm instead of a conventional 1070 nm fiber laser wavelength achieves successful welding of highly opaque, colored polymers, especially the welding of white-white media (above, right).

The Dynamic Mask as well as the Quasi-Simultaneous prototype will be exhibited during this K 2013 in October in Düsseldorf, Germany. The PolyBright project partners will present their results on booth 07 C03, in Hall 7, among the “Science Campus” exhibitors.

About the project

The Polybright project commenced in October 2010 with 18 partners from nine countries and will complete in October 2013. The aim of the project was to develop high power high brilliance lasers with new wavelengths between 1500 and 1900 nm, to be adapted to the absorption properties of polymers. The European Commission allocated €6.6 million of public funding to this project, which had an overall budget of €10.2 million.

About the Author

Matthew Peach is a contributing editor to optics.org.

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