13 Jan 2015
New EC-backed R&D program promises six tranches of €200,000 for part-funding laser materials processing.Appolo, currently active in the Seventh Framework program, has launched an open call for assessment experiments involving new laser processing equipment for emerging manufacturing technologies based on ultra-short (sub-ns) pulses.
The two-year, part-funded program of experiments are intended to validate the technologies needed for large and global markets. Up to €200,000 is available per project. The deadline for submission of proposals is March 18, 2015.
The equipment should be tested for the selected technological process in a “close-to industrial environment” using the assessment service of various laser application laboratories around Europe that are associated with the Appolo Hub.
Validation will be performed in close collaboration between equipment supplier, end-user and an application laboratory connected to the Hub to demonstrate applicability of the new equipment for industrial applications.
The Hub, a network of laser application laboratories which provide the laser micromachining assessment services for industry partners, has the function of collecting and transfering experiences and technologies, obtained during the Appolo project, from the laser application laboratories to ends users, willing to use laser manufacturing tools.
Approximately six proposals will be selected for funding in this competitive call, including at least two new partners per proposal from equipment supply (ideally small to medium-sized enterprises) and end-users with clear exploitation plans and one existing partner from the Appolo Hub, in order to perform the equipment/technology assessment. The EC stressed that the Seventh Framework programme is offering only part-funding, not full-funding, of research activities.
The open call announcement stresses that, as its goal is to increase overall impact of the Appolo project by adding new applications and end-users, any overlap with currently running assessment value chains in terms of type of new equipment and applications will be regarded as a weakness of a proposal.
In the call announcement, the Appolo project members suggest the following topics as the most promising: laser based micro-processing of thin films and material surfaces with plane and curved topography for materials etching, modification and deposition. “Hot” application areas include: thin film and flexible electronics; security and defense; photovoltaics; and bio-sensing.
This would encompass processes such as efficient laser treatment, high-speed and other types of texturing; laser post-processing, molding and laser-sintered parts. Relevant subject materials include: composites; transparent materials; silicon wafers; and polymers.
Appolo project equipment currently under test includes: a 1.34µm, 10W, 300kHz, ps-laser; a 100 m/s polygon line scanner; a 10MHz, 100W fiber laser delivering 25ps pulses at 1064/512nm; a 100W, 1ps laser; and a 5-axis ultra-short pulse laser workstation for texturing of 3D surfaces.
Further information and application process is here.
About the Author
Matthew Peach is contributing editor to