High-speed video diagnostics of laser cutting

High-speed video diagnostics of laser cutting (image courtesy of Fraunhofer ILT)

The HALO project is concerned with the development and testing of adaptable laser beam profiles for material processing. This means that it is taking existing laser technologies and making enhancements to them to increase quality and speed while reducing the overall cost of such systems. For a primer on the technologies involved, you may wish to consult these articles hosted on other websites:

Materials processing is by far the highest value application of lasers, and Europe is a power-base for this technology. HALO will develop the next generation of materials processing lasers, which will have adaptable beams actively optimised for specific processes. They will produce better processing results exploiting the as yet unused potential of:

  • Fibre guided high power continuous wave (CW) lasers for metal sheet cutting (addressing the largest market share of laser
  • Pico-second lasers operating at high average powers
  • Pulsed lasers emitting at new wavelengths for precision cutting of thin metal sheets and brittle materials like glass (addressing products of consumer markets such as high end phones or PC systems).

This will require a range of new technologies: HALO will develop the necessary elements to bring about a step change in lasers for materials processing:

  • Components tailored for adaptable beams and new beam shapes
  • New approaches to adaptable hollow beam sources at new wavelengths
  • Techniques for beam shaping and forming
  • Process optimisation for adaptable beam processing using IT-based meta-models
  • Adaptable jet-assisted laser cutting.
Optical fibre being pulled from a glass preform in a drawing tower

Optical fibre being pulled from a glass preform in a drawing tower (image courtesy of ORC Southampton)

The project addresses these two most important markets of laser processing and will be demonstrated in specific industrial applications by important end users:

  • Sheet metal cutting (sheet thickness 1 to 25 mm)
  • Precision cutting of glass and thin metal sheets (<1 mm).

The HALO project consortium includes market leading laser component and system manufacturers, world renowned researchers, beta end users of the system manufacturers and one end user representing excellence in EU small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs).


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