Chuck Reagan, Southeast Sales Manager, Ophir-Spiricon Inc.
Many laser users sympathize with this situation after enduring similar problems with their own lasers. Production line shut-downs, cash-flow disasters, late deliveries, irate customers, and annoyed management are all direct results of having a problem on the production line. It often seems that no one is able to correct the problems quickly or at a reasonable price.
Recently, a manufacturing engineer spoke to Ophir-Spiricon because he could not diagnose the problems with his new, robot-mounted, 4kW diode laser. The engineer bought the laser to heat-treat metal parts, but the laser would not work properly and the laser manufacturer did not know why. His power meter readings and his inspection of the scrap products did not show him why his new laser was not working properly. The parts are made for extreme environments found in the chemical and oil industries and, after processing, they did not pass the rigorous quality control checks. The laser manufacturer’s advertisements stated that the laser delivers a full-power (4kW), focused, linear, flat-top beam on the metal parts throughout the duty cycle. The manufacturer-supplied lens should shape the diode beam into a linear, flat-top beam. The engineer and his technicians suspected that either the laser did not focus properly on the target or the lens did not distribute power correctly on the target surface. But their checks were inconclusive. The robot did not cause or contribute to the problems and it worked flawlessly throughout the process.
A visit by an Ophir-Spiricon sales engineer with an LBA-USB-SP620 laser beam diagnostic system found the cause of the faulty laser within a few minutes after setup. The image shown below captured by the Spiricon LBA software told the story of the faulty laser (see Figure 1).