By John McCauley Midwest Regional Sales Engineer, the Ophir Photonics Group
Even though Harrington was speaking specifically of improving of the quality in a person’s work performance, the same is true for maintaining a quality laser process.
Measurement of a laser usually consists of quantitative measurement by use of a power or energy measurement system, or qualitative measurement by the use of a beam profiling system. Beam profiling can be described as using a device, such as a camera, scanning slit, or other device to image a laser beam or a sample of the beam, interfacing that imaging device with a PC, and analyzing that image using beam analysis software. The data obtained from a beam profile can be used in several different ways.
Some of the questions we sales engineers frequently get when demonstrating beam profiling solutions to potential customers are: "What does beam profiling do for me?" or "How can I use the data that I get from a beam profile?" Sometimes it's difficult to communicate the answers to these questions without a solid example. I recently had the opportunity to meet with a customer to discuss these benefits as they applied to their laser processes.
The particular company that I had the pleasure of working with on this project supplies, among other services, laser welded parts to the biomedical industry. They have lately been experiencing increased growth in their manufacturing processes related to medical device manufacturing, and are making real strides towards remaining a high-quality supplier of laser-welded parts to larger medical device manufacturers across the country. Establishing a solid reputation in the industrial community as a vendor that supplies the highest quality parts to some of the larger companies has been one of the keys to their successes.
One of the processes that I got involved with a couple of years back was a laser welding process joining two dissimilar metals on an implantable device. For this joining process, they utilize a lamppumped Nd:YAG laser with free-space optics operating in a repetitive pulse mode. The laser is integrated into a small glove box workstation used for manual welding.