From cutting steel, to drilling via holes in silicon, to marking plastic, a whole range of material processes now make use of the laser to produce results not previously practical.
However, the ever-growing demands for efficient productivity require that the laser process be stable and predictable. Just like any tool used in precision manufacturing, the industrial laser needs to be monitored so that peak performance can be maintained. Detecting a drop in some predefined laser parameter, for example, can then be used to trigger a call for preventive maintenance, can save a lot of money - especially when compared to the cost of downtime and scrapped parts. Proper monitoring of correctly defined laser parameters can also enable process control, so that a drifting parameter can be automatically corrected and the process kept within its specified envelope – ideally without interruption.
To ensure a consistent process over time, the relevant parameters must be measured as a function of time to control performance. The parameters that need to be watched depend on the application, as does the question of how often the watched parameters need to be sampled.
Relevant laser parameters include:
- Average power: Ophir offers sensors for measuring powers up to 120 kilowatts (and down to as low as femtowatts). Various sensor technologies and absorber types are available, each optimized for specific sets of conditions.
- Pulse energy: Sensors are available for measuring single shot pulse energies up to several kilojoules, and repetitive pulse energies of many tens of joules, at repetition rates up to tens of KHz.
- Beam analysis: A wide range of Beam Profiling solutions and accessories are available, both camera based and scanning slit based, for whatever your beam might be throwing at you. Ophir also offers a unique instrument for analyzing focal spot and beam waist without any physical contact with the beam, enabling you to analyze beams with no upper limit on power.
- a complete stand-alone instrument, such as a power meter and sensor on a laboratory optical bench
- simple sensor elements with raw analog output
- customized sensors with built-in communications interface, for when a measurement solution needs to be integrated inside a host system
- complete customized solutions, tailored to your exact needs
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