28 Industrial Laser Solutions MARCH/APRIL 2017 www.industrial-lasers.com
David A. Belforte
Microprocessing sets the tone for 2017
Maybe it was the roaring success of this year’s
SPIE Photonics West, which has more of a focus
on microprocessing as opposed to the macroprocessing focus of Fabtech, as I seem to be inundated with news about ultrafast-pulse (UFP) lasers
and processing technology. For example, in the
last issue of ILS, half of the editorial was on UFP
processing technology. This issue, I went the other
way—so macro-applications are dominant.
Lest you think I was prescient, consider the ILS
editorial calendar was actually planned last August
before I took into account the micromachining
atmosphere at Photonics West and MD&M.
In this issue, we feature welding materials using
a technique known as “beam wobbling” to manipulate a small, highly dynamic weld pool specifically
for laser welding dissimilar thin metal combinations that were previously considered unweldable.
Bryce Samson and colleagues at IPG Photonics
think this technology can be extended to laser
power up to 12k W (see page 12).
On another thickness scale, Jan Frostevarg
and Jonas Näsström (Luleå University) suggest
that narrow-gap multi-layer laser welding with a
defocused laser and resistance-heated filler wire
can produce deep welds with low base material
dilution and more adaptable fusion zone properties (see page 16).
In the continuing search for lightweight automotive seat structures, Geert Verhaeghe and associates at Faurecia assess laser-based joining of
metals to plastics in a two-part process, comprising a microstructuring and a joining step, to join a
prototype lightweight hybrid backrest seat structure (see page 9).
And Axel Luft at Laserline utilizes a homoge-
nizing module to split a single diode laser beam
to create three laser spots for brazing hot-dip gal-
vanized steel, where two smaller spots evapo-
rate zinc and the bigger main spot is used for the
brazing process. They also posit that a tailored
spot geometry could facilitate smooth tactile outer
skin aluminum welding (see page 19).
On the micro-scale, Keming Du et al.
(Edge Wave) describe a short-pulse, high-peak-power, high-pulse-repetition-rate, high-beam-quality, and high-average-power laser capable
of producing beams with circular through line-shaped one- and two-dimensional top-hat beam
profiles with a rectangular cross-section to process a variety of unique applications with added
value (see page 22).
And finally, Mandy Gebhardt (3D Micromac)
shows how thermal laser separation is used to
induce mechanical stress to separate brittle semiconductor materials into dies, with improved edge
quality while increasing manufacturing yield and
throughput and reducing dicing cost per wafer up
to an order of magnitude (see page 25).
Switching thoughts—two months into a new
year and one month after a new administration
in Washington, we are getting messages that the
US is having a strong start in the manufacturing
sector. Business has picked up and factories are
running at high capacity levels. Investment money
seems to be looser and we hear talk of expansions from a number of companies who stood
pat last year.
Optimism, a word preceded by “cautious”
last year, is being bandied about by industrialists in North America, and we have not heard the
dreaded “recession” word from any sector. The
new double-R, Regulatory Reform, is the key word
among CEOs today. Many forecasters anticipate
that the US will return to driving the world economy in 2017. No predictions from me, as I have my
fingers tightly crossed and can’t type anymore.
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