Posted by Art Of Legend India [dot] Com On 1:12 AM
Laser technology has exploded in recent years, making new applications in a multitude of areas a commonplace and ever expanding phenomenon. Such things as barcode readers, laser pointers, cd players, and even holography are quickly becoming a part of the fabric of everyday life for much of the world's population. In terms of industrial and engineering applications, it is probably best to classify the use of laser technology into the broad categories of Laser Cutting, Laser Welding, Laser Drilling, Laser Marking and Laser Cladding.
In working with metals, this has quickly become the industry standard. Primarily because of its predictable consistency from piece to piece - an important consideration when producing interchangeable replacement parts. Additionally, some materials are difficult, if not impossible, to cut precisely using traditional methods without warping. One possible downside to laser cutting is high power consumption, resulting in greatly reduced overall efficiency in some applications.
This is perhaps the oldest industrial application, with the beginning of widespread use dating to about 1990. Since then, laser welding technology has been successfully adapted to primarily high-volume operations such as the automobile industry, and to the fabrication of such items as pipes, ducts and air tanks, to name a few. The laser's beam can provide the concentrated heat source that allows for the deep, narrow welds necessary to optimize fabrication with more sensitive metals like titanium, aluminium and stainless steel.
Laser Drilling has become a primary component in the production of aircraft and power-generating turbine equipment. The ability to drill small, precisely located low-distortion holes in traditionally inaccessible areas has enabled the development of systems with greatly enhanced cooling capability. Laser drilling carries with it some limitations, chief among them the tendency of some holes to taper to about 1% of the drill depth.
These processes are essentially interchangeable terms, describing a wide variety of surfacing techniques, chief among them: flexographic printing, bonding and hot branding. In the printing industry, direct imaging techniques that no longer require chemical baths or excessive plate handling have become perfected in recent years and have virtually replaced conventionally prepared flexographic printing plates. Sub-surface laser engraving is widely used in the production of high-grade optical lenses, and more recently, the creation of 3-D imagery in a variety of crystal-like media. The laser's ability to easily cut into both flat and curved surfaces has not only allowed for creative design innovations in the jewellery industry, but more importantly, has made possible the micro-engraving of laser identification numbers onto precious stones.
Cladding is essentially the fusing together of dissimilar metals on a molecular level as opposed to more traditional, and less reliable, welding or bonding techniques. Aside from bonded strength, one of the greatest advantages of laser cladding is the concentration of beam energy to a very small area, keeping the heat-affected zone of the substrate very shallow. This minimizes the possibility of distortion, cracking, or molecular changes to the substrate material. Laser cladding has made the production of formerly difficult-to-produce, among other things, chrome carbide aircraft parts a far more efficient process.