Laser experts make their mark on Winter Paralympics

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Barnsley, UK – Two years after laser and engraving specialists Cutting Technologies played a crucial part in the closing ceremony of the London Paralympic Games, the company has made its mark again: this time on Sochi’s Winter Games.

On March 1, the historic role of the UK’s Stoke Mandeville Stadium in Aylesbury as the birthplace of the Paralympic Movement was marked in the Heritage Flame Lighting Ceremony.

Barnsley-based manufacturer, Cutting Technologies, who laser cuts and laser engraves a variety of materials from wood and plastics to metal and fabric, was chosen to engrave 55 brass arcs that were welded into an armillary sphere for the Stoke Mandeville ceremony. The arcs were black laser engraved with a logo and the names of the cities that have hosted the Paralympic Games together with the year the games were held.

Weld Fab Engineering Services put the structure together that was used during the Paralympic flame ignition ceremony.

The Flame was lit by an iconic “Armillary Sphere,” a model of stars and planets in the sky more than six meters tall and six meters in diameter, and the spark of the Flame was generated from the chair of London 2012 Paralympics, gold medalist Hannah Cockcroft.

Written by David Belforte.  To read the full article, please click here.  For more information on laser marking, laser etching and promotional printing services visit our website at www.lasermarkingsvs.com, and follow us everywhere @lasermarkingsvs.

Applications of laser functionalized surfaces

Laser surface functionalization refers to the process of using laser techniques to endow a surface with a particular property. Laser techniques include marking, engraving, ablation, micromachining, and additive manufacturing.

At IREPA Laser, Strasbourg, France, researchers have developed the experimental micromachining system called the MUSE platform (Micro Usinage Système Expérimentale), which is dedicated to texturing applications. This Class 1 machine houses a femtosecond and a nanosecond laser, allowing processing with pulses from 300 fs up to 240 ns in the near-infrared wavelength band and from 300 fs up to 10 ps at wavelengths in the visible (green) and ultraviolet. Of the work described in the following, the MUSE was used (only) for sharkskin.

The MUSE platform has four mechanical axes, three optical axes, and associated galvo heads, microscope lens, and one cutting head. This system offers a 300 × 300mm working area and permits a focus point from 1 to 100 µm. The associated driver software features include a display of the depth and dimensions of processed area.

Written by Frederic Mermet.  To read the full article, please click here.  For more information on laser marking, laser etching and promotional printing services visit our website at www.lasermarkingsvs.com, and follow us everywhere @lasermarkingsvs.

Laser ablation and texturing of mold surfaces

Over the last 30 years, the advent of plastic as the material of choice for consumer goods has caused a seismic shift in the manufacturing process of goods and parts that were historically built from other materials. Glass and steel have been replaced by plastic in so many areas of our day-to-day life, including automotive interiors and exteriors, electronics, household goods, lawn and garden items, containers, and medical components. Textures and grains on plastic products are becoming more important in the marketplace. The physical appearance of plastic items when enhanced can result in an indication of quality depending on the surface texture or grain. OEMs in many industries understand this and are mandating higher quality and variety in terms of the surfaces their suppliers provide. Because of this, moldmakers are seeking methods of improving the level of quality and variety in surface texturing of blow molds and injection molds.

Traditionally, moldmakers have used what is referred to as chemical etching to surface molds. This process involves submersing the mold surface in a chemical mixture that will eat away the surface in the areas not covered by a protective coating, producing a pattern or grain on the mold surface. Chemical etching is by no means an exact science and there is no way of predicting the exact appearance of a product until it is molded. The toxic and corrosive chemicals used in this process have a negative impact on the environment and are extremely harmful to the people exposed to them. Government regulations for the handling and disposal of the chemicals are becoming more onerous and expensive, costs that usually end up being passed to the customer.

Written by Al Gordon.  To read the full article, please click here.  For more information on laser marking, laser etching and promotional printing services visit our website at www.lasermarkingsvs.com, and follow us everywhere @lasermarkingsvs.

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Manchester, UK – Professor Lin Li, from the University of Manchester’s School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, will this week receive one of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s highest accolades — the Sir Frank Whittle medal — for his outstanding and sustained research achievements for engineering innovations in manufacturing that have directly benefited the UK economy.

Professor Li, Head of the University’s Manufacturing Research Group and Director of the Laser Processing Research Centre, pioneered the development of laser and materials processing technologies for manufacturing in several industrial sectors.

Collaborating with Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems, this team developed a laser cleaning technique that has been deployed in the aerospace industry to replace conventional chemical cleaning for a range of component manufacture processes, resulting in reduced scrap rates and environmental impacts. This work will be the subject of a feature article in the September/October issue of Industrial Laser Solutions magazine.

Working with BNFL, Li and his colleagues invented a technique called “laser scabbling,” which is now being commercialized for nuclear power plant decommissioning. A laser is used to separate highly contaminated surface concrete in a nuclear installation from the bulk concrete structure, so that the remaining bulk concrete can be treated as low-level nuclear waste, dramatically reducing the decontamination process and cost.

Written by David Belforte.  To read the full article, please click here.  For more information on laser marking, laser etching and promotional printing services visit our website at www.lasermarkingsvs.com, and follow us everywhere @lasermarkingsvs.

Laser micro-etching of polymer-based life science products

Micro-etching, or micro-stripping, is a term used to describe the use of a laser to selectively remove a top layer to expose the underlying material or to selectively remove a portion of material to a prescribed depth. In the case of etching or stripping polymer materials, especially polymer-based life science products — such as single-use medical devices or diagnostic consumables — depth control, end-point detection and material type are critical attributes. This article describes a variety of micro-etching techniques developed to meet the needs of the life science industry.

By definition, micro-etching implies a highly selective material removal process with an etch rate as low as 0.1 micron per laser pulse. This means that the laser etches the material like a fine scalpel, etching the material layer-by-layer with each layer as thin as 0.1 micron. This high resolution permits the laser to create blind holes, blind wells, or channels with extremely precise depth control. As an example, if a coating 10 microns thick needs to be removed, then by pulsing the laser 100 times at an etch rate of 0.1 micron per pulse, the required coating is removed. By counting the number of laser pulses, the depth of etching can be accurately controlled. As a general rule, micro-etching does not exceed >1 mm (0.04 in.) in depth.

Written by Glenn Ogura.  To read the full article, please click here.  For more information on laser marking, laser etching and promotional printing services visit our website at www.lasermarkingsvs.com, and follow us everywhere @lasermarkingsvs.

Laser marking leaves an everlasting impression

Co-owners Bettina and Don Snyder have worked together since 1998 to build CS Industries (www.csindustries.com) of Palmer, MA. A legacy of good old-fashioned American values supporting all products “made in the USA” is largely the reason for their success. CS Industries is a unique full-service job shop that provides custom solutions and extensive laser marking and engraving services, precision electron-beam welding, laser-beam welding, and citric passivation for many industries.

CSI has never stopped evolving and striving to become a leading company in the laser engraving and welding industry. Don, who played an integral role in starting the laser department at a local precision shop in 1986, and his wife, Bettina, decided to bring a full range of lasers for marking, cutting, and welding into CSI. Together, they were able to provide laser services that continue to support many industries such as military, firearms, medical, ad specialties and gadgets, signage, flex circuits, ID products, tooling, oil and gas, textiles, sensors, gauges, automotive, custom cabinets, golf clubs, jewelry, musical instruments, and laptop engraving.

Written by Robin Barbero.  To read the full article, please click here.  For more information on laser marking, laser etching and promotional printing services visit our website at www.lasermarkingsvs.com, and follow us everywhere @lasermarkingsvs.

LME 2013 experts provide insight into continued laser market growth

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Orlando, FL – Expanded exhibit space, new exhibitors and networking opportunities, and more working laser systems increased the impact of the third annual Lasers for Manufacturing Event (LME) on the laser community.

The Laser Institute of America’s unique event, held Sept. 11-12 at the Schaumburg (IL) Convention Center, showed more signs that it is maturing as a must-attend event. Bringing together laser makers, systems integrators and providers of all manner of related equipment and services, LME 2013 gave attendees the know-how they need to get laser-based manufacturing projects up and running.

Once again, the Laser Technology Showcase Theater at the front of the active exhibit hall drew many standing-room-only crowds for industry experts, including:

* LIA Past President and ILS Editor David Belforte (see his blog post), who noted big opportunities for laser sales and applications, particularly in microprocessing, production of SUVs and composite-heavy narrow-body passenger jets and their engines, gas and wind turbines, smart phones and even agricultural equipment.

* Prabhjot Singh of GE Global Research, who challenged the laser community to meet the growing global need for additive manufacturing productivity, which will require hundreds of new laser-based devices.

* Magnus Bengtsson of Coherent, who addressed ultrafast lasers advances, including cataract surgery with femtosecond lasers and dicing sapphire wafers to make LEDs with picosecond lasers.

* Silke Pflueger of DirectPhotonics, who demonstrated the advantages ultra-high brightness direct diodes bring to the table.

Written by Industrial Laser Solutions Editors.  To read the full article, please click here.  For more information on laser marking, laser etching and promotional printing services visit our website at www.lasermarkingsvs.com, and follow us everywhere @lasermarkingsvs.